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No.4 Lakeland Solves No.13 Mahopac; Class B Briarcliff, Byram, Valhalla Move on
By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
To be completely honest, most folks in the know on the Section 1 soccer circuit consider the quality of play and level of skill, debatably, somewhat down in 2022, but the competition is still pretty stiff as we head into this week’s quarterfinal round of the sectional playoffs.
“The top teams all rose to the top in the opening round,” Byram Hills Coach Matt Allen said. “I think it’ll be pretty chalky in the end, though Tappan Zee is sneaky good in Class A.”
WHITE PLAINS barely got off the bus when it faced host CARMEL back in Week 1 of the Section 1 soccer season. Coach Vasiliy Shevelchinsky Rams cruised to a 4-1 victory that day, humbling Coach Mike Lambert’s Tigers along the way. It was a wake-up call White Plains would heed as they have gone 8-1-1 in the last 10.
“We learned a lot from that loss,” Lambert admitted after his sixth-seeded Tigers advanced to the Section 1 Class AA quarterfinals after a 2-1 win over the visiting Rams last Saturday. “We knew exactly what they were gonna throw at us today and we were ready.”
Yet it was deja vu all over again when rugged Carmel senior Kyle Klammer, who roasted White Plains back in September, scored the game’s first goal.
“His goal was crazy,” Lambert said. “He took on two defenders and still finished, kids a hell of a player. Our boys kept their composure and kept pushing forward until we finally broke through. Key movements off the ball opened up some space for our attackers in the second half.”
That’s when, at 27:53 in, Francesco Giglio won a 50/50 in the middle third, and played it up to Gael Baraldi , who quickly sent Charles Reid on for a one-time shot on goal, a dangerous ball, which was deflected by Carmel keeper Joe Galeano (4 saves) before Tiger Rhaymani Alexander cleaned up the rebound to tie the game.
White Plains had several chances and applied tons of pressure in the second half, but Carmel (6-8-3) caught the Tigers (12-4-1) high in their attack and countered, but a “disgustingly gorgeous left-handed, diving save by goalie Milo Kris”, according to Lambert, kept the game deadlocked through regulation.
In overtime, with 12:00 left, Tiger Jorge Ordonez possessed up the middle and split the defenders in an attempt to play Alexander on.
“The Carmel goalie rushed up to clear the ball and misplaced the clearance,” Lambert said.
Alexander picked up the loose ball and finished in an open net from 20 yards out to advance the Tigers to Tuesday’s quarterfinal round against No.3 North Rockland, ranked No.20 in NYS.
“It was a great win to avenge our worst losses of the season,” Lambert said. “Twelve wins and counting, not done yet!”
Fourth-seeded OSSINING had its season come to a screeching halt when the Pride (10-4-3) suffered an 8-7 overtime shootout loss to defending champion Mamaroneck. Mamaroneck was a man short for the second overtime period after a scuffle between the two squads resulted in yellow cards. It was the Tigers’ second such card, resulting in the man-down situation, but the Pride could not capitalize. Ossining had scored just four goals in its last five games, so finding the back of the net was an issue that finally caught up at the wrong time.
Top-seeded YORKTOWN, ranked No.2 in NYS, wasted little time in disposing of 16th-seeded FOX LANE in a 5-0 opening-round win at Charlie Murphy Field Saturday. Husker Nick Varela scored off a Matt Pozo feed just 1:03 into the game, and the Foxes could do very little to penetrate the Huskers’ back line, so it was all but over when David Beitler, off a feed Varela, made it 2-0. Anthony Spina scored off a broken free kick from Adrian Pjetri for a 3-0 lead and Pozo (from Chris Coppola) and Michael Munson (from Beitler) put the Foxes (7-10-1) on ice.
“We’re very thrilled with the way we played,” Yorktown Coach Zoran Milojevic said. “We used the break to rejuvenate and work on a few kinks. I was very happy with the way we played.”
The undefeated Huskers (17-0) will host No.8 SOMERS, the reigning NYS champion, Tuesday. Coach Brian Lanzetta’s Tuskers (11-6) have won seven of the last eight, including Saturday’s 2-0 win over visiting Sleepy Hollow. As it was in the past, it was a D’Ippolito filling the nets for Somers. Junior M Matthew D’Ippolito scored both goals for the Tuskers, doing his best impersonation of his brother, Daniel, the 2021 NYS Gatorade Player of the Year.
Fourth-seeded LAKELAND finally figured out a way past No.13 MAHOPAC, pulling off the 2-0 opening-round win. After a scoreless first half, the Hornets (13-3-1) solved the Indians’ (8-9-1) stingy defense behind two second-half goals off the boots of Michael Rodriguez (from David Rodriguez) and Bryan Jaramillo (from Derek Jaramillo). The referees actually waved off three other would-be tallies by Lakeland.
“They waved off three of our goals in the second half before we actually scored,” Lakeland Coach Tim Hourahan said. “Three goals waved off, unheard of!”
