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Shipley boys’ soccer team captures Friends’ Schools League title

The Shipley School boys’ soccer team defeated Westtown 4-1, in the Friends’ School League championship final Oct. 30 to win the league crown.
For the Gators, it was their 10th boys’ soccer FSL title since joining the league in 2005, and their first since 2017.
Shipley senior captain Justin Curran said, “Winning the Friends’ Schools League championship definitely means a lot to me because we have gotten so close the past four years, and to do it in my senior year with such a close-knit team makes it even better.”
Gator senior captain Matt Homan said, “It means everything to me because I’ve been striving for it for four years and all our hard work finally paid off.”
Senior captain Jack Gillin said, “It took me four years to finally get the trophy – so it feels like an honor to be the one to finally do it.”
“This has been the ultimate team,” said Shipley boys’ soccer head coach Thom Schauerman. “Every single player has contributed to this title.”
The Gators (15-2 overall, 9-1 Friends’ Schools League) have scored 53 goals and given up only seven (as of Nov. 2).
“At the beginning of the season, we talked about how it is a journey together, and how we start the journey at the bottom of a mountain, climbing one step, one practice, one game at a time,” said Schauerman. “Regardless of a win, a loss, a setback, we can’t stop climbing. It’s the power of the team, how we lean on each other, that’s what will get us to the top.”
Prior to the FSL championship final, during the warmups, Schauerman appeared with a walking stick. The stick had become the symbol of the journey for the Gators.
“The night before our game with a league rival, Friends’ Central, a tree branch landed on my car during a big storm. I heard a loud noise, went outside, found the branch, and thought, ‘This is what we need for our journey.’ I had every one of our players sign that stick and it quickly became an inspirational symbol for the team after we beat Friends’ Central the next day. We’ve used it ever since.”
In the FSL championship final Oct. 30, Shipley took an early lead and built a 3-0 halftime advantage.
With 23:17 remaining in the first half, Shipley junior Joe McDaid converted a perfect cross from Justin Curran to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. With 5:09 left before halftime, junior captain Tanner Kelton and Justin Curran combined close to the Westtown goal before Curran sent the ball into a congested 6yd box where freshman Christopher Nascimento headed the ball into the back of the net. Just before halftime, the Gators’ Jack McDaid weaved his way through five Westtown players before closing in on the net and chipping it past the keeper to the far side of the net.
Westtown finally got on the scoreboard with five minutes remaining in the second half to slice the lead to 3-1 but Shipley quickly answered when Curran converted a cross from Alexander Gillin to provide the final margin.
Kelton said, “Winning the championship was extremely satisfying, as it was the goal we set at the beginning of the year, and knew we could achieve. It shows us how we’ve truly become a family these past couple of months and it also sets the tone for next year, since we’ll have that much more desire to defend the title.”
The team’s players were Alexi Amanatidis, Zack Anagnos, Colin Andreoli, Jeffrey Aronstam, Taryn Bailey, Finnegan Brenan, Justin Curran, Alexander Gillin, Jack Gillin, Bryan Henry, Maxwell Hiatt, Matthew Homan, Tanner Kelton, Noah Laackman, Aidan McBrearty, Jack McDaid, Joseph McDaid, Ali Mian, Rocco Morabito, Christopher Nascimento, Jamie Slater, Dylan Stoltz, Niels Strautnieks, Joshua Uhl, Tristan Willing, Christopher Yanney and Vance Yanney.

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