Photo by Hunter Franklin ’19 | Connor White ’19 sprints past his defender.
Photo courtesy of Jaime Hidalgo | The varsity soccer team posing with the state championship trophy following their victory.
By Carl Justice ’21
Brophy’s winter sports season wrapped up in February with soccer and basketball playoffs and the wrestling state championship.
Soccer finished the year as state champions with a win over Hamilton in the finals. Basketball lost in quarterfinals to Pinnacle and wrestling had two wrestlers who finished with all-state honors.
The main strength of the soccer team this year was its defense.
“This year we really prided ourselves on team defending. In 6A Conference play and the state tournament, we gave up only nine goals in sixteen matches,” said Mr. Paul Allen ’03, head soccer coach.
Logan Abele ’20, a member of the team, believes the team was very close-knit.
“We won state because this year we became one complete team instead of separate smaller groups of friends, like the prior years,” Abele said.
The soccer team came into this year with high expectations due to their successful run last year where they spent some time as the top team in the country. Their run came to an end last year when they lost in the state championship.
“The returners this year really knew what it felt like to be so close to winning and not accomplishing our goal,” Abele said. “The team last year learned that just because you may be the best does not mean you are going to win if you do not work hard every game.”
Mr. Allen agrees that the loss last year allowed the team to grow.
“Losing is part of the game, and with a loss you learn, grow, and ultimately get better,” Mr. Allen said.
The team was able to apply the knowledge gained during their final this year.
“This year, when we entered the final, we played harder than we ever had before, even though we had previously beaten Hamilton in the regular season,” Abele said. “We also played for each other and did not want to face the same fate like the team last year.”
Leadership this year on the soccer team was praised.
“We had amazing leaders this year,” Mr. Allen said. I can’t say enough good things about our captains because they did the small intangible things that allow for success.”
Those captains were Deric Hall ’19, Corbin Bernal ’19, Nick Rau ’19, and Case Montanile ’20.
Abele also appreciated the leadership on the team.
“Our captains were all very important leaders into pushing our state title run,” Abele said. “On and off the pitch, our captains were continuously showing leadership in helping the team bond and getting us prepared for our next game.”
“My goal for next year is to continue to grow as individuals and as a program,” Mr. Allen said. “We started a culture that we wish to maintain and continue to build on, and hopefully through this we can continue our winning tradition as well.”
He continued that Brophy is now an Arizona powerhouse.
“Brophy has been an Arizona soccer powerhouse because we have 7 state titles,” Mr. Allen said. “Lately, we have been pushing ourselves into the national mix and hope to continue with that.”
Abele has two goals for this year.
“My first goal become even more closely bonded with the team this year, allowing us to win another state title,” Abele said. “For myself, I set the goal to become a better leader and follow in the example of the captains from this year.”
“I thought we really got better over the course of the year. We knew that we had, ultimately, one starter coming back from last year so we’d have to build and develop our guys this year,” said Mr. Matt Hooten, the head basketball coach. “I believe that they bought in to playing with each other, and at the end of the day, we were able to build from a slow start to receiving a first-round bye and winning a playoff game at home.
Mr. Hooten also said that he was proud of how hard the team played in their loss to Pinnacle.
Mr. Hooten also believes that basketball outperformed some expectations.
“We probably finished higher in power rankings than people outside of our program would have predicted,” Mr. Hooten said. “I heard from a lot of coaches who believed that we were able to build and get the most out of the group that we have, but I have a hard time predicting a win total because there are so many different unpredictable outside factors that can affect a record.”
Mr. Hooten also said that he was pleased that the team improved throughout the year.
Basketball also had strong leadership.
“We had strong leadership, particularly from our 11 total seniors in the program. They were great role models and vocal leaders,” Mr. Hooten said.
Basketball is also prepared to have success this year.
“Ultimately, we have three starters from the playoff game returning. We also have five other players returning who started multiple games,” Mr. Hooten said.
Mr. Hooten also said that nothing has been decided yet.
“So much of what happens next year depends on these next nine months,” Mr. Hooten said.
Wrestling dealt with a myriad of injuries this year, but had two all-state wrestlers. Thomas Derr ’20 placed fifth at 182 pounds and Cesar Avelar ’22 finished third in the 106 pound category. Despite having fewer qualifiers to state from last year, the same number of wrestlers placed.
Derr believes that the injuries caused the team to have a showing that wasn’t eye-popping.
“Losing Will Broucek ’19 because of his back, Henry Barber ’20 with a wrist injury and then a concussion and many others for various reasons stunted our growth this season, Derr said. “I think we pushed back and did so well considering our losses because we had a tight group of dedicated wrestlers who kept the team together when kids were dropping like flies.”
Leadership was a strong factor on all three teams.
Derr believes that leadership is still incredibly important in wrestling. This is because wrestlers are able to learn more and respond better from good leaders.
Mr. Catan, the head wrestling coach, believes wrestling is a sport where leaders lead by example.
Derr believes that he grew this year as a leader.
“I came to realize that just because you are a captain does not mean that guys are going to listen to you, and it does not mean that I need to be the one everyone listens to,” Derr said. “Some wrestlers just respond better to other guys when it comes to leadership.”
He added on that the other juniors on the team were great leaders as well.
“I am so thankful for the other juniors. Barber, Ben Goettl ’20 and Noah Jacobs ’20 because they lead the team as much as I do, and I really could not do it by myself,” Derr said.
Derr’s goal is to win a state championship next year.
“As a team, I hope we place at a couple of tournaments,” Derr said. “I know that all of the rising seniors can make state, and that a few can place, including Avelar”