Boys soccer off to best start in recent history

Junior+David+Martinez+fights+for+a+ball+during+the+homecoming+game+against+Baldwin+at+Schreiber+on+September+16.
Junior David Martinez fights for a ball during the homecoming game against Baldwin at Schreiber on September 16.

Junior David Martinez fights for a ball during the homecoming game against Baldwin at Schreiber on September 16.

Junior David Martinez fights for a ball during the homecoming game against Baldwin at Schreiber on September 16.

Matt Levine, Staff Writer

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The boys varsity soccer team has gotten off to a strong start after a devastating end to last year’s season, when they fell short of the postseason.  This year, the team’s leaders are senior captain Ryan Stevens, junior captain Savvas Christoforou, and sophomore captain Jack Fridman.  The three captains, as well as the rest of the roster, hope to continue their success as the season progresses.

On Sep. 5, the season opened up with a 2-0 win over Roslyn.  They went on to win the first three contests of the season before losing their first match against rival Syosset.  Stevens and fellow senior Iviko Gejadze tallied a total of four goals each in the first three games.  After the loss to Syosset, they went on to win another three straight, and following their recent loss to Long Beach, are currently second in Nassau Conference AA-2 with a 6-2 overall record.  The team’s key players have been instrumental to their success at the start of the season.

“Iviko Gejadze plays up top with me, and we have combined for sixteen goals this season so far,” said Stevens.

Christoforou and Fridman both play midfield and help control the game, while junior Ryan Nachman plays in the center of the defense and is responsible for holding off the opposing team’s strikers.

The bulk of the scoring comes from Stevens and Gejadze, but senior Connor Shanahan, as well as younger players such as Christoforou and Fridman, are also top scorers.  Although talent plays a huge role, the boys attribute most of their success to the strong relationship that they have built with one another.

“The chemistry we have as a team plays the biggest part in our success this year. We don’t see ourselves as a high school soccer team,” said senior Mike Barrera.  “We see ourselves as a family.”

Last year, the squad started out with a huge win over Farmingdale, beating them 5-1.  Unfortunately, the boys fell short of the postseason despite their strong start.  Their biggest fear is falling short again, as they have had an equally strong start this year.

“Last year we also had a great start to the season beating Farmingdale 5-1, but it got to our heads,” said Stevens.  “We changed that this year and keep going game by game, making sure we get the three points each time.”

The boys are trying not to think too far ahead, so they’re focusing on current games rather than long-term goals like a Conference Championship, or maybe even a County Championship.  If they start to think ahead, they fear that they will fall short of the playoffs once again. They have to prepare for some big contests later in the season, but still want to focus on the present rather than the future

There are seven games remaining in the regular season, and on Oct. 11, the Vikings have a rematch against rival Syosset.  The Syosset Braves defeated the Vikings for their first loss of this year.

“When we have that rematch against Syosset, we will watch film of our last game, and we will make adjustments to prepare for a win,” said Shanahan.

The last four games of the season are against conference rivals Oceanside, Westbury, Syosset, and Oceanside.  If they want to claim that top spot in the conference going into the playoffs, the team will have to continue preparing and winning some of their major games.  They will continue to rely mainly on Stevens, who has nine goals in seven games with a hat trick against Manhasset.  Stevens has also tallied three assists, one short of sophomore Warren Sanger’s team high.   On the defensive side,l they will continue to rely on Nachman, along with goalkeepers junior Jon Nadolne and sophomore Dimitri Zerakhto.

The Fall 2017 campaign is off to an amazing 6-1 start for the Vikings boys varsity soccer team, and there are no signs of them slowing down anytime soon.

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