When Masai Brown-Andrews’s penalty shot hit the back of the net Sunday evening, memories of the past three years popped into St. John’s Coach Sal Caccavale’s mind.
Caccavale began coaching the Cadets three years ago, and though the team struggled the past two seasons, Brown-Andrews’s goal sealed the Cadets’ 3-3 (3-2) victory in penalty kicks over Wilson in the D.C. State Athletic Association championship game.
Caccavale remembered how he spent every afternoon on the Cadets’ fields the past three years, trying to build a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference contender. Sunday’s victory was even more significant for the former MLS midfielder because it came against Wilson, which he coached for five years before taking over the D.C. private school program.
“It was fitting the only way I’d win is by beating them,” Caccavale said. “It was a culmination of hard work.”
After finishing one of its best recent regular seasons, St. John’s (12-3-2) fell to Paul VI in the WCAC quarterfinals Oct. 30. Caccavale confronted his players and asked whether they wanted to keep playing.
“The first day after that everybody was down,” Brown-Andrews said. “But we knew we had another chance to bring this trophy home and make history.”
St. John’s and Wilson (13-4-2) finished overtime tied 3-3. When Brown-Andrews knocked a ball into the top right corner of the goal and St. John’s won the penalty kick shootout, 3-2, the sophomore sprinted as fast as he could around Catholic University’s field as his teammates and Cadets fans chased him.
St. John’s players posed for photos with the DCSAA championship plaque and jumped around the field in celebration. Caccavale, meanwhile, received what seemed like a never-ending number of congratulations and handshakes from parents, boosters and fans.
“There’s more to come,” Caccavale told one spectator.
The Sidwell Friends girls’ soccer players had stormed the field with their fans and accepted their DCSAA title plaque when Coach Ryan Alexander asked them to move off the sideline so the boys’ teams could set up for their game.
But the players were still eager to show off their crown, picking out red DCSAA championship sweatshirts from a box before leaving.
“Hey,” Alexander yelled. “Don’t do that here!”
Last year, Sidwell Friends fell to St. John’s in overtime in the title game. So the No. 6 Quakers were excited to get their hands on the mementos after their 2-1 victory over No. 10 Georgetown Day on Sunday, capping a campaign in which they also won the Independent School League AA title.
“It was tough emotionally after the ISL championship,” Alexander said. “That’s like the fixture around our school.”
In last week’s ISL AA championship game, Georgetown Visitation shut down Kiki Rice, the leading scorer for Sidwell Friends (18-1-1). On Sunday, the freshman netted both of the Quakers’ goals to finish the season with 42.
Rice, along with Sidwell Friends’s other talented freshmen, learned Alexander’s system while playing for the program’s middle school team. Rice scored about 20 goals through the team’s first seven games, so teams have been double-teaming her since then.
“I knew how good she was,” Alexander said, “but I’d be lying if I said I knew she would score this many goals.”
While Georgetown Day (12-4-1) pulled within one score with about 22 minutes left, goalkeeper Maisy Biden made key saves for Sidwell Friends down the stretch.
Sidwell Friends expects to return 10 starters next season, so it again hopes to be one of the area’s best teams.
“I told them to not take this game for granted,” Alexander said. “It takes a lot of luck to have the season we had. But we’re excited about the future.”