MIDDLETOWN — Chazy boys’ soccer coach Rob McAuliffe didn’t bring up the topic, preferring to emphasize what his players have been able to accomplish.
But when the Eagles, led by Josh Barriere’s three goals, captured the NYSPHSAA Class D championship with a 4-0 victory over Section II’s Fort Ann on Sunday at Middletown High School’s Faller Stadium Turf Field, it put McAuliffe and the Chazy program in select company.
It marked the sixth Class D title for the Eagles under McAuliffe’s direction and tied him for first all-time in the state in boys’ soccer with Pittsford-Mendon’s Joe Borrosh and Shenendehowa’s Mike Campisi.
“It’s nice,” said McAuliffe. “We’re all proud of our program at Chazy and players take a lot of pride in it.
“It started in the 1960’s and coaches like George Brendler and Tom Tregan helped to build it to where is is now. It’s great for all our players and alumni.”
The top-ranked Eagles closed out a sensational season in which they outscored their opponents 127-9 to finish the year with a 21-0-1 record.
“I know people will say our 2005 team was the best ever at Chazy,” said McAuliffe. “But this year’s team can be mentioned the same way.”
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” said senior Nathan Reynolds. “I didn’t want to finish the season and my career on a losing note.
“We got on it early and were able to finish our chances today. We had a tough game the day before (a 1-0 win over Poland on Saturday) and Fort Ann is an athletic team, all around. We did the job.”
The Eagles grabbed the lead at 25:05 of the first half. Nelson Pelton sent a corner kick in front where Barriere got a piece of it and Reynolds headed the ball into the net.
Then shortly after, at 28:35, Craig Botten sent a free kick toward the net from the side and Barriere eventually scored from close range to give Chazy a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Eagles made it 3-0 with 13:13 gone in the second half. David Poitras got the ball to Barriere, who sent a rocket just under the crossbar.
“Fort Ann put some pressure on us even though we were up, 2-0, at the half,” said McAuliffe. “Getting the first goal was crucial for us, but when we got the third one, we started to play more controlled and possessed the ball more.”
Barriere, a sophomore, finished off his three-goal performance at 29:22. Pelton’s corner kick went over the head of Fort Ann keeper Jonah Gould and Barriere was there to head the ball into the net.
“I wasn’t expecting to score three goals today,” said Barriere. “The first one was off a scramble. On the second one, the ball was rolling just right and I cracked it on net.
“It’s an awesome feeling to win. I’m especially happy for the seniors. We came out and played hard.”
“That’s what’s great about our team,” said McAuliffe. “Brandon (Laurin) has scored a lot of goals for us this year. But we have other players who can step up and Josh (Barriere) did today.”
The Eagles finished with a 17-3 advantage in shots over the Cardinals (17-4-1). Kyle Bisonette was again steady in the Chazy nets, stopping three shots and taking care of everything else that came his way.
“Fort Ann was able to outplay us at times but we held tough in the back,” said McAuliffe. “Once we got our game down and started to hold possession more, we were able to create more chances.”
Jonah Gould played the majority of the game in the net for the Cardinals and made 12 saves. George Lehoisky played a strong game offensively for Fort Ann, which recorded a 2-0 victory over Jasper-Troupsburg the day before.
In postseason play, the Eagles held a combined 37-2 scoring advantage over their opponents, including a 5-0 edge at the Final Four.
Chazy 4, Fort Ann 0
Fort Ann 0 0 — 0
Chazy 2 2 — 4
First half - 1, C, Reynolds (Barriere), 25:05. 2, C, Barriere (Botten), 28:35.
Second half - 3, C, Barriere (Poitras), 13:13. 4, C, Barriere (Pelton), 29:22.
Shots: Chazy 17, Fort Ann 3.
Saves: Bisonette, C, 3. Gould (12), Allen (1), FA, 13.