The Stewart Cup is back at Berkshire.
The Bears earned the prize given to New England’s top Class A boys soccer team by defeating Worcester Academy 3-1 in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) championship game on Sunday, Nov. 18 in Worcester, Mass.
The victory gave Berkshire its fifth prep title in seven years and also sealed the team’s undefeated season (19-0).
“I feel like there’s flashing images throughout the season, and last year, all just pouring in at once,” an emotional head coach Charlie Bour said after the game. “It’s an incredible feeling and we’re really proud of the guys.”
Bour, a second-year coach, led Berkshire to the Class A final a year ago but lost to his former team, Loomis Chaffee School, 1-0 in double overtime. The game, admittedly, was a tough defeat for Bour and the Bears.
Facing the No. 2 seeded Hilltoppers on their home turf in this year's season finale, Berkshire got on the board first when Jacob Shaffelburg ’19 knocked in a rebound after Jacob Iwowo '19’s strike hit the crossbar. The goal giving Berkshire a 1-0 lead was Shaffelburg’s fourth in two games, following his hat-trick performance that helped the Bears earn a 3-0 win over Taft School in the tournament’s semifinal game on Saturday.
Worcester’s Carlton Steinberg tied the game at 1-1 in the 35th minute of play with a shot just outside of the box that got past Bears’ goalie Marco Saborío Perez ’19, who otherwise played a standout game in net.
Facing persistent pressure from the Hilltoppers to start the second half, Deng Kur ’19 managed to find the net on a free kick from 50 yards to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. Tyrese Caines ’21 sealed the win with a goal in the waning moments of the match.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had at Berkshire, and quite possibly in my life,” Shaffelburg said. “It’s the first time I’ve captained a soccer team, and so to go undefeated in a very hard league is unthinkable. It’s been a dream.”