Somers, Westlake, Lakeland Set to Lock Down League Titles

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
Somers sophomore M Brady Leitner (L) and Mahopac senior M Sean Vaughn went airborne to collide on a 50-50 ball in the state-ranked (No.1) Tuskers’ 3-0 victory over the visiting Indians

Section 1 soccer is nothing to sneeze at anymore. After decades of mediocre fùtbol, the times they are a-changin’. A concerted effort by coaches across the section has witnessed a notable change in culture and results. The days of a “bag-of-balls-some-cones-and-a-half-assed-coach” are no longer permissible, and Section 1 is on the prowl these days; led by a 2016 charge that saw Class AA New Rochelle, Class A Somers, Class B Hastings and Class C North Salem win state titles. When we look back on things, the decade leading up to 2016 will likely be the era that triggered a change and set forth a vigorous effort to take Section 1 soccer as seriously as we do other sports. #KeepBuildingBoys. Let’s dive in, shall we.


After edging HORACE GREELEY, 1-0, earlier in the year, state-ranked (No.1) SOMERS left little doubt in Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the Quakers. Daniel D’Ippolito and Jacques Verard each tickled twine twice for the Tuskers while Jake Riina, Andrew Fasone, Brady Leitner and Mike Micceri each had an assist.

Somers (11-0) was all business in Friday’s 3-0 win over visiting MAHOPAC when the Big Dipper dropped a pair of first-half goals and Bennet Leitner added another — from D’Ippolito — before the half when Somers Coach Brian Lanezetta called off the dogs. Somers remains on the fast track to face Section 9’s Beacon in the opening round of the state tournament for those that put the cart before the horse.

Somers senior M Daniel D’Ippolito is checked by Mahopac senior M Sawyer Gagnon (3) in Tuskers’ 3-0 win over Indians Friday.

“We will be grateful for the opportunity if we get there,” Somers Coach Brian Lanzetta said #VivaItalia!
Somers’ second-teamers are on par with much of Section 1’s first-teamers #Facts, so depth only adds to a unit that seems to be capable of representing Section 1 in the NYSPHSAA tournament for the third time in five years.

Mahopac (2-8-1) began the week with a 2-0 win over winless BREWSTER when Manny Perez scored from 25 yards out in the 26th minute off a Luke Healy feed. Healy padded the lead from Liam Kounios 21 minutes later. Indian G Max Matailo (5 saves) notched the shutout.

As they have been for the last two seasons, BYRAM HILLS’ Ross Eagle (2A) and Nico Bisgaier were filthy good against Ardsley in a 6-0 Bobcat win. The senior duo had two goals apiece while Luke Berliner and Evan Boekel also found the back of the net. Benny Rakower (3 assists) was a prime-0time playmaker. G Fred Saltstein’s six saves to surging Byram’s third shutout in a row.

YORKTOWN’s George Popovic helped the Huskers (11-1-1) make short work of John Jay CR, the reigning N.West/Putnam large school champs. Popovic popped off for a natural hat trick and a three-goal lead before state-ranked (No.11) Yorktown cruised to a 5-0 win. He also added an assist on a Peter Tinaj tally. Gabe Hughes also scored while assists went to Matt Pozo, Nick Varela and Derek Belloff-Davis. Husker G J.P. Frucco needed five saves to record Yorktown’s second shutout of the season. Popovic felt the loss to Somers was an eye-opener, ensuring the Huskers are ready for Round 2 this week with the League II-C title on the line.

“The loss against Somers really shaped us up,” the senior captain said after going for two goals and three assists in a 9-1 win over Brewster Friday. Tinaj added two goals and two assists. “We are really looking forward to playing them again. We are all aware that the score was 5-2, but we strongly believe that the score didn’t accurately display how the game went. It wasn’t our night and we have to live with that. They’re a great team, probably the best we’ve played all year. We must give them that, but we don’t think they are anything we can’t hang with.

“Class A is stacked,” Popovic added. “Any game on any given night could go either way, which I love. It brings competitiveness to every game, and we look forward to being there fighting for a section championship. We are in a great place right now. I personally believe we’ve caught fire, catching big results in our last three games. We are looking forward to bringing the same energy Tuesday against Somers.”

LAKELAND finally had its statement win last Thursday, a 4-3 come-from-behind OT triumph of state-ranked (No.19) Lourdes, which puts the Hornets in the driver’s seat for the League II-D title. The host Hornets were down 3-0 when middie Mike Rodriguez went to work. The junior sniped his fourth game-winning goal in OT. Bryan Jaramillo, David Rodriguez and David Pinkowsky all found the back of the net. G Chris Ciraco made seven saves in the win.
“We’re building something here,” Lakeland Coach Tim Hourahan said. “We’re staying in the shadows but this team is fun to be around and really showed some guts.”

Rodriguez added a hat trick in Saturday’s 6-1 win over Yonkers.

Peekskill seniors pose with coaches after knocking off state-ranked Lourdes Friday.

PEEKSKILL’s Johnny Morocho completed a natural, unassisted hat trick 14 minutes into the second half for a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-2 win over WALTER PANAS. Alex Sapatanga scored twice for the Red Devils (9-5). Koky Duarte and Eddie Chicaiza were credited with the Panther goals. The Red Devils followed up the win with a huge 2-0 win over Lourdes Friday when Sapatanga converted a PK in the 25th minute and Zion Arevalo turned on a Morocho feed in the 64th minute for the surging Red Devils, winners of four in a row. Peekskill G Angel Menjivar (10 saves) notched the shutout.


Marko Borovyk, David Maldonado (1A), Matt Matera (1A) and Michael Sugar all scored for CARMEL in a 4-1 win over Ramapo. The state-ranked (No.17) Rams (9-3) got a pair of assists from Neel Walia, who was also busy in Thursday’s 4-1 rout of RCK. Walia had a goal and an assist. Matera, Borovyk and Kyle Klammer (1A) each scored for the Rams, who will face the meat of their schedule this week when they host Arlington and state-ranked (No.5) John Jay EF Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The game against the Admirals will probably be for second place in League I-A, one of the state’s toughest leagues, which has aptly prepared the Rams for a deep Final 4 run.

OSSINING came up with a huge 2-1 win over WHITE PLAINS Saturday when Gianni Downes headed home a corner from William Mejia just five minutes before the half. The Tigers (6-8) then broke down defensively when Exon Umanzor followed with a goal off an assist from Mariano Marra one minute before the break. The Pride’s (7-4-4) stingy defense took over from there. It will be tough for current No.8 Ossining or No.10 White Plains to earn a seed higher than No.8, but nobody wants to see either club in the first round.


HALDANE (6-7) spotted North Salem a 1-0 lead but Max Westphal and Matt Silhavy responded in kind for a 2-1 Blue Devil win Saturday when G Ronan Kiter (4 saves) posted the clean sheet. The Blue Devils are on a collision course with state-ranked (No.6) Hamilton for Class C sectional title.

NOTES: WESTLAKE is ranked No.10 in NYS and on track for its first sectional title since #Forever. Let’s not dismiss Irvington and two-time defending champion Bronxville, which makes the No.1 seed all the more important. The Wildcats have a very tough final portion of the schedule in which to prepare for the rigors of Class B soccer.

Section 1 Championships – at Lakeland High — October 30: Class A, noon; Class B, 2:30 p.m.; Class AA, 5 p.m.; Class C, 8 p.m. Outbracket games begin Oct.20, opening round Oct.21.


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