St. Anthony's celebrates after defeating Christ the King to win...

St. Anthony's celebrates after defeating Christ the King to win the CHSAA state final on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Now that's what you call a pyramid of success.

One by one, the freshly crowned state champions climbed onto each other's backs for a celebratory and somewhat dangerous team photo. At the pinnacle of the pyramid was Mackenzie Kober. Next to her was Kayla Arestivo, who knelt on top of Niccola Venezia, who knelt on top of Kelly DiGregorio, and so on.

All it would have taken was one person to give out, one moment of weakness, to send the entire pyramid crashing to the ground. But as the Friars proved emphatically Monday, there is no weak link on the team.

The Friars completed an unbeaten season, defeating Christ the King, 6-0, to capture the CHSAA state championship at Owl Hollow Fields on Staten Island.

Actually, the pyramid ultimately did collapse. Not even state champions can hold it forever.

"It hurt a lot," senior captain Rebecca Safranek said with a laugh. "But it was our way of celebrating what we just accomplished."

It didn't take long for the Friars to start their celebration countdown. Miranda Ozimek sent a cross in front of the goal to Sabrina Cristodero, who knocked the ball in with her stomach less than a minute into the game for a 1-0 Friars lead. The two connected again five minutes later, as Ozimek's one-timer off a feed from Cristodero made it 2-0.

"It's awesome being a part of this team," said Cristodero, who also had two assists. "We all work so well together. We are a Friar family."

As for that pyramid? Said Cristodero, "Those girls are heavy!"

Francesca Venezia and Arestivo each added a goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half for a 4-0 lead. Alexis Aschettino and Niccola Venezia capped the scoring.

The Friars (18-0-1) outscored opponents 82-6 this season behind a strong and organized defense anchored by Safranek, Kaitlin Loughren, Katrina Friedman, Alex Mazzucca and Emma Kechejian. DiGregorio, the keeper and a senior captain, had to make only one save in the shutout. "The chemistry was just there from the beginning. We had unfinished business, so it feels good to take back the title this year," DiGregorio said of the loss to St. John the Baptist in the league semifinals last year, which ended St. Anthony's bid for three straight state titles.

It was the final win for St. Anthony's coach Dave Prutting, 77, who retires with the third-most coaching victories in the history of New York State girls soccer. He finished his 27-year career with a record of 437-46-19 and 21 state titles.

"He's one of the greatest coaches I've ever had," Safranek said. "He's been like a second dad."

Prutting will be succeeded by assistant coach Sue Alber -- formerly Sue Weber -- a two-time All- American and three-time defender of the year at Hofstra.

The pyramid photo was one of many pictures taken after the game. Players also lined up to pose with Prutting as he held the championship plaque.

"This is a great way to go out," he said. "It's a great team. Maybe my greatest team ever at St. Anthony's. We had it all."

With no weaknesses.

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