By BRAD SPAHR
WEST GOSHEN - Throughout the last decade, the Great Valley High School boys soccer team has had some outstanding seasons under head coach Dave Moffett. With that said, however, the Patriots hadn't won any titles to speak of since back in 2005 when they captured the Southern Chester County League championship.
Not any more, as that changed Thursday on a rainy night at West Chester East's Harold I. Zimmerman Stadium.
Great Valley officially clinched the Ches-Mont League American Division title thanks to a thoroughly impressive 3-0 road victory over the host Vikings.
It was the first big accomplishment so far this season for a Patriots squad that is in the midst of a truly remarkable and memorable campaign that they hope leads to more trophies when all is said and done.
Deep into the regular season, Great Valley still finds itself sporting an undefeated record, and they also are closing in on clinching the overall Ches-Mont League championship as well.
On Tuesday, the Patriots (11-0, 15-0) moved a step closer to that goal while locking up the American Division thanks in large part to a super game from senior midfielder Jay Nunez.
Nunez scored two goals in the contest, and afterwards like the rest of his teammates, was unaware that his team had clinched the divisional crown.
"We didn't have any idea we could wrap it up tonight actually,' said Nunez. "This really means a lot to us, though. It's the first time that we've won anything since way back in 2005.
"Hopefully there is a lot more to come. Winning the overall league title is our next goal, and then we would like to make a deep run in both districts and states. Being undefeated this late in the season is awesome, but we really don't want to jinx it. We're just trying to focus on one game at a time.'
West Chester East (6-4-1, 9-6-1) is certainly no pushover. The Vikings came into the contest tied for second place in the Ches-Mont National Division, and they were hoping to be the first to knock off the Patriots. On this night, however, West Chester East was pretty much out of it right from the start after a rough first 20-plus minutes.
Nunez had plenty to do with that.
The Patriots standout captain gave his side a quick 1-0 lead with 28:12 left in the opening half when he scored an unbelievable goal, ripping a left-footed shot into the top right corner from the top of the box.
Moments later, he struck again. Nunez added his second goal of the match just four minutes later, scoring on a similar shot from the top of the box that deflected into the net off an East defender. That gave Great Valley a 2-0 advantage with 24:13 to play in the first half.
"Jay Nunez is a man out there,' said West Chester East coach Tom Creighton. "He's hands down the best player in the league. He had two highlight reel goals for them, plays where we had three guys defending and playing strong on him, and we had a tough time recovering from that.
"Our weakness was our first touch. If we would've been better in that department it might have been a much better game, because in the second half we were a different team.'
Great Valley increased its lead to 3-0 with 18:18 to play in the opening stanza when Jake Miller scored. The goal came off a direct kick in which Michael Sprinkel sent a fantastic shot onto goal from about 30 yards out. West Chester East goalie Matt Grennell had to make a tough save on the shot, but in doing so, he yielded a rebound. Miller was right there on the doorstep, corralling the ball by the left post and banging it home.
"We were fortunate to come out strong in this game, and we knew that was going to be a key, because that's a good team we just played,' said Moffett, Great Valley's coach. "Our energy level was high right from the start.
"We couldn't ask for a better performance in the early part of this game tonight. Our kids fought and battled, and that's what this team has been about all year.'
West Chester East did indeed play much better in the second half, as neither team was able to get one in the net over the course of the final 40 minutes.
The damage had already been done, though.
For Great Valley, winning the division title was a great accomplishment. The Patriots, however, are hoping to fry much bigger fishes this season.
"Winning the whole league title is the big thing for us, and that's the goal we are focused on right now,' said Moffett. "We have to finish strong. Are players have done a great job of staying focused and taking it one game at a time, and we have to keep that focus from here on out.'
Great Valley 3, W.C. East 0
Great Valley 3 0 -- 3
W.C. East 0 0 -- 0
Great Valley goals: Nunez 2, Miller.
Goalie saves: Fuydal (GV) 6; Grennell (WCE) 3; Gleason (WCE) 3.