Beavercreek has been waiting to hold a boys soccer state championship trophy in its hands since the 1980s. When the players were handed that elusive trophy Saturday night, they ran to the stands and let their fans touch it.
“I’m just so happy right now,” senior captain Dominic Calabrese said. “Words can’t describe it.”
The indescribable moment that put the trophy in the Beavers’ hands — and finally in the hands of longtime head coach John Guiliano — came early in the second sudden-victory overtime. That’s when Ryan Bernt scored to lift the Beavers to a 1-0 victory over Medina in the Division I final at MAPFRE Stadium.
“When we go into sudden victory we tell the kids just to believe in each other,” said Guiliano, whose team also won its semifinal in double overtime. “They got the ball to the right person at the right time.”
Bernt scored on an assist from Calabrese and the celebration was on. The players piled on top of each other on the field, the band played, the fans screamed and Bernt hardly knew what to say.
“No words to explain what happened,” Bernt said. “It’s crazy that we were the first ones to do it.”
The Beavers (22-0-2) had been to the state final four seven previous times, including last year and in 2014. This is Guiliano’s 29th season as head coach.
“He means the world to us and he got us all the way through this and was telling us how to win this game,” Bernt said. “It means everything to me for him to win it.”
Assistant coach Jason Guiliano, who has coached with his father for 19 years, gave Bernt a long hug for what Bernt had given to his father.
“Nobody deserves this trophy more than him” Jason Guiliano said. “He was there from the beginning of the program, and year in and year out gives his heart and soul to the kids, and he was rewarded tonight.”
The Beavers were runners-up in 2008 and 1990. This year’s team has a special connection to the 1990 team. Jason Guiliano was a senior on the 1990 team that lost in a shootout. Also on that team were Sean Jackson and Bryan Ackerson, whose sons, Hunter Jackson and Jonah Ackerson, are members of this year’s team. Jason Guiliano said he saw a dozen of his high school teammates in the stands.
“This is a trophy for everybody in Beavercreek and all the people who have played and been a part of the program,” Jason Guiliano said. “This is their night, and these boys just represented that.”
In 29 years and a record of 411-107-85, this is Guiliano’s first team to never be shut out. The Beavers scored over 100 goals and allowed only 14.
“We’ve preached to them all year long that you put your personal goals away and put team first,” he said. “And that’s exactly what they did tonight.”
The only downer about Saturday for Guiliano is that he won’t get to go to practice Monday.
“It’s just great working with these kids,” he said.
When the celebrations were settling down, the trophy found its way to John Guiliano’s arms. His son saw his dad with the trophy and reflected on what it meant to his dad and to himself.
“It was an emotional moment for me,” Jason Guiliano said. “Because there’s nobody who deserves that trophy more than him … nobody.”
And John Guiliano walked out of the stadium carrying what he came for.