The Girls' Varsity Soccer team made history when they brought a Class S State Championship home to Oronoke Road. This is the first state championship in high school girls' soccer for the city of Waterbury. The intense, action-packed game culminated in a 1-0 win over Old Lyme at Veterans Stadium in New Britain.
"It was the most amazing day," said Coach Phil Mongelluzzo '90. "It was probably one of the best days of my life. The last minute in the end dragged, but it was also so enjoyable. It was nice to see a team come together."
"This team has worked incredibly hard this season, combining athletic skill with amazing team work," said Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, President. "If you know these students, you know that they are not just great athletes, they are great students, amazing leaders and loyal friends. They exemplify everything good and strong about a Holy Cross student. My congratulations to this amazing team, their coaches, their families and our entire athletic staff. It is a great day for Crusader nation. I could not be more proud of our kids!"
This win was a full circle moment for the girls since they lost the 2017 Class S championship game to Old Lyme. "It feels really good. Nothing can beat it," senior captain Alyssa Millburn said to the Waterbury Republican. "It all came full circle, which was really cool. We felt how bad it was to lose and so we knew we weren't going to do that again. We came here strong, and we came here to win."
The coaching staff was very firm on their goals for the team this year, one of which was realized when the team took home their first NVL Championship since 2007.
"I run a system where it doesn't feature anyone," said Coach Mongelluzzo. "It is a team system. The girls are forced to check their egos at the door. This year, they never wavered. I knew this team was special by the second game of the season."
"The energy at the State Championship game was great," said Coach Kyle Piatak. "Our juniors and seniors have been to the finals and quarterfinals in the past. We were fortunate to be able to play our game yesterday with confidence and control. Our girls were mentally tough. They were able to hold their own and see through the high-pressure moments. Devon Bushka '22 scored the goal to win."
Yesterday was a bittersweet one for the Crusader family. The Boys' Varsity Team also played in a State Championship game but were unable to defeat Old Saybrook in overtime.
"I think it put us all in a good mood watching what the girls can do, especially my father leading the way," said Giuseppe Mongelluzo '21, referring to his dad coaching the girls. "Seeing them run on to the pitch while we were warming up, that makes us want to replicate it and defeat the defending champions as they did. There's always next year, and we will be back."
"This loss stings, but they are going to learn from it," said Coach Mongelluzzo. "Johnny Teixeira is an incredible coach. When you lose, it builds character. They won seventeen games this year and the core of those boys is coming back. I guarantee they are going to be back in the Class S final next year."