Jericho wins NYS Class A boys soccer title
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Standing at midfield during team introductions, Jericho's roster dwarfed Maine-Endwell's. Throughout the first 68 minutes, the Jayhawks controlled possession and dominated shots on goal, seemingly attacking at will.
And yet, with the clock winding down, Jericho led by only one goal.
"The ball barely crossed our half and we just had chance after chance," Glenn Hyams said. "Then we finally put the second one in and we knew that was it."
Derek Medolla scored off a pass from Michael Blumberg with 11:40 to play to finally give Jericho a cushion, and the Jayhawks locked down a 2-0 victory in the Class A boys soccer state championship Sunday at Middletown High School. This is the program's first outright title in school history. The Jayhawks were co-champions in 2004.
But there are no prefixes this time, and the Jayhawks (16-2-2) proved they can fly in rarefied air.
"We should have put in a lot more goals," Hyams said. "But it doesn't matter as long as we're state champions. We weren't worried about them. We just kept playing our game and knew that if we kept doing what we've been doing, we were going to win."
What they've been doing is using a talented defense and midfield to keep the ball on the opponent's side of the field, where relentless forwards can keep defenses on their heels with shot after shot on goal. The approach allowed Jericho to close its season on an 11-game winning streak.
"We're fit and we attack," coach Dani Braga said. "That's been our motto. We're not going to sit on a goal, we're going to get more. We're going to come at you, come at you, come at you."
Hyams made it 1-0 with 3:44 left in the first half, scoring off an assist from Medolla.
"I took a touch and the goalie came out," Hyams said. "I cut the goalie to the left and just kept my composure and put it into the right pocket."
What followed was a Jericho barrage on Maine-Endwell (12-4), but keeper Chris Heimes (11 saves) stopped several clean opportunities. Though the Spartans were able to keep their deficit at one, the constant pressure took its toll.
"Between our depth and the fact that every single kid out here gave their all, we wore them down," Braga said. "They just couldn't keep up."
Then Medolla knocked in the add-on goal from 15 yards, lining the ball into the upper right side of the net.
Said Braga: "They're a counterattacking team. And I think after that second goal, it took a lot of the wind out of their sails."