Gonzaga crowded around the DCSAA boys’ championship trophy, with some players holding up one finger and others displaying two.
Both were appropriate. Gonzaga certainly was the No. 1 team after beating Sidwell Friends, 3-0, in Sunday’s final. But this was also the second time in eight days that the No. 7 Eagles gathered around some hardware for pictures.
On Nov. 3, they captured the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title with a come-from-behind, 2-1 win over Good Counsel. The idea that this team could lift not one but two trophies in the postseason seemed improbable not long ago. Following a scoreless draw with St. Mary’s Ryken on Oct. 1, the Eagles were 2-5-5.
After that, Gonzaga was 12-1-1. The victory over Sidwell was its seventh in a row.
“It was a confidence thing,” senior Ryan Elie said. “Beginning of the season, we didn’t have it. But a switch flipped. We’ve been able to put it together.”
They got on the board 15 minutes into Sunday’s final thanks to Elie, who also provided the game-tying goal and game-winning assist in the WCAC final.
“He scores goals that are just beautiful to watch,” Coach Scott Waller said.
Sidwell Friends (17-3-2) created some chances early in the second half, but junior midfielder Gianluca Sacco gave Gonzaga some breathing room with a beautiful goal. From there, Gonzaga locked down on defense, and Elie polished it off with his second goal.
In the final minutes, Gonzaga looked like a team that knows how to close a match. It took a turnaround to get there, but the Eagles left no doubt on the season’s final day.