Today, Masco’s players still remember the celebration. Emmons called it a victory for every Masconomet player that had ever played the game.
“It was one of those ‘Hoosiers’ or ‘Friday Night Lights’-type things where the whole town caravaned out there. You saw people you hadn’t seen in years, neighbors, friends,” Andy Nechtem said. “It was the most special athletic experience I ever had.”
It was the same feeling for St. John’s Prep, a team that certainly had loftier expectations than Masco did heading into the postseason but relished the moments just the same. The Eagles were mobbed on the field after beating Algonquin for the title.
“It was so much fun,” said Crowell. “To win the tournament is extremely difficult and something you remember forever.”
The Eagles got by Brookline, 3-0, then had an overtime game of their own in the second round. Slingerland scored the winner in a 2-1 decision in overtime over Woburn on solid work from Bishop and Hunter Clark. Woburn actually led, 1-0, at one point.
St. John’s then nipped Framingham, 1-0, before toppling Lexington, 2-1, in the North final. As the state final got closer, pressure mounted on the Eagles to finish the season unbeaten. But the seniors never allowed that pressure to put cracks in the foundation.
“The thing that amazed me was as the season went on and that national ranking kept climbing, they guys never buckled. It was a rare group that way,” Crowell said.
The Eagles downed rival Catholic Memorial, 2-0, in the state semifinal and then handled Algonquin in the final. The four goals they netted in their last game were their most of the state tournament.
“We had an idea that we’d be pretty good and we were driven,” said Slingerland. “Everything, every game, seemed to work out. We had a couple ties, but even in those games there was never any panic as a group, which is a key thing in soccer.”