MONTVERDE, Fla — It was a tale of two halves, and when the final whistle sounded Saturday night, Montverde Academy (Fla.) added another trophy to an already well-stocked display case.
The Eagles rallied for a 3-1 victory over Brophy Prep (Ariz.) to capture the 2nd Annual Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament on a cool evening before a packed house at the elite private school near Orlando, Fla.
Montverde’s win followed a 1-0 victory by Coppell (Texas) over Boca Raton (Fla.) in the third-place match.
Montverde (23-0-1) extended its undefeated run to a nation-leading 76 matches, won its second straight MAST title, inherited the nation’s No. 1 ranking and moved two wins away from a second ESR Top 50 national title in three years.
The team, which has never lost under third-year coach Mike Potempa, celebrated its latest conquest in style, raising the MAST trophy at midfield while being showered by confetti as fireworks illuminated the sky above. All the while, members of the multi-national high school team proudly displayed flags from Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, among others.
“That’s amazing, the environment is incredible, the fans, in front of our friends and our teachers …. this is amazing. The best feeling,” said Diego Campos, whose second-half flick on a restart gave Montverde a 2-1 lead and changed the momentum for good.
Virginia commit Riggs Lennon delivered a left-footed strike early in the match to give Brophy (16-2) a 1-0 lead. The goal quieted a rowdy pro-Montverde crowd as Lennon celebrated the goal in front of the Montverde bench.
In the early going, both sides created several scoring chances and every forward Montverde rush was greeted by a loud cheer from the crowd. However, Brophy keeper Michael O’Connor and sweeper Clarence Clark were up to the challenge, making saves and clearing balls of the line.
Then, less than 10 minutes before halftime, Quintonio Lema delivered what was later named “Goal of the Tournament,” striking a ball from distance in the far post upper corner to even the score at 1.
In the second half, Montverde altered its attack, switching fields more often to create openings in Brophy’s defense. On a set piece just outside the 18, to the right of goal, Montverde’s Thales Moreno played a ball into the 6-yard box as Campos made a designed run through Brophy’s defense. The junior flicked the ball toward the far post that eluded O’Connor, putting Montverde up 2-1 with 24 minutes left.
“Thales can serve a great ball … Campos did well to flick it, but if we can get it in that danger area — over the wall and in between the 6 and the penalty area — some good things will usually happen,” Potempa said.
Gerald Arguesdas delivered the knockout punch eight minutes later when, after being given plenty of space, he drilled a right-footed shot from 20 yards out.
“Three great goals,” Brophy Prep coach Marc Kelly said. “There’s no shame in giving up goals like that. The first goal — upper V. The second goal, a beautiful header … You give up fouls, you give up opportunities to a team like this and they’re going to make you pay. That’s all there is to it. It’s a matter of time, especially against assassins like those guys.”
Justin Todd finished a cross from Chris Madden with 7:53 left in the match to carry Coppell to a 1-0 win over Boca Raton in a highly competitive consolation match.
Both teams, coming off 2-0 losses the night before, started out sluggish, but as the game wore on played with more energy.
Boca Raton, which lost to Brophy Prep on Friday, was again victimized by shots hitting the post and crossbar, including one early in the match that appeared to be a sure goal. For Boca, the team failed to score in its last two matches — quite an about face from the first part of its season as it rolled off 19 straight wins.
“We had three great, quality games [at the MAST] and I think both teams were beat up and tired [when the game started],” said Boca Raton coach Marcelo Castillo, whose team entered the tournament ranked No. 1. “I had half of the players were juniors and younger. We even had kids up from JV in the game. We gotta build for the future. The state playoffs is the goal, especially now that a national championship is off the table.”
Coppell, which started its season Thursday with a win and followed with a loss to Montverde, dominated possession in the second half, but it was beginning to look as if a goal wasn’t in the Cowboys’ future, either, until Todd delivered.
“We created so many opportunities and we weren’t finishing,” Coppell coach Chad Rakestraw said. “You start thinking, ‘Is this not going to work out.’ We were thankful to find that finish.”
“I had so many chances, I was determined to hit one of them,” said Todd, who was making his second appearance in the Orlando area in little more than two weeks. He played for the FC Dallas Premier squad that won a Disney title just before New Year’s Day.
2013 Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament
NOTE: Boys event, played on the campus of Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla.
Saturday’s Late Results
Game 11: THIRD-PLACE MATCH: No. 6, Coppell (Texas) 1, No. 1 Boca Raton (Fla.) 0
Goals: C: Justin Todd.
Game 12: CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.) 3, Brophy Prep (Ariz.) 1
Goals: MA: Quintonio Lema, Diego Campos, Gerald Arguedas. B: Riggs Lennon.