Josh Barriere celebrates his third goal of the game against Fort Ann in the NYSPHSAA Class D championship game. Is this the best team that the storied Chazy soccer program has ever seen?
When something has “the look,” you just have to stand back and appreciate what you are watching.
Such was the case with the 2012 Chazy Eagles boys varsity soccer team. From the start of the season, everyone could see that there was something different that would end up setting this team apart from the others.
In Chazy, that is a difficult thing to do, as the rest of Section VII measures success with Sectional banners and regional appearance, the Eagles measure them in plaques that resemble the state of New York (they really have to do something to make Long Island look better, though).
Hey, David Poitras even said it, they had to get their trophy back.
That is exactly what they did, rolling through every Section VII opponent save one (a 3-3 tie with Beekmantown that they won on penalty kicks, in our book making them 22-0-0, not 21-0-1). They then ran through the Sectional tournament, winning three games by a combined score of 25-2.
That got everyone thinking, is this the worse we have ever seen Section VII soccer? Is it that these other teams are so bad they just make Chazy look that good?
The answer was no. The Eagles then went on to beat Section X representative Heuvelton 6-0 to advance to the Class D final four in Middletown. Their first match-up was a 1-0 win against the only team the experts thought stood a chance to beat them, second-ranked Poland.
This game was not as close as the score sounds. Chazy dominated the shot chart, time of possession, possession in the opponents’ end, corner kicks, 50/50 balls — everywhere in the scorebook and on the field. The only place they didn’t have an edge was saves, as Poland keeper Mitch Jones single-handedly kept his team in the game making saves that no other goalie has made against the Eagles. Despite a drastic miscue on his part, Jones was in no way the blame for that loss.
Then came the finals, a 4-0 coronation ceremony against Fort Ann out of Section II.
After these 80 minutes, gone were the memories of a 1-0 game that was dominated by the Eagles but won by Hamilton one year ago. This team had a goal to get back and avenge that loss and, while not having to go through Hamilton (which did not make it out of its own section), did just that.
It is the sixth state title for the Eagles, putting them in rarified air. Only three other teams have as many or more titles, with Southold and Shenedehowa having six and Pittsford Mendon seven.
It also puts head coach Rob McAuliffe in rarified air. While not alone at the top of the mountain, he stands with Joe Borrosh and Mike Campisi as the only two coaches to manage six teams to a state title. However, McAuliffe brought some rocks up the mountain with him in hopes of making it a little higher by collecting a seventh state title. As he said, their goal will always be to win a state title — that’s every year.
But this championship also put this team, captained by Brandon Laurin and Nathan Reynolds, in rarified air. As the game wound down, the mumble of “greatest Chazy team ever” started. McAuliffe said that they may very well be, using the 2005 team as an example. That team scored 164 goals and had 21 shutouts. This team allowed nine goals all season and was only tested twice — once by a Class B school that was a preseason favorite in Section VII and again by the second-ranked team in the state (based on the scoreboard). In Chazy, the debate has begun.
What cannot be debated is that this, more than any other, was Chazy’s year. They had the team, they had the coaching and now they have to sew in a sixth star to the uniforms.