By: Jakub Lewkowicz
A sea of red merged with a sea of black jackets on the bleachers at Adelphi University as about a thousand spectators wore the respective school colors of Chaminade and St. Anthony’s–two equally powerful adversaries yet again fighting for the CHSAA championship in varsity soccer.
A pass, a kick, a foul, a close shot–all brought the ball from one side to the other in rapid succession in a neck and neck battle during the first half of the game as Goliath fought Goliath.
Halftime ended with a draw and no victor in sight. As the spectators were still returning with hot-dogs and sodas, the tides changed on the battlefield. At the 19th second, Chaminade’s Matthew Vowinkel shot the ball, which hit the crossbar and swooshed into the net, sending the red crowd wild with ecstasy–hotdogs plummeting to their ultimate demise on the floor. Chaminade ranked No. 1 on Long Island scored the winning goal in a 1-0 against their No. 2 arch-rival.
For the fourth year, Chaminade and St. Anthony’s competed for the title and the award switched hands every year. St. Anthony’s won twice before and Chaminade won their second championship with their opponent on Wednesday during the four years that they competed.
“It was an awesome game and St. Anthony’s is always a strong opponent,” said Brother Joseph Bellizzi, president of Chaminade High School, a Catholic all-boy’s college-preparatory school located in Mineola, said. “This is some top-notch soccer right here.”
“Soccer can be a weird sport because the best team doesn’t always win,” Michael Gallagher, coach of the Chaminade varsity soccer team, said before Wednesday’s game. “The last three games resorted to penalty kicks to find a winner.”
Gallagher said the training methods and mentality of the two teams are distinct from each other due to the teachings of the different denominations that the school identify themselves with.
“St Anthony’s is very different. Chaminade is a Marianist school which supports the way that Marianists would like to educate men more on a macro scale, to be good at a little bit of everything. In contrast, St. Anthony’s is Franciscan which supports concentrating and working hard to be the best, guitar, soccer, lacrosse player,” Gallagher said.
“I don’t think we’ve been practicing tremendously differently since the last finals,” Gallagher said. “The players are concentrated but they were pretty light-hearted the the day before the game.”
He said Chaminade has hit a soccer-savvy season and the best talent lies within the junior players, who recently had to relearn their playing style to fit the varsity label.
Meanwhile, St. Anthony’s definitely presented themselves very formidably, putting Chaminade in dangerous situations multiple times and sending balls flying close to Chaminade’s goal.
“The St. Anthony’s team definitely played better this time around. There are a lot of great junior players,” Ronald Brutschin, a spectator said.
Chaminade will bask in their victory this year, but for the next game, they still know the victory can go either way.