This past campaign was truly a historic one for Immaculate Heart Central in boys soccer.
Not only did the Cavaliers capture the programs first sectional title in a quarter of a century, they were also a first-time state final four team.
At the heart of this success was a core group of seniors led by midfielder Matt Guyette. Displaying versatility on both sides of the field, Guyette helped guide IHC to a season of firsts.
It was amazing, Guyette said. Not only with winning the Section 3 title, but going to Middletown for states was a lot of fun. Im proud of what this team accomplished.
Guyette has been selected as the Times All-North Most Valuable Player in boys soccer representing the Frontier League.
The Cavaliers co-captain credits his teammates for the Cavaliers overall success as a team this year.
This was really cool, said Guyette, who was honored as an All-State player. To be able to play with my friends since weve played together (when) we were really young, it was a great experience.
But Guyette was at the center of IHCs flow as a team, both offensively and defensively, from his position in the midfield.
I thought he controlled the middle of the field really well this year offensively and defensively, IHC coach Mary Guyette said. He knew when he needed to get forward and score and he knew when he needed to get back and help defend.
He tallied four goals and assisted on four others in his senior campaign but his presence in the middle was even more invaluable.
Matt is a humble player, Mary Guyette said. He has never been concerned about his stats and he is truly a team player. ... He is a hard worker always wanting to see his team be successful.
After finishing in third place in the Frontier Leagues A Division, the Cavaliers were poised to launch their postseason run.
Like his teammates, Guyette exuded plenty of confidence that carried over into the playoffs, in which IHC won five consecutive games to reach the state Class D semifinals.
We definitely felt we could get this far because we made it pretty far last year by getting to the sectional final, said Guyette, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime in a 3-2 sectional quarterfinal win over Brookfield. One of our key goals at the beginning of the season was to make it this far and we did.
After the Cavaliers blanked Copenhagen, 3-0 in a Section 3 semifinal, they ousted Poland to avenge a loss in the final to the Tornadoes the year before and captured the schools first sectional crown in boys soccer since 1988.
That was special and it gave us even more confidence, Matt Guyette said.
The Cavaliers, backed by junior goalkeeper Jarrod Smith, recorded three consecutive shutouts, capped by a 1-0 decision over Section 4s Margaretville in a state quarterfinal.
Then in the programs first state semifinal, IHC battled Jasper-Troupsburg to a 1-1 tie through 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime before the Section 5 champion advanced to the title game on penalty kicks.
The Cavaliers finished the season at 16-3-2, including a 5-0-1 mark in the final six games.
We definitely stuck together as a team, we didnt want anyone to just play as an individual and have someone try and do it all himself, said Matt Guyette, who plans on studying physical therapy in college. It was important to play as a team so we could go far.
Fellow co-captains and seniors Pat Gefell, Chris Rowland and Jared Pignone also played pivotal roles in IHCs success this season as did senior Jude Fusilli, who topped the team in scoring with 17 goals and nine assists.
Since they were about nine or 10 years ago theyve been playing together, Mary Guyette said of IHCs core group of players. It was our goal at the beginning of the season to get to states and to win it as well. Even though we came up short, I think they represented themselves very well.