In a rematch of last year's finals, St. Martin's marched into town with a very strong, very confident eighth-grade unit. But it was Bill Case and his seventh-grade team "the seven train" that proved to be too experienced and just too tough.
Case, who has won three championships in as many years, later said that this was the most unified and focused team that he had ever coached. With two of the top players out with injuries, he said. "I knew it was going to be tough. We knew we needed to set ourselves up, allow balls to go out of bounds and keep a consistent serve. Team unity was this team's secret."
They also had two assistants from Chaminade this year. Patrick Moran and Mike Alas, former champions from two years ago, demonstrated poise and good sportsmanship all year. "They were truly a model for the young middle school team. Bob and Maggie Moran have done a masterful job as directors of our league and our Principal Sean O'Conell could not have been more supportive, said Case.
In the first game Nick Melittas, with the score 1-1, went on a 10 point tear. The hard-hitting St. Martins started to come back but it was Ryan Bergin's diving save that took the steam right out of them.
Behind 9 points in the second game, it was Malachy Mahon who brought the team within a point. Case made a few substitutions and the seven train, loaded with diesel fuel took it home.
"You have to hand it to St. Martin's," said Case. "They came to play and left it all on the court. They also were extremely good sports. I'm proud of their program and their coach, Jackie Delfino, who did a wonderful job this year."