By Christian Guerithault ’14
Brophy Soccer went four for four in the playoffs and defeated Hamilton Feb. 15 to win its second consecutive state championship.
The soccer team was led by its eight seniors, four of whom were the team captains.
First year head soccer coach Mr. Noah Lewkowitz ’98 said the team captains were Alex Broglia ’14, Tyler Dial ’14, Adam Mosharrafa ’14 and Conor Coleman ’14.
“There were eight seniors total and each one of them played a leadership role in different ways throughout the year,” Mr. Lewkowitz said.
Throughout the playoffs the Broncos scored eight goals while only conceding three.
“We decided midway through the year that we were going to focus on defense, so we tried to tighten up our defense going into the playoffs,” Mr. Lewkowitz said. “I think that was helpful for us. We didn’t generate as many goals as we have in the past and so by not allowing other teams to score was a reason we were able to win.”
Goalkeeper Phil Mourikes ’14, who was named the “Fox Sports Arizona’s Soccer Player of the Game” for the state championship game, also praised the defense.
“We are always talking and always making sure men are covered and the ball is taken care of in a safe matter,” Mourikes said. “We knew if we kept a clean sheet in the back of the net, our players up top will put in at least one goal.”
Brophy started its playoff run with a 3-1 victory over Basha; they then defeated Ironwood 3-0 in the quarter-finals; the Broncos defeated Alhambra in the semi-finals in penalty kicks, 4-3, after ending regulation 2-2.
In the state championship game, Brophy and Hamilton were tied 0-0 at the end of regulation but Brophy won 4-2 in penalty kicks.
Mr. Lewkowitz said keeping the players with fresh legs and not letting progressive fatigue kick in is hard toward the end of the season.
“Our practices tended to get a bit lighter,” Mr. Lewkowitz said. “We didn’t focus as much on fitness and whatnot towards the end; we just needed to allow our guys time to get their legs to recover.”
This was Mourikes’ second time starting at goalie in a state championship game.
“This year was better than last year mainly because we are a complete team,” Mourikes said. “Last year there were some issues with behavior and the seniors, but this year we really stepped it up and changed the program. We are a family and there is a bond between all the players.”
Mourikes said the playoffs and regular season are different challenges.
“The playoffs were an entire new challenge compared to the regular season,” Mourikes said. “We were playing the top 16 teams in the state and as the No. 2 seed we knew every team wanted to kill us and knock the defending state champions out of the tournament.”
To prepare for each game the Broncos were consistent in their pre-game meal.
“Before each playoff game we would all meet with Coach (Lewkowitz) and go to Sweet Tomatoes for a pre-game meal,” Mourikes said.
This was Mr. Lewkowitz’s first year as soccer head coach and he said there were things that he didn’t expect.
“The one thing that I didn’t expect was that I began to care about the guys in a way that I never have before,” Mr. Lewkowitz said. “I’m always concerned about their wellbeing.”
Brophy soccer has made the state championship game the past four years and they have won the title in three of those years.