division 3 boys’ state soccer championship

Sutton wins second straight boys’ soccer title

Justin Rothermich was on the ball against Watertown’s James Garbier; Rothermich scored Sutton’s first goal.
robert e. klein/for the globe
Justin Rothermich was on the ball against Watertown’s James Garbier; Rothermich scored Sutton’s first goal.

WORCESTER — All year the Sutton boys’ soccer team has leaned on brothers Justin and Kevin Rothermich. On Saturday, the sibling tandem accounted for both goals — teaming up for the winner — to help the Sammies to a 2-1 win over Watertown at Foley Stadium and their second straight Division 3 state title.

“They play so well together and have connected a couple times this year,” said Sutton coach Michael Elster. “You can’t do it on any bigger scene.”

Sutton controlled play for much of the first half, but Watertown struck first, 15 minutes into the game. After earning a corner kick, senior Raffi Chilingaryan lofted a perfect ball to the far post that James Garbier headed home, placing Sutton in a rare deficit.


The experienced Sammies went on a counterattack two minutes later. A long chip toward the goal turned into a race for the loose ball between Justin Rothermich and the Watertown keeper. Rothermich got the first touch and bumped the ball over the keeper’s shoulder. It rolled 20 yards into the net for the equalizer.

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“You can’t give up counterattacks. I thought we were a little asleep on that play,” said Watertown coach Chris Difranco. “But give them credit, they have been here before and it showed.”

“Even though they had scored it didn’t get us down too much,” said Justin Rothermich. “I was able to get to the ball before the goalie and put it away.”

Sutton continued to control the ball and pace of play for the remainder of the half, as both teams went into the break deadlocked.

“I thought in the first half we really possessed the ball,” said Elster. “It was nice to come back quickly and take some pressure off.”


In the second half, Sutton’s defense continued to suffocate the Watertown attack, not allowing the skilled Raider strikers any space.

“We play very good team defense,” said Elster. “We only have six goals against us all year.”

After 25 minutes in a stalemate, the Sammies broke through with the winner. Justin Rothermich broke down the side with the ball, drawing the attention of the entire Watertown defense. When his shot attempt was blocked, it bounced to his younger brother, and Kevin banged it into an empty net.

“I saw my brother take it, so I made my run as hard as I could and I was right there to put it away,” said Kevin.