COLUMBUS — It took Beavercreek High School’s boys soccer program 411 games to do it, but they finally got coach John Guiliano a state championship trophy.
While the players cheered and hugged each other and the fans screamed in celebration, after the exciting 1-0 double-overtime win Saturday night Nov. 11 at MAPFRE Stadium, there was the 29-year veteran coach, completely silent in comparison to the scene around him, walking around with a smile, the state championship trophy cradled in his right arm.
Fans would go to shake the coach’s hand, and he would shake their hands with his left. He would not let that trophy go.
With the temperature in the low 30s, players doused John’s son, Jason, with a cooler of ice water any way.
The 19-year assistant coach played in Beavercreek’s 1990 shootout loss to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in the Beavers’ first trip to the state title match. Current ‘Creek players Hunter Jackson and Jonah Ackerson had dads on that ‘90 team (Sean Jackson and Bryan Ackerson).
Beavercreek also lost in 2008. Then, it was a 1-0 loss to Cleveland St. Ignatius.
So to finally get the title win for their beloved coach in 2017, that meant the world to Jason and the players.
“Words don’t explain it. Nobody in soccer deserves this trophy more than him,” Jason said of his dad. “He was there from the beginning of the program, and year in and year out he gives his heart and soul to the kids. He was rewarded tonight, and the boys really came through for him.”
While Beavercreek out-shot Medina by a 22-8 margin for the game, and fired seven shots on goal to two for the Battlin’ Bees, the match itself seemed to ebb and flow. And everyone’s emotions swayed back and forth with each change in momentum.
Senior goalkeeper Liam Dipple said he felt the game change several times as well.
“I knew it was a pretty back and forth game, actually. We would come at them, they would come back at us …. we just got the breakthrough that we needed,” Dipple said, still with a look of stunned amazement several minutes after the game ended.
The game finally did end with 13:51 left in the second 15-minute sudden-victory overtime period of the match, when senior forward Dominic Calabrese gained control of a Medina pass deep in Bees territory. Calabrese quickly dished a pass off to his right to senior midfielder Ryan Bernt who drilled a shot into the left side of the Medina goal for the game winner.
“This is all for them: John and Jason. John has been in there for 29 years and had never won a state championship. So it just feels so good to be able to get it for him,” Calabrese said. “Jason too, … it’s all for them.”
Jason and the entire team and staff felt the Beavercreek community’s support.
“To have been around the program for as long as my father and I have been here, and being so close so many times, it’s just amazing to know that we finally got over that hump,” Jason Guiliano said. “I told the boys before the match that they weren’t playing for themselves tonight. They were playing for each other as well as all the alumni, all the supporters, the entire Beavercreek community. This is a trophy for everybody in Beavercreek…
“Looking up in the stands after the game, I probably saw 13 or so guys from my class who were here to support us. All the ex-players who were here to support us, it was just phenomenal.”
As the MAPFRE stadium officials turned off the scoreboard that proclaimed Beavercreek as state champions, and the stadium lights began to dim, there was John Guiliano quietly walking down the west sideline for the locker room … the state trophy still tucked safely under his arm.
It took 411 career wins, but judging by his smile it was well worth the wait.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.