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FLORIDA, NY — Even though they lost their final game, Sullivan West’s varsity soccer squad achieved their primary goal of the 2019 season by making it to the Section IX Class C …
FLORIDA, NY — Even though they lost their final game, Sullivan West’s varsity soccer squad achieved their primary goal of the 2019 season by making it to the Section IX Class C semifinals.
All things considered, it would have been a nice touch for the Bulldogs to grab the brass ring. In this case, however, half an enchilada sure beats coming up short.
On Monday, October 28, number 3 seeded Sullivan West (8-9) took on the Spartans of S.S. Seward (12-3-2), who were ranked #2 going into the match that decided who would advance to the upcoming final.
In their first two meetings of the season, the Spartans defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 and 5-1.
“We had some chances, but didn’t capitalize on them,” said Kai Murray, coach of the Sullivan West boys’ varsity soccer squad. “It was zero-zero at the half against a team that’s beaten us twice.”
Murray noted that his team’s main goal of the year was to make it to sectionals, something Sullivan West hasn’t attained in long time.
“Our goal was to make it to sectionals… My seniors, all eight of them, were rooting for it,” he said.
Now that the season had drawn to a close, Murray went on to praise the performance of several of his booters.
“Sid South and Roan Gillingham gave it their all, Luis Leon was a powerhouse in midfield and Efrain Martinez was fantastic in goal.”
The game was scoreless at the end of the first frame, until Sullivan West’s Sid South drilled a shot past the Spartans’ goalie at 29:30.
But with 25-some minutes left in regulation play, Seward rebounded with a vengeance, scoring four unanswered goals to take the match 4-1.
The Spartans’ Tommy Bracken posted a hat trick with a trio of flashing consecutive goals: 24:00 assisted by Andrew Mulhare, all by his lonesome at 21:00 and again 13:00 off an assist by Nick Campana.
The final goal of the match came at the 10-minute mark, as Campana teamed up with Bracken to end the battle.
Quick stats: shots on goal (SW 9, Seward 24), corner kicks (SW 2, Seward 11), keeper saves (SW’s Efrain Martinez 18, Seward’s Maxx Hartman 7).
Seward’s coach Bill Steele has been around soccer for a while. Steele is a firm believer that the sport is best served by conditioning, in addition to skill, to a point in time where he had his players sign up for the school’s cross-country team as a way to stay in shape and get used to the idea that running full-tilt for at least 80 minutes was no easy task.
Steele said “the biggest difference in the game” was in the second frame when Bracken adjusted his position on the field to set up scoring placements, a switch that swayed the game for the Spartans and led to the hat trick.
And of the last 25 minutes of the match, during which the Spartans posted four goals to win the semifinal match?
“Our energy level went through the roof when we scored,” said Steele.
The Spartans of 2019 are a fairly young team, with eight of its top 14 players underclassmen, including the first three off the bench.
Standout performers during the match?
“Jason Mitchell was the energy engine…. Dawson Schulte and Jason Thom played the whole game Bracken has 33 goals and counting,” replied Steele.