Posing for a celebratory picture, every member of Chaminade’s boys soccer team held six fingers in the air.
The gesture represented more than the Flyers’ output in their final game of 2016. Somehow, for the second straight year, the Flyers earned another CHSAA state title with a goal total matching their championship plaque accumulation.
This year, it was a 6-0 victory over Canisius Sunday at St. John’s Belson Stadium for their sixth state championship. Last year, it was 5-0, also over Canisius, for their fifth.
“It’s crazy,” Matt Vowinkel said. “Last year, it was five stars [championships], 5-0. This year it’s six stars, 6-0. I don’t know, but I feel like it’s not written any other way.”
Vowinkel had three goals and two assists. A.J. Codispoti scored once and assisted on three goals, and Tim Davis and Jack Graziano each scored.
“We fought hard,” Codispoti said. “This was our best game of the year, I think, winning 6-0. I don’t think they deserved to lose 6-0, but we played our best.”
The Flyers (19-3-2) dominated possession from the start. Yanni Rigos (three saves) punted a ball deep into Canisius’ side in the eighth minute. Vowinkel chased it down and shot from inside the 18-yard box, but Connor Garrett (six saves) deflected it away. Davis followed the play, corralled the rebound and shot into an open net.
Less than a minute later, Codispoti slipped a pass to Vowinkel for another goal.
Codispoti scored his goal in the 18th minute, and Graziano capped the first-half scoring in the 33rd with a difficult shot into the top left corner from the right side, near the edge of the 18-yard box.
“Four-nothing at half, you wouldn’t have predicted that,” Codispoti said. “It’s just crazy. We weren’t expecting that.”
Going into the wind for the second half, coach Mike Gallagher said his team wanted to score early to put the game out of reach. Vowinkel, the 2015 New York State Gatorade Player of the Year, provided the knockout punch in the form of goals in the 42nd and 44th minutes.
“He’s a special player,” Gallagher said. “You think in the last 10 or so, even 15, years, any of the schools in the Catholic league, who’s the best forward? Hands down it’s Matt. He’s done nothing but do good things for himself and for the school and for the team.”
According to results reported to Newsday, Vowinkel scored 56 goals in three years on varsity. He had 18 goals and 10 assists in his last year. He will play at Hofstra, along with Codispoti and center back Jack Nuttall.
But Vowinkel’s last two goals all but secured the championship and the customary water cooler dump on Gallagher. Fortunately for the coach, Sunday was an unseasonably warm day.
“I told my son and I told the other coaches that thank God there’s not ice and Gatorade and all kinds of things in there, but I’m pretty happy,” Gallagher said. “God couldn’t have given us a better day, right?”