COLUMBIA -- Academic Magnet put up a fight in Saturday's state championship match, but Christ Church's dominance at the Class A boys level reached a decade.
Christ Church beat the Raptors, 3-0, at Memorial Stadium to claim its 10th straight state title, tying a national record for consecutive state crowns. Gilford (N.H.) won 10 straight from 1987-96.
Saturday's match marked the third straight year Christ Church topped the Raptors in the title game. It also marked the end of the coaching career of the Raptors' Troy Bennage, who is retiring after 35 years as a coach at Stall and Academic Magnet.
Saturday will be a memorable day for Bennage despite his team's loss. His daughter,
Carole, had a baby girl, Paulina.
'At 2 a.m., my daughter called to let me know she called her doctor to see if she should go to the hospital,' he said. 'At 2:30, I get a call that she was on her way to the hospital. At 2:34, she delivered her own baby — for the second time.'
But the Raptors could not deliver as they lost to the Cavaliers for the fourth time in the state championship. They lost in 2005, and the last three years.
'It was a good match,' Bennage said. 'It was a nice place to have my final match. The thing I will remember most is the kids, and getting here four times. The only thing is we didn't leave one in the net. That was a little bit disappointing. But we came close.'
Christ Church, ranked No. 2 in the state, upped its record to 18-6-2, while Academic Magnet closed with a 16-7-1 mark.
After a scoreless first half, the Cavaliers got on the board when Cole Seiler delivered a corner kick that Robert DiBenedetto headed into the goal at the 42:08 mark. Eight minutes later, Josh Shaw scored on a penalty kick to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead.
Connor McEvoy scored on a header at the 60:49 mark to conclude the scoring.
Christ Church reached the title game with a 1-0 victory over Southside Christian in the Upper State championship.
'We were very, very fortunate to get through the Upper State championship this year against probably the best Southside Christian team ever, certainly the best one I ever faced,' Christ Church coach David Wilcox said. 'If you look at the way Academic Magnet played in the first 15 minutes of the game, they played better than either Southside Christian or us in the Upper State final. We didn't come out ready. They gave us a lot more than we expected.'
Jason Hamil, who is a a co-head coach along with Bennage, knows his team won't face Christ Church in the Class A state title game in 2011. The Raptors are moving up to Class AA.
'I think we are ready for that challenge,' Hamil said. 'And it will be a tough challenge. The foundation I have, they are ready for it. I am excited to get ready for next year and put today behind us.'
CHRIST CHURCH 3,
ACADEMIC MAGNET 0
(AM) none, (CC) Robert DiBenedetto 43', Josh Shaw 51' (Pen.), Connor
(AM) none, (CC) Cole Seiler. Shots: AM 5-12 CC.
(AM) Nate Silvestri 3; (CC) Christopher Woody 2.
AM 3-7 CC. Offsides: AM 0-1 CC. Fouls: AM 7-8 CC.
(AM) Sammy Kunitz-Levy 61'.
Eduardo Osorio (R); Joel Howle (AR), Tomas Barduskas (AR),Shaun O'Shea (4th), Kevin Stanley (5th), Barry Kemp (Timer).