Patriots score a second straight state championship

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The Patriots gather on the field with their seventh state championship trophy after winning their second championship in two consecutive years. (Photo/Bill Daley)

The Patriots soccer team has reclaimed its title of state champions again this season after defeating the Seabreeze Sandcrabs 3-0 in the FHSAA Class 3A State Championship. The win comes the day after the team’s counterpart Lady Patriots were crowned state champs, making it the first time both teams won together since 2005. “Coming into the game, I was pretty nervous especially with the pressure of winning last year and going back-to-back in a rematch against Seabreeze again,” junior goalkeeper Reed Tillinghast said. “There was some pressure with the girls winning states but we wanted to focus on our game and not what the girls were doing.”

While the game was scoreless all of the first half, the Patriots caught fire in the second netting three goals. The first goal came in the forty-seventh minute from 25-yards out from senior forward Sebastian Vidarte to put the Patriots on the board. The other two goals came eight minutes later to seal the victory with scores from senior midfielder Benjamin Grossi and junior forward Miles Walters 12 seconds later.

While the win seemed dominant, the Patriots entered the game as underdogs, ranking 34 in the state compared to the No. 15 ranked Seacrabs. However, the team worked to turn the low expectations to motivation. “A lot of people doubted us this year with us not winning as many games in the regular season, but luckily we were able to persevere and come out on top,” Tillinghast said. “I was obviously ecstatic that we won especially to be able to go back-to-back and I was also relieved because I felt like we fulfilled the prophecy we set up for ourselves last year and winning the championship was just the cherry on top.”

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