When Samantha Adams, Victoria Mule and Nicole Gordon first stepped onto the St. Anthony’s varsity soccer field before their sophomore seasons, winning multiple state championships was the last thing on their mind. They were more worried about figuring out how they would see time on the pitch.
“I was intimidated being the youngest on the team, not really knowing how much playing time I was going to get,” said Mule, a Smithtown resident. “So I think that just made me work harder and want it more. The talent level was high.”
Fast forward to the fall of their senior season when the trio hoisted their third straight CHSAA state championship, the only three members of this year’s team to be on the team since being sophomores. St. Anthony’s defeated Xaverian, 2-1, at Holy Trinity High School to win ithe title on Nov. 10.
“I wasn’t aware of how much we could accomplish,” said Northport's Adams. “I didn’t even know what 'states’ was when I first joined. But just seeing the team’s talent and how much everyone got along, you could tell we were going to do great things and help St. Anthony’s soccer.”
Even though the players didn’t think three straight championships was possible, it didn’t mean it wasn’t a goal once they saw the on-field success.
“I definitely did not think about three years in a row until we won the second one,” said Gordon, who lives in Amityville. “You can’t really think about it until it’s happening. You can set goals, but when it’s happening, that’s when you have to finish.”
Coach Sue Alber credited the leadership and experience of the three-year players, along with the rest of the team for another championship season.
“They kind of transformed the program because I don’t know how long it’s been since we won three in a row,” Alber said. “But I think they were a big part of the reason.”
And the trio turned the compliment back around to their coach.
“Obviously after every season you always wonder what the next season will be like with different players,” Gordon said. “It’s really a mentality among the team and coach Sue was there all three years, so she’s a big reason why.”
The Friars (16-2-2) had balanced scoring all season, with 33 points by Gordon (19 goals, 14 assists) and 32 points by Brianna Jablonowski (19 goals, 13 assists), according to Newsday records. Adams had 16 goals and eight assists, despite missing time with an injury, including the state championship game.
On the defensive side, Mule, Natalie DeMasi, Sonni Adams, Eva Lavecchia, Milan Carey and Chiara Greco all contributied with Kaitlyn Mahoney in goal. Olivia Perez, named state championship game MVP, and Emily Riggins had strong seasons at midfield.
“It’s definitely going to be hard to find another team as close as us these three years, but what will stick with me is nothing is impossible,” Gordon said. “I had no idea walking on this team that we could win the state championship, so it goes beyond what you thought was even possible.”
FRIARS’ ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
CHSAA semifinals: Beat St. John the Baptist, 7-2
CHSAA championship: Beat Kellenberg, 1-0
CHSAA state semifinals: Beat St. Mary’s (Lancaster), 9-5
CHSAA state final: Beat Xaverian, 2-1