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Scarsdale Boys’ Soccer in Scintillating Form

GoalieSenior goalkeeper Rowan Haffner makes a stellar fingertip save to preserve 2-0 lead against Carmel.With the end of the regular season less than two weeks away, seeding for playoffs is on everyone’s mind. Getting the number one or two seed can have priceless effects, as doing so gives a team home-field advantage throughout the playoffs (with the section final played at a neutral venue). The 12th man of a home crowd could prove to make the difference between progression to the next round and the end of some senior’s soccer careers. The magnitude of every playoff match cannot be ignored.

The idea that any match can be the last is not in mind just yet. Claiming the number one or two seed, building a head of steam ahead of playoffs, grabbing the sweet taste of victory on any given day, and climbing up the state rankings are the more imminent thoughts. This Scarsdale soccer team has had its best start under Marcos Monteagudo and Co. since his arrival in 2019, and it is no coincidence the Raiders have found success this year and are perfectly set up for many strong seasons to come.

The team is now 8-1-1, but the one defeat could be the match of greatest magnitude. On September 21st, the team made the 50+ mile journey north to face off against Arlington. Despite performing strong on their travels, the Raiders left empty handed, receiving their first (and so far, only) loss of the season.

Defeat always tastes bitter. Even in a respectable performance, a loss never feels good. But this loss held a heavier weight than the first defeat in previous seasons. Perhaps it was because Scarsdale striker Leo Khang scored his first varsity goal to cut Arlington’s 2-goal lead in half with a few minutes remaining, giving the Raiders late hope of stealing a draw. Perhaps it was due to traveling so far and missing class to then walk away with nothing. But, most likely, the taste of defeat was stronger than usual because of Scarsdale’s high expectations and tremendous talent. The loss resonated on the sidelines before the team boarded the bus when the feeling of defeat sunk in. In the regular season, picking up zero points from a match sucks but is, in the grand scheme of things, not too big of a deal. In the playoffs, however, one defeat means everything is over. The silent consensus among the players was, “let’s never have this feeling again this season.”

Following the one loss, the Raiders have been unstoppable. Two days after the Arlington match, the Raiders hosted Ketcham on their temporary Quaker Ridge home and brushed the visitors aside by a resounding 5-0 score-line. On September 25th, Scarsdale took another trip north to face off against Carmel, a team who had only known victory until that match. Goals from Trevor Cohn and Eli Gelblum in the first ten minutes of play were all that was needed to secure the 2-0 victory and end the opposition’s golden start to the season. Rowan Haffner also made a memorable diving finger-tip save, providing a reminder of how difficult it is to break down the Scarsdale defense, and that if Haffner’s fellow co-captains Luke Peltz and Kian Batliwalla, as well as the rest of the defensive unit, are unable to stop an opposition attack (and such occurrences are few and far between), then the final wall is also extremely sturdy and unwilling to crack.

CarmelGameScarsdale ended Carmel's perfect start to the season on September 25th.

Then came a clash against John Jay East Fishkill, a team who sat near the top of both local and state rankings. On September 27th, at Quaker Ridge, the Raiders sent yet another message to the section, comfortably beating them 3-0, propelled by two phenomenal finishes from Khang.

Scarsdale beat New Rochelle on the opposition’s turf two days later after a shaky first half was erased and remedied by a stronger second half. Two days after that, Scarsdale brushed by Mount Vernon – a match in which all members of the talented Varsity squad received valuable minutes.

On October 2nd, the Raiders returned to Butler Field following their successful spell at Quaker Ridge. No readjusting to the surface was needed as three second-half goals gave Scarsdale a 3-0 victory over Clarkstown North. However, this match cannot be discussed without mentioning the 12th-man of a large, noisy student crowd. Quaker Ridge might provide a more unique field, but the Scarsdale High School turf allows for a prime atmosphere.

Five matches separate Scarsdale from the playoffs. They will do everything they can to secure the home field advantage. As is a common sentiment amongst the older players on the team, this is the best Scarsdale Varsity Boys’ Soccer Team in recent memory. There is no questioning they have the ability to go far. Nonetheless, the team knows that despite their historically strong start, the gas pedal needs to continue to be pressed with increasing ferocity.

Text and photo by Adam Katcher.

Reporter Adam Katcher is a senior and student athlete at Scarsdale High School.

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