Deerfield’s Boys Thirds team put the cherry on top of a winning, fun-filled season by defeating rival Choate on Maguire South Field in Wallingford, Connecticut on Saturday morning. Its players, who have distinguished themselves with their team-first mentality all fall, took it to the next level, and the talk on the bench throughout the game was about how selflessly the offense was distributing and moving away from the ball to give each other options. As a result, its four goals were scored by four different players (all of them ninth graders). Midfielder Bryan Gianvecchio ’26 gave Deerfield the lead it would never relinquish in the third minute when a drive took us all the way down the field and he managed to find inches of room short of the end line to cross it into the net. Just six minutes later, after several more strong drives, striker Victor Kibuuka ’26 gritted through the Boars’ crowded defensive line and knocked it in with the bottom of his foot on a gutsy slide. The coaches used the cushion to give rock-solid defensive player Finn Knight ’25 a chance on attack, and he wasted no time making good things happen. At 26’ Knight assisted on a gorgeous right-corner goal by Luka Kokosadze ’26, who may have been more hyped for this game than anyone. Before the half, left wing Tai Feng ’26 made it 4-0 with a power shot after an assist from Oscar Sanford ’26, who (with his electric left foot) almost scored a couple of goals himself. The well-coached Choate team came out of halftime with tons of intensity and broke through for a couple of goals at 13’ and 20’. That added some welcome tension to the game which brought out of the best in Deerfield, with fullbacks Preyas Sinha ’24 and Gunnar Moore ’25 repelling attacks from wide. Shogo O’Connor ’25, Tommy Govi ’26 and Evan Galli ’26 all played their best, most intelligent soccer of the season on the attack in the second half. And the game MVP might just have been team leader James Kurto ’25 who made one textbook move after another today no matter whether the coaches put him at striker, attacking midfielder, holding midfield, or fullback. The bench all got up to applaud seniors Matt Dillon ’23 and Theo Deinard ’23 depart in the moment before the team secured the big win. Dillon’s three seasons giving the Junior A team tenacious yet calm defense will long be remembered in the Valley. Goalie Leo Ma ’25 also deserves special commendation, as he made several great saves to deliver today’s win and all fall has set aside his aspirations to play offense in order to give the team game after game of exemplary goalkeeping. But the team’s most valuable member might not be any of the upstanding gentleman who took the pitch today. Full back Ryan Bai ’26, who suffered a season-ending injury in a scrimmage three weeks ago, only increased his commitment to his teammates since then, whether that has meant hobbling down to the lower fields on his crutches, producing a remarkable team shirt, or anchoring the pregame huddle today. He has done it all with tremendous earnestness, warmth, and good humor. Improbably, less than three months since arriving on campus, Ryan has come to embody our team, this soccer program, and Deerfield at its best.