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Scarsdale Boys’ Soccer Settles Into Playoff Form

RaiderSeniorsSenior Raiders line-up on Senior Night-October 15th, 5 pm
-Senior Night
-Scarsdale vs. Mamaroneck. Butler Field.-
-Temp mid-70’s with little wind.
-Bleachers packed to the brim with students, parents, and cut-out heads of the seniors on the Scarsdale Boys’ Varsity A Soccer Team.
-10 days after an agonizing 3-2 defeat at the claws of the Tigers, the Raiders had their first opportunity at revenge.

Prior to kickoff, the 15 team seniors took pictures with their parents and the coaching staff and huddled together. Coach Marcos Monteagudo gave a warm thank you to everyone, also gifting the players with jersey-number plaques – mementos the players will cherish forever. In the moment, the upcoming clash with the arch-rivals was second thought. Once the festivities ended and the opposition arrived, the focus shifted back to the task at hand.

Mamaroneck stole an early lead well before the crowd had time to reach full capacity. For the next 78 minutes of the match, Scarsdale dominated all facets of play. An outside-the-box wonder goal from Rafael Tassari erased the deficit before halftime.

Throughout the game, all the seniors made appearances, whether it be the consistent starters playing most of the match or fringe players making brief cameos in the most important match of the season to date. However, it was freshman Leo Khang who scored the match-winner late in the second half, sending the crowd and Scarsdale squad into pandemonium. With this win, Scarsdale clinched the League I – B title and the team stormed across the field to reach the delirious fans at full time.

Saturday was time bask in the glory of the monumental victory in the last game of the regular season. On Sunday, the focus returned to the upcoming match: a Round of 16 playoff clash against Ketcham.

Any game can be this team’s last, as the Section 1 Class AA playoffs commence on Thursday, October 21. If Scarsdale beats Ketcham, they advance. If the Raiders lose, then there is no practice on Friday, or Saturday, or any day until next season.

Scarsdale’s remarkable 11-2-2 record earned the team the number three seed, giving them the chance at home-field advantage until, at minimum, the semi-finals. However, playing against the 14 seed can be deceiving, as despite Ketcham’s low ranking, they have what it takes