OMAHA – Millard North girls soccer coach James Abueg dropped to his knees after two last-minute scoring chances for Omaha Marian stayed out of the goal and Millard North had won the state championship.
The second-ranked Mustangs beat No. 1 Marian 1-0 on Monday in the Class A title match. The attendance for the two championship matches at Morrison Stadium was 3,676.
This was a different feeling for Abueg. The past two years Millard North lost in the championship match, each time against Omaha Marian.
Abueg has spent a lot of time at the state tournament. For about six years, at the same time he was coaching at Omaha South, Abueg assisted in helping run the state tournament as a field manager, where among his many jobs was helping greet the teams and supervise the ball boys and girls. The days can last at least 14 hours.
It was at state where Abueg got to watch Millard North play every year. He was always impressed by the great players Millard North had, and it became a dream coaching job for him.
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Abueg was the Omaha South girls head coach for 10 years, where he helped turn a program that rarely won to one that played for a district title. But Omaha South has never made it to state, so winning a championship there was probably never going to happen. In 2016 he got his dream job when he was hired at Millard North.
It’s special to now be a state championship coach.
“I started tearing up a little bit, I’m not going to lie,” Abueg said. “It was emotional. It was a very emotional game for me.”
Freshman forward Sena Ahovissi scored the winning goal 29 minutes into the match. It was her second goal of the tournament, but just fifth of the season.
Millard North also has a freshman goalkeeper, Sidney Anderson, and her seven saves included two in the final minute of the match.
Millard North ended the season on an eight match winning streak to win the program’s seventh state championship.
“These girls are amazing,” Abueg said. “This is something that they deserve.”