By MARY BETH DEVER, Special To The Bulletin | Published May 17, 2007
This year, there is no sharing in soccer. The Blessed Trinity Lady Titans soccer team, after being named co-champions in 2006, became the sole winner of the AAA state championship trophy for 2007.
“This has been an emotional year for our girls and they deserved it,” said Gilbert Jean-Baptiste, girls varsity head coach. “I’m extremely proud of them, and I could not be more excited for our senior class. They are going out as state champions. It saddens me to see them leave, but I have no choice but to let them go.”
As the Lady Titans took the field May 12 for the Saturday evening game against Westminster School, the crowd was pumped. Both schools were anxious to get the game underway after lightning had forced officials to postpone the game Friday night and after a slight weather delay Saturday. The BT stadium was decorated with green and gold balloons, streamers, and signs cheering on the Lady Titans as the first state championship game was played on the grounds of the seven-year-old Catholic high school.
The two rival teams, as expected, battled hard, and the well-defended game was scoreless until the second half. With 15 minutes left in regulation, BT captain Ashley Marks outran a Wildcat defender and chipped the ball over the head of the fast-approaching goalie to score the only goal of the game. It was the third year in a row the two schools had faced each other for the state title.
“This same combination happened last year when sophomore Christina Kyker passed the ball to Ashley,” said Jean-Baptiste. “We had various opportunities but failed to score. Westminster’s goalkeeper did a great job to keep them in the game. However, we knew that our time would come.”
The Titans took the trophy home by winning 1-0.
The two teams were also coming together to dedicate the game to Megan Ryan, a former BT administrator and varsity soccer coach who took the Titans to victory in 2004 for the AA state championship. Mrs. Ryan, who lost her yearlong battle with cancer in late April, was the wife of Tom Ryan, a Westminster teacher and football and wrestling coach who was in attendance with his two small children. After a moment of silence, the captains of both teams released white balloons in her honor.
“Having both teams come together in such a way before the game says a lot about the two schools,” said Ricky Turner, BT athletic director. “Winning state titles and being part of a talented athletic program is great, but it is really about the people who make up the community, and the Ryans are a big part of BT and Westminster.”
According to Jean-Baptiste, the dedication was important to the team, especially the seniors who had been coached by Mrs. Ryan.
“Seniors Katie Irrgang, Ashley Marks, and Ali Coad were members of our first state championship team under Coach Ryan. With this win they were able to honor her,” he said.