Jamestown soccer ends regular season undefeated; Meese earns team records

Staff Writer

In the last game of the regular season, Jamestown faced Tabb on Monday night. The game turned into an intense defensive match, scoreless for the first 70 minutes of regulation. Then, Jamestown’s Michael Meese scored the only goal, which was enough to give the Eagles their final win of the regular season.

It was one more storybook moment in a season filled with them, for both the Eagles and for Meese. With the victory, Jamestown remained undefeated. Meese also scored his 40th goal of the season.

“You get a lucky bounce every now and then, I’m just happy I was able to score a goal when my team needed one the most,” said Meese. “Records are nice, but another win is something the whole team can be proud of, the only stat that matters at the end is the score.”

The team as a whole was in a celebratory mood after the game. Bryce Stutt, a senior who has watched the team fall short the past couple seasons, says the team wanted to send a message, and they put in the work to make that happen.

“We’ve worked hard this year, and we’ve wanted this since the start of the season, and now that we have it, it’s on to the next milestone,” said Stutt. “We just need to take that same motivation into the playoffs, keep playing like we have, and take each opponent as they come, as long as we do that, we have a shot at states.”

Coach Bobby O’Brien has been with the Eagles for 12 seasons, including seeing them to state championships in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2015. This year’s squad is one of the best he’s seen at Jamestown, and the team has something that he thinks has been missing the past couple seasons: drive.

“A game like this, we might have lost or come to a draw a year ago, but this year brought an edge and a focus, took things to another level, and it’s made a difference all season,” said O’Brien. “They’ve always been talented, but they came together this year, I’m impressed with the team’s ability to stay focused and work together.”

The undefeated record isn’t the only milestone achieved with Jamestown’s victory over Tabb — with that game-winning goal, Michael Meese secured his place as one of the most talented soccer players to ever play for the Eagles, if not the most talented.

With the goal against Tabb, Meese had scored 40 goals for the season, setting a school single-season record, as well as the school’s career scoring record with a career total of 91 — that’s 26 more than the previous record of 65, which was set by coach O’Brien when he played for Jamestown 19 years ago. He was also recently named an Allstate All-American, placing him among the 40 best soccer players in the country.

O’Brien describes Meese as a generational talent, perhaps the most talented player he’s ever coached at Jamestown.

“Meese has size on his side, the speed and agility of a track-and-field star, and the dexterity to get away from defenders and shoot the ball with any side of his foot,” said O’Brien. “If he’s not the perfect all-around player, he’s very close to it, though it does help that he’s far from the only talented player on the team this year.”

Meese, who has already committed to play for William and Mary in college, is a junior, and his record numbers are likely to go higher during his senior year. He’ll be the first to tell you, though, his numbers take a back seat to his main goal: winning another state championship for Jamestown.

“I would give up every goal I’ve ever scored if it meant Jamestown wins another state championship, rather than score 40 and come up short,” said Meese. “My teammates and I walk past the photos and displays from past Jamestown teams that won the state championship, and I’ll do anything I can do see us up there with them, anyone on the team would.”

That attitude, and the realization that once the playoffs start, the real work begins, is something that O’Brien said he’s worked to instill in the team from day one. So long as they keep their eyes on the prize, Jamestown has a chance to bring home its next state title.

“Ending the season undefeated is great, but now it’s a win or go home situation, and we will be against some great teams moving forward, both in the division and at the state level,” said O’Brien. “The number one goal of all these kids has been to win another championship, it’s been a goal for three or four years for some of these kids, and as long as they play like they have this year, they have a real shot at seeing that happen.”

As the top seed, Jamestown will sit out the first round of the divisional playoffs. Their next game will be in the divisional quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday May 24, with the location and opponent to be determined.

Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email sean.korsgaard@vagazette.com, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.

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