For the second-straight year, the student-athletes at Mary of Nazareth Catholic School in Darnestown have been crowned soccer champions in three of the four top divisions of the Washington D.C. Archdiocese CYO. Both the Mustangs’ U14 Boys and U14 Girls teams won the City Championship and the U12 Boys team also won the title City Champs this season.
It is the first time in Washington Archdiocese history that the same school has won both the Boys and Girls title in back-to-back seasons. Last year, the school won the U14 Boys and Girls titles and the U12 Girls title.
"Six out of eight CYO City Championships in the past two years is a testament to our entire soccer program. I am grateful to our Athletic Director and Sports Committee for their ongoing stewardship as it relates to the administration of a high-level soccer program,” said Mary of Nazareth School Principal Michael Friel.
Many of the players on all three teams live in the Germantown area. Weather caused the games, which are usually played on the same weekend to be spread out over a two-week period. The U14 and U12 Boys championship games were played on November 4, while the U14 Girls championship had to be pushed back until Monday, Nov. 12.
The U12 Boys team made up of fifth and sixth graders won the City Championship with a 2-0 victory over Our Lady of Mercy School at the Holy Redeemer field in Kensington on Sunday. Nov. 4. The U12 Boys were unbeaten all season, posting an 8-0-1 record and not allowing a goal in the three playoff games.
In the title game, the U12 Boys won thanks to a clean sheet posted by goalkeeper T.J. Albero, of Boyds, and goals from Ryan Rafferty, of Darnestown, and Diago Diaz, of Clarksburg. The team was coached by Andrew Merkle and assistants Johnny Diaz and Brian Murphy.
The U14 Boys championship game which features 7th and 8th graders earned a 3-1 win over Washington, D.C.-based Our Lady of Victory School at Maureen Hendricks Stadium at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Sunday, Nov. 4. The Mustangs took the lead after Nicholas Laffey was able to draw a penalty in the box, which led to a penalty kick by Rockville resident Ben Jose. However, Our Lady of Victory would tie the game at 1-1 in the second half. It was Laffey, of Germantown, who shot the game-winning goal to give the Mustangs a 2-1 lead. Seventh grader Connor Shea would secure the Mustangs second-straight CYO City title with a third goal. Seventh grader and goalkeeper Davis Rorick, of Germantown, made some key stops in the game to preserve the victory for Mary of Nazareth. The U14 Boys were coached by Sergio Rodriguez, and assistant coaches Drew Essig and Roger Echeandia.
The final leg of the Mary of Nazareth triple-crown came at when the U14 Girls completed their season with a victory over Silver Spring’s St. John the Evangelist School in the championship game which was played in the driving rain at the SoccerPlex on Monday, Nov 12. The Lady Mustangs earned their second-straight City CYO title with a 5-1 victory.
Germantown resident and seventh-grader Reagan O’Rourke got the scoring started with a strike from the top of the 18-foot box. The goal was followed by an eighth grader, and Boyd resident, Angelina Serrano’s first of two goals in the game. Germantown resident and seventh grader Emilyn Sanders would also have a brace in the title game to give the Lady Mustangs the victory. Seventh graders Rebecca Scholl of Gaithersburg, and Jillian Puglisi of Clarksburg combined in goal to keep St. John’s to just one goal in the game. The U14 Girls team was coached by Washington CYO Hall of Fame coach, John Feeney, and assistant coaches Christian Schneider and Andrew Calabrese.
“Our coaches deserve significant recognition for the expertise, time, and energy they share without fanfare or personal accolades. And, of course, our student-athletes, for their continued sportsmanship and enduring spirit as they represent Mary of Nazareth School in the classroom and on the pitch," said Friel.
Top: The U14 Boys team also won the City Championship for the second time in two years on Sunday, Nov. 4. Back row (L to R): Christopher Gregorian, Luke Sanchez, Jared Mundela Ciaba, Ben Jose, Nick Laffey, Robert Duda, Liam Keillor, Liam Skelton, Mathias Tode. Front Row: Davis Rorick, Luke Essig, Owen Watkins, Jake Tseronis, Connor Shea, Andrew Encheandia, Nolan Rascher, Sebastian Rodriguez, Ben Miller, and Namaan Rutabanzibwa. Coaches Roger Echeandia, Drew Essig, and Head Coach Sergio Rodriguez.
Next: The U12 Boys team from Mary of Nazareth won the CYO City Championship won their game on Nov. 4. Front Row (L to R): Brian Saum, Michael Harvel, Ethan Rodriguez, Ethan Merkle, Kieran Keillor, Giovanni Fabi, Zac Laffey, T.J. Albero, Blake Danley, Gabrielle Cuellar, Ryan DeLude, Ryan Rafferty, Diego Diaz, and Carter Murphy. Coaches L to R: Johnny Diaz, Andrew Merkle, Brian Murphy.
Next: Mary of Nazareth U14 Girls won the Washington D.C. Archdiocese CYO City Championship for the second year in a row on Monday, Nov. 12. Front Row (L to R): Jennifer Juhring, Katie Barrow, Angelina Serrano, and Bailey Guessford. Second row; Lexi Burns, Elizabeth Emerson, Ava Guishard, Angelina Araj, Rebecca Scholl, Emma Feeney, Camila Aliaga, Casden Case, Ava Calabrese, Jillian Puglisi, Reagan O’Rourke, Emilyn Sanders, Jackie DeJesus, Madeline Schneider, Isabel Preciado, Kaitlin Rodriguez. Back Row; Coach Andrew Calabrese, Christian Schneider, Michael Feeney and Head Coach John Feeney.
Photos by Germantown Pulse. U12 Boys team photo courtesy Lisa Laffey.