Commentary

Brentwood brings home N.Y. soccer title

Updated: November 17, 2008, 3:50 PM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

To pass the time on a six-hour bus ride home Sunday, the boys' soccer team at Brentwood (N.Y.) watched the movie "Dark Night."

Seems odd, considering it was such a bright day for the program.

Brentwood defeated Clarence 2-1 on Sunday in the New York Class AA state final to finish the year with a 24-0-0 record and a FAB 50 national No. 1 ranking.

"It was a tired celebration," Brentwood coach Ron Eden said about the return trip from Oneonta, the site of the state final. "It was a long season, and we had the No. 1 bull's-eye on our back for a long time. It was mentally draining."

Brentwood made its third state tournament appearance in four years, but this was the first time under Eden's tenure as head coach that the squad came home as champions.

"The bus ride [home] was more enjoyable this year," Eden added.

Joseph Lopez scored both Brentwood goals Sunday, ending the season with a team-high 25 to go with 12 assists. Hancell Guevara, who assisted on one goal Sunday and both goals in Saturday's semifinal win, ended the season with 21 goals and 14 assists.

Sunday's final -- played in 25-degree weather with spots of rain and snow -- featured a pair of 23-0-0 teams that during the season trailed for only 15 minutes combined. In fact, the four teams at this year's Class AA state semifinals were a combined 86-1-1.

Brentwood's title was the program's first since 1989. Eden was an assistant coach for that squad.

Looking to 2009, Brentwood, which is riding a 77-match league undefeated streak, could return as many as seven starters, including Lopez and Guevara. This year's squad featured three players who have spent time in the national pool and 11 players with state Olympic Development Program experience.

Around the country this past weekend …

• Weather was the winner in North Carolina, as the Class 4A boys final between FAB 50 No. 4 Myers Park and No. 48 New Hanover was pushed to Monday. Myers Park aims to finish off a perfect season.

• Although the California girls' championship played out as expected, there was plenty of surprises in the boys' tournament. In the CIF-Sac Joaquin Division I playoffs, Sacramento Jesuit was upset by rival Davis on penalty kicks in the semifinals, and Davis was then stunned by Merced in the final. The CIF-North Coast finals played to order, as Maria Carrillo put the finishing touches on an undefeated season with a 1-0 win over previously undefeated Windsor in the boys' 3A final. Casa Grande edged Montgomery in the girls' final after a scoreless draw. Casa was the favorite.

• Bowie (Md.) made its case for a state No. 1 ranking by defeating Perry Hall in the Maryland boys' Class 4A final. Perry Hall was the only team that beat the state's private school power McDonogh.

• Downingtown West (Pa.) capped a remarkable season by winning the Pennsylvania boys' Class AAA crown over Peters Township. The Whippets went 26-1-0 in the highly competitive District 1. On the girls' side, Conestoga defeated Peters Township to win its second straight state title.

Sheldon Shealer covers high school sports for ESPN RISE.