Marc Kelly's dry cleaning bill could be steep this week. The Brophy boys soccer coach busted out the suit for Saturday night's 5A Division I state championship match.
A couple hours later it was mostly removed from his body, drenched in celebratory liquid.
Neither soggy threads, nor a goalie basically coughing up a lung with 103-degree fever, nor two how-did-it-miss chances that missed by Hamilton could stop this celebration. Kyle Seeger's goal, Brophy's defense and a couple shots that turned into good fortune gave the Broncos a 1-0 victory against No. 2 Hamilton to win the 5A-I state title Saturday night at Campo Verde High School.
"Good thing I decided to bring a change of clothes," Kelly said.
The Broncos won the title in 2008 (no Gatorade bath that night, however). Hamilton was forced to take home a second consecutive state runner-up trophy.
As was the case with the 5A-I girls championship match (Hamilton vs. Xavier) the two best teams made it to the end, and the finale was quite a spectacle. Through physical, clean play, both schools put on a show of speed, skill, and foot skills.
Those skills worked perfectly once, and it was all the Broncos needed. Two minutes into the second half, Kevin Grigsby fed Esteban Obregon, who made a long run down the right side of the field that caught the Huskies defense out of position. Near the end line, he crossed it through the goalie box, where Kyle Seeger was alone in front for the easy tap into the corner of the net.
"It's hard not to be nervous," Seeger said of the realization his easy opportunity for the goal could decide a championship. "...It was a huge team effort through every minute in practice and every game. This is where it comes out to be a team and we played like one."
Hamilton didn't generate many chances in the first half as Brophy controlled possession, but generated more offense in the second half.
"It was our best defensive stand of the year," Kelly said. "(Hamilton) is strong and fast, but our midfielders should get a lot of credit. They've been our unsung heroes all year."
Unfortunately for Hamilton, its two best shots in the second half won't be soon forgotten.
With 27 minutes left, a wide-open Michael Markette blasted a shot from the right side that hit the bottom inch of the crossbar, but instead of bouncing down (and possibly across the line) it skidded wide along the crossbar and bounced out of bounds.
In the final minute, the Huskies earned an indirect free kick from 20 yards away. Huskies goalie Kiyan Pirgheybi took the kick and lofted it perfectly over Brophy goalie Nate Sundermeier's head (he ran out a couple yards to try and field it in the air) but as the ball was headed for the net, it bounced off a Hamilton teammate's back who was trying to locate the ball, and went wide before being cleared out of the box.
"That one stung," Huskies coach Nick Markette said. "...I thought the game plan was working and we created some chances. They're good, they're talented. I think we showed we were worthy of being here."
The Broncos held on despite Sundermeier's illness. He missed Thursday's semifinal match with a stomach flu and was coughing up a storm all night between the posts. Brophy also lost captain Mark Mandala to injury in Thursday's semifinal, while Hamilton had cramping issues of its own as the Huskies didn't play on Fieldturf most of the season.
Brophy went at the Huskies early and effectively, as Pirgheybi had to make two diving saves within 30 seconds of each other in the first 10 minutes of play. Shortly after Seeger's goal, Riggs Lennon rifled one from 30 yards out on target, but Pirgheybi made another save.
Saturday's championship was the second of two tense matches this season between the schools, and the Broncos and Huskies could be here again next season. Hamilton loses five on its roster to graduation (albeit five important players).
The Broncos had talent but lacked maturity and team-first attitudes at times the past couple years. They lose a few more kids than Hamilton, but are excited about its freshman and sophomore classes coming up.
"You have to have guys who are willing to work and they did," Kelly said. "You don't get results until you believe. Buying in is critical. And you need a little luck."