Lakeland G Oban Rader (3 saves) had a much easier time than Mahopac G Alex Ruzzo (14 saves), who kept the vastly-improved Indians afloat.
Lakeland will face No.5 HORACE GREELEY Tuesday in what should be a wild quarterfinal match. On paper, the Quakers (13-2-2) look like they had an easy run in a 5-1 win over No.12 Harrison, but, according to Greeley boss Camp Shropshire, “The scores don’t represent the intensity of the match.”
Harrison started off the scoring 16 minutes in when Braiden Sottile converted a penalty kick. Harrison held on until the 24th minute when Greeley’s Justin Xiang evened the score with a dipping strike from 25 yards out. Four minutes later, Bryce Bernbach found the back of the net off a goal-line scramble, putting Greeley up 2-1 off a poached ball.
The second half saw Harrison doing their best to exploit the incredible speed of their forwards but the Greeley defense held on. A little more than an hour into the contest, Greeley’s Dominic Larizza converted a Bryce Bernbach throw-in to make it 3-1, and Bonback and Larizza each added insurance goals. Greeley keeper Diego Velasco (6 saves) will need to be at his best against an explosive Lakeland club.
“I agree, they are going to be extremely talented and well coached,” Shropshire said. “There is a great soccer culture in that community. We are having our moments. Harrison was great – frightening to this coach – and could have scored during the run of play on more than a few occasions. But my keeper, Diego Verlaso, had a tremendous save to hold our lead and give us the momentum for the rest of the match.”
Tip your caps to No.15 WALTER PANAS, which went across the river and gave No.2 Tappan Zee all the state-ranked (No.5) Dutchmen could handle in a 3-1 Panther loss. Panther Ronak Das scored off a feed from Jacob Malfant and the teams went into the break level at 1-1, but the Dutchies prevailed and advanced to face No.10 Nyack, a 5-1 upset winner over No.7 Eastchester.
Panas finished up at 7-10-2.
No.6 PEEKSKILL had an impressive 10-4-3 season end in a 2-2 opening-round tie to No.11 Pearl River, which prevailed in overtime, 3-0, on PKs. Jonnathan Mendieta and Randy Tapia scored for the Red Devils off assists from Chris Chalco and Cris Chuchi.
Top-seeded BRIARCLIFF, ranked No.1 in NYS, survived a major scare in an opening-round 1-0 win over No.16 Blind Brook. Ethan Klar scored on an assist from Emilio Abud Chalita and Bear keeper Toby Young (2 saves) held the clean sheet as the Bears moved on to today’s quarterfinals to face No.8 North Salem, a 2-0 winner over No.9 PLEASANTVILLE (8-8).
Briarcliff and Blind Brook traded possession throughout a scoreless first half, but Klar scored the game’s only goal early in the second half. Briarcliff’s back line staved off a relentless Blind Brook press in front of Young.
“This was way too close for comfort,” Briarcliff Assistant Coach Paul Bordonaro admitted. “We knew it was going to be a game like that against a league opponent. Their kids battled, but our kids battled just as hard.”
No.6 BYRAM HILLS needed overtime in a 2-1 win to put down a pesky No.11 Edgemont, which failed to contain a slick header from Aidan Heffner in OT.
“A snap header into the top left corner,” Coach Allen said of Heff’s game-winner. “It was pretty awesome.”
Byram Hills (10-5-2) opened the game with a goal from M Jesse Goldstein thirty seconds in. Edgemont came back to tie in the second half.
“Jesse and Aidan are the captains of the team, so it was nice to see them come through,” Allen said. “It was our third time defeating Edgemont this season. They were really good.”
So is No.3 Irvington (13-1-3), the Bobcats’ quarterfinal foe.
No.12 VALHALLA posted the tournament’s biggest upset when the #BracketBusting Vikings pulled off a 4-1 win at No.5 Dobbs Ferry.
Valhalla took a 2-0 lead into the break when, at 15:30, Luka Pandzic (from Owen Rubio-Heeney) and Anthony Impelluso (from Vincent Reyes), at 36:30, each scored first-half goals. Dobbs cut the margin in half just one minute into the second half, but Matt Del Gatto (from Chris Purchia) scored his first varsity goal to put the Vikings at ease when he scored with just under six minutes left. Oliver Tecuapetla added an unassisted goal in the final minute for the Vikings, who advanced to face No.4 Keio, one of the more technical and disciplined programs in the section. Leo Dragone had four saves for the Vikings (6-8-3).
Valhalla Coach Sandro Prosperino knew his boys had this in them, despite their recent play.
“Entering sectional play on a losing streak was far from ideal,” the coach said.
“But I’m so proud of the resiliency the team has shown battling through all the injuries and illnesses with showing up every day ready to work. We knew going into the Dobbs Ferry game we would have our hands full. They had a tremendous season and are well coached. It was great to see contributions from so many players. Jumping on them early gave us the confidence we needed. We did have a bit of a scare when Dobbs Ferry got to 2-1 within the first minute of the second half. It stayed that way for the next 32 minutes. But the boys stayed the course.”