HERSHEY, Pa. - Dave Moffett went down the line of his Great Valley boys' soccer players.
He shook hands, put his hands on their shoulders, and said words when words needed to be said.
His Patriots were devastated, having just fallen, 2-1, to Peters Township in the PIAA Class AAA state final Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium.
"It's two really good teams going toe to toe," Moffett said. "We knew they were very good defensively and aggressive, but every team has weaknesses, and we were looking to exploit that."
The Patriots (19-6-2) looked to exploit Peters Township by going wide and whipping the ball into the box, a strategy that earned Great Valley many corners and free kicks.
The more corners Great Valley earned, the more it seemed the Patriots would knock one into the net. So they continued to battle, playing that Great Valley brand of soccer that is both fun to watch and effective.
Led by seniors Kyle Hoops, Nick Paynter, and Jack Hajnik, the Patriots pressed forward trying to infiltrate a Peters Township defense that gave up only six goals all season. Great Valley is one of only three teams to score on the Indians over 24 games.
"I didn't see a team this year as aggressive as they were defensively," Moffett said. "They had two or three guys flying at the ball. They were just nicking anything away, bumping into you, disrupting everything we were doing.
"It just took us out of our normal passing rhythm because of their aggressiveness."
The Patriots did score off a Mike Carrigan header that cut the Indians' lead to 2-1 with less than 18 minutes to play in the game, but no matter how much Great Valley pressured, it couldn't find the equalizer.
"We are bound together from all of these experiences," Moffett said. "That's the beauty of team sports. Win or lose, you are bound by those experiences and memories."
After their names were called over the loudspeaker, and their silver medals awarded, there still was one more line that awaited the Patriots.
One by one, each member walked over to the fence to greet the team's passionate fans one last time. There, the Great Valley faithful gave out hugs, doled out words of encouragement, and patted the guys on the back.
The fans had been there screaming, clapping, and fist-pumping during and after each win this postseason. They were there for this, too.
Peters Township 0 2 - 2
Great Valley 0 1 - 1
Goal: PT-Nicco Mastrangelo, Mario Mastrangelo; GV-Mike Carrigan.