The overjoyed and official team photos were done late in the afternoon of Nov. 7 for the newly crowned WIAA D2 state boys soccer champion Whitefish Bay team after the Blue Dukes claimed their first title in 20 years with a 1-0 win over North Shore rival Cedarburg at Uihlein Park.
But as coach Jeff Worzella was busy trying to get his happy, high-fiving troops to pick up their team area so the D1 squads that were coming in could get set up, the official WIAA photographer came running back in yelling 'Wait, wait, the goalie wasn't in the picture. We have to redo them.'
So Blue Duke senior keeper Adin Chiappa, the cool head under a siege attack by the determined Bulldogs in the second half, got to get his smiling face in the official team photo that was set under the stadium lights by the far corner of the team area.
It was worth waiting for him.
Though officially listed with only three saves for the night, Chiappa had to clear many shots, had to direct traffic many times in a busy Bay defensive third and just had to have the presence of mind to stay calm on the biggest stage.
'Going into any game, you always think you're going to get the most pressure you can from the team you're playing,' he said, 'but you have to play it like any other game. Yeah, it's the state finals, but you have to play it (cool).'
Bay coach Jeff Worzella, who was the keeper for the state champion Wauwatosa East 1998 D1 state champions, was impressed beyond measure.
'Adin was just fantastic,' said Worzella. 'He controlled that box so well when they (the Bulldogs) were serving in ball after ball. His ability (to stay calm) and to own that box was amazing.'
Coincidentally, both Worzella and Chiappa are now state record holders. Worzella didn't allow a goal in the three-game Red Raiders title run in 1998, and Chiappa and the Blue Dukes posted two shutouts in earning their crown this weekend.
'I'll always have the extra game on him,' Worzella said, laughing.
Chiappa was also pleased that he now gets to join his father, Chris, as a Bay state champion. The elder Chiappa played for the Blue Dukes in the early 1980s when they won the first two WIAA state soccer championships ever contested.
This title also lifted a couple of large weights off the Blue Dukes' backs. It was their fifth title in school history but the first since the second of back-to-back crowns earned by Perviz Afsari-coached teams in 1994 and 1995.
Senior forward Evan Conway, the team's leading scorer on the season, tried to wrap his head around that little bit of history.
'We look back at them (at the list of state champions at Bay), and it seems like our parents' names are the ones on the trophies,' he said, 'but how cool will it be to know that our names will be on this trophy for a long, long time?'
The second weight lifted was that of the noxious 3-0 loss to this same Cedarburg team in the third game of the season, a loss that would eventually cost the 23-2-1 Blue Dukes the North Shore Conference title.
Worzella tried to play down the revenge factor all week against the Bulldogs, but he secretly let on the previous week after the sectional final triumph over Pewaukee that he really, really wanted a rematch.
'Having that defeat so early really hurt our confidence for a while,' Conway said. 'We had to build things back up.'
But the question was, even as good as they were playing, could the high-flying Blue Dukes, they of the 105 goals on the season, stand up to the pressure and play the defense needed to win a state title?
The answer was 'yes.' They turned in a gaudy seven goals in the state semifinal triumph over Milton on Nov. 6. but it was established early in the final that things were going to tighten up considerably against the Bulldogs (19-1-4).
Cedarburg came out and owned the attacking third for the first 15 minutes or so, before Bay's strong possession-based attack started to take a little more control.
Chiappa, who had to save only one shot in the Milton game, was alert, and so were the defenders in front of him.
The offense finally kicked in in the final 10 minutes of the half.
Cedarburg got hit with two yellow cards in that time and on the second one, sophomore forward Jackson Dryden launched a free kick from the short left side, which junior midfielder Nicholas Anguil-Andriacchi deftly headed to the backside part of the goal for the only score of the game at the 34:03 mark.
'We were talking before the game how important the first goal of the game would be,' said Anguil-Andriacchi (or 'AA' as his teammates call him), 'and Jackson just played a great ball to me.'
Bay almost had a second goal before the half after a shot off a last-second corner kick skittered just wide of the far post.
Conway said the Blue Dukes were expecting some intensity out of the gate from the Bulldogs.
'I think our composure overcame their hype,' he said. 'We did a good job ... but the semifinal just didn't have this kind of intensity level. We really had to work to hold onto this lead.'
With Chiappa at the center of the defense.
'He's always calm back there; he always comes through,' Conway said.
Through three second-half corner kicks and 10 free kicks, Chiappa was in control as the pace became almost frenzied. Great crosses and sharp headers all just missed their mark for the Bulldogs as Chiappa and the Duke defenders cleaned up the rest.
The Bay coaches and bench anxiously started looking up at the clock in the final moments.
'The longest 10 minutes of my life,' Worzella said.
Balls were chipped to the sideline and then centered to midfield to kill time, and as the final seconds wore off, the Blue Dukes raced onto the field and over to their adoring, lustily roaring fans to accept their well-won praise.
It was the completion of a long process as players like Clay Vichich and Jordan Palmer came back from a year of Academy soccer to contribute strongly in their senior seasons.
'We had to work on our team chemistry,' said Dryden. 'We had to get used to one another, and once we did, we really started playing for each other.
'We definitely worked for this,' he said. 'It feels so good. My dad (Chris) won a title at Bay, and now I've got one too.'
Worzella also looks at this title as a bit of a book-end. Recently, he led a powerful DSHA girls basketball team to a state crown.
'I've crossed off a few things on the bucket list,' he said with a laugh.
Then he turned serious as he contemplated how far this team has come since the bitter disappointment of the sectional final loss to 2014 state champion Brookfield East last season, to the early frustration this fall against Cedarburg and to all the question marks that surrounded this current edition of the Blue Dukes.
'This just shows what a well-rounded soccer team we have,' he said. ''We were fantastic on both sides of the field. Our ability to defend was fantastic. We just didn't give up a lot of opportunities.
'The guys just refused to lose. As a coach, you just have to love that mindset. They're always playing for each other ... for them to be able to hoist that trophy this day is just a memorable, memorable experience.'