In the latest installment of what has become one of the best high school soccer rivalries in the United States, 's Thomas Roulis took the direct kick off a questionable foul call from 45-yards out in the final minute of regulation and did what no other player on Long Island has been able to do all season.
He scored on St. Anthony's goalkeeper Anthony Lopatowski.
The last minute desperation bomb slipped over Lopatowski's fingers and lifted the Flyers to a 1–0 win over the Friars to capture the Nassau Suffolk Catholic High School Athletic Association Championship in thrilling fashion in front of a capacity crowd at Adelphi University on Saturday night.
After playing to a scoreless tie twice during the regular season, the two nationally ranked teams (St. Anthony's is No. 11 and Chaminade No. 12 in ESPN's "Fab 50" poll) met the lofty expectations of a contest, which has become an annual November event. The hotly contested match saw several players receive yellow cards and many more crumble to the turf with injuries caused by dehydration, exhaustion and extreme physical play.
Through the cramps, the near-concussions and the biting cold, it was Roulis who ultimately made the difference.
"I saw one minute left, I said to myself, 'You might as well get it in the box. Hopefully, something will happen,'" Roulis said. "Lucky enough our players just crashed the box; it went right through the goalie's hands, there was a scramble around the net and it went right in."
For Chaminade head coach Michael Gallagher, after last year's heartbreaking 1-0 loss to the Friars in the final seconds of this same championship, there was a measure of redemption in Chaminade's last gasp victory.
"It's a strange game," Gallagher said. "To lose to last year in the final thirty seconds and then win on a re-start. Someone was smiling on us today so we're pretty happy about it."
With superior foot speed on the wings, good spacing in transition and center fullback Matt Wendelken deftly forcing the action between the boxes, St. Anthony had multiple quality chances early in the first half; none better than when senior midfielder Kyle Arestivo placed a perfect cross on the right wing for senior midfielder Colin Volpe, who cranked one wide right in the twelfth minute.
Chaminade was willing to give ground early in the hopes of gaining it later, a strategy that nearly backfired and forced the FLyers to tweak their approach at halftime.
"They're a very athletic team," Gallagher said. "We tried in the first half to give them a little bit more room and create something behind their backs. They were kind of playing through us so we had to adjust."
The Chaminade vs. St. Anthony's rivalry has become especially heated since 2003. The two schools are the only NSCHSAA Champions since then; St. Anthony's winning in 2004, '05, '08, '09 and Chaminade in 2003, '06, '07…and now 2010.
While Lopatowski was too upset to speak after the game, senior midfielder Andrew Lomanto spoke for all of the 2010 Friars, who were bent-but not broken.
"What we accomplished this year, words can't describe it," said Lomanto. "These guys are like brothers to me. We did everything we can. It just didn't go our way this time. That last bomb just killed us."
At four championships apiece in recent years the rivalry can only intensify.
"It was an epic battle," said St. Anthony's head coach Gene Buonaiuto. "You saw two great teams. There aren't too many nationally ranked teams that play each other three times a year."1 2 F St. Anthony's 0 0 0 Chaminade 0 1 1