MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Playing on New York high school soccer’s biggest stage Sunday afternoon, Jordan Miller put on a performance that was years in the making.
Miller scored three goals to lead Jericho boys soccer to a 3-1 win over Greece-Athena of Rochester in the Class A state championship at Middletown High School. The win marks Jericho's fifth state title and first since 2013.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” said Miller. “It’s bittersweet that it’s coming to an end, but I’ve had an incredible three years on this team.
“I just found pockets. Ari Kantorowitz found me a bunch of times. It’s a team game and I just happened to score today.”
Miller (17 goals, 23 assists) and Kantorowitz (35 goals, seven assists) finished the season atop the county point production chart, and they worked together to open the scoring in the final minute of the first half.
“Ari beat two guys, took a shot, and the goalie let the rebound spill out and I just found it and put it in,” Miller said.
“Some of our strongest defense is our offense, and I think when we play the way we should, like I told the boys, the only team that can beat us is us,” coach Dani Braga said. “We set the tone and got the ball moving and scored, then our defense protected the game.”
Less than five minutes into the second half, Kantorowitz provided the assist for Miller’s second goal. In the 61st minute, Miller removed all doubt after dribbling past his defender and into the penalty area, before putting his shot into the back of the net.
“He’s been my captain for two years,” Braga said of Miller. “It’s bittersweet he’s leaving next year but he’s one of the best. He leads by example and he leads in every way you can imagine.”
“Jordan’s always wanted this more than anyone and to be able to help him is unbelievable,” said goalkeeper Jake Levy, whose key saves in the first half prevented Greece-Athena (18-3-2) from striking first. “There are a lot of alumni here and people that have won the state championship before. To see them here and watch us do it ourselves feels great.”
Jericho finishes the season on a 19-match winning streak and outscored its seven playoff opponents 19-to-4.
Said Braga: “These kids have put in everything, not just [today], not just from preseason. This is the culmination of years of hard work.”
Added Miller: “I’ve never been a part of something this great. It’s amazing.”