MONTVERDE, Fla. – The final whistle sounded, play stopped and Montverde Academy (Fla.) players slowly headed toward the home team sideline, shaking hands with opponents along the way.
There was no celebration, no excitement. In fact, hardly anyone – athlete or spectator -- knew that they had just witnessed high school boys soccer history.
Montverde’s 5-0 victory over Chandler (Ariz.) in Thursday’s opening round of the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament extended the Eagles’ undefeated run to 134 games, clipping the previous national record of 133 set by Gilford (N.H.) between 1990 and 1997.
“They want to win the big one,” said Montverde coach Mike Potempa, referring to the MAST title, which will decided Saturday night. “I never mentioned [the undefeated streak] to the team. Our focus has never been on the record.”
Montverde’s focus Thursday night was simply on putting the game away early, qualifying for Friday’s MAST semifinals and getting minutes for every player on the roster.
It seemed almost storybook that senior Leonardo Novaes factored heavily in Montverde’s win, scoring a pair of first-half goals. Novaes’ older brother, Henrique, was among the initial players that came to Montverde in 2010 with Potempa and was part of the first two undefeated seasons – the first 50 matches of the 134-game streak.
On Thursday, Benji Michel started the scoring five minutes into the match and Leonardo Novaes added the second and third goals not long after. Caua Soares gave Montverde a 4-0 lead in the first half, and Grayson Dupont capped the scoring with a second-half goal.
“1-0 was important,” Leonardo Novaes said. “But we expect the other team to come back. That’s why the second and third goals were so important. It showed them, that’s it – that the game is over.”
The Eagles are 59-0-1 during Leonardo Novaes’ tenture. Overall, there’s been a Novaes on the field for 110 of the program’s 134-match undefeated run.
Although Leonardo Novaes’ Montverde career is winding down, he hinted he might not be the last family to don an Eagles jersey.
“My younger brother might come next year,” Leonard Novaes said with a smile.
A season-by-season look at Montverde since Mike Potempa took over as coach in 2010 (127-0-7):
2010-11: 24-0-1, ESPN Powerade FAB 50 No. 1
2011-12: 21-0-4, ESPN Powerade FAB 50 No. 2
2012-13: 23-0-1, StudentSports FAB 50 No. 1
2013-14: 21-0-1, StudentSports FAB 50 No. 1
2014-15: 21-0-0, TopDrawerSoccer SIMA FAB 50 No. 1
2015-16: 17-0-0, entering MAST semifinals
OTHER MAST FIRST-ROUND MATCHES
Cathedral (Calif.) 1, Tampa Jesuit (Fla.) 0: Irving Arvizu scored with 1:12 left in the match to lift Cathedral to a first-round win. The Phantoms (12-1-1) are advancing to the MAST semifinals for the second straight year.
Melbourne (Fla.) 2, Sam Houston (Texas) 0: Jared Davis and Ben Baldwin scored the goals as Melbourne stunned Sam Houston. Sam Houston’s loss marked the first time a Texas team failed to advance to the semifinals.
M Irving Arvizu, Cathedral (Los Angeles, Calif.), Jr.: Spend most of the match in a defensive role, but when Cathedral needed a goal, Arvizu delivered. After winning a ball in the attacking zone, he beat two defenders and the right-footed player pushed a left-footed shot past the Tampa Jesuit keeper.
Danielle Santiago Burgos, Gulliver Prep (Miami, Fla.), Jr.: A very strong center back with good leadership skills. Has a rocket of a foot, making him dangerous on free kick. Burgos plays club soccer for Kendall.
F Leonardo Novaes, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), Sr.: A pur attacking player who is capable of playing any of the three forward positions. His best minutes Thursday night, in the only two-goal effort of the day at MAST, were spent on the left side. He remains uncommitted, but said Saint Louis is a frontrunner.
GK Kyle Schmitt, St. Paul's (Covington, La.), Soph.: Schmitt, a 6-foot keeper, was able to read to low shots to his right, making two saves to that side in the shootout.
D Owen Tworkowski, Melbourne (Melbourne, Fla.), Sr.: Tworkowski anchored a Melbourne defense that put the clamps on an offensively talented Sam Houston squad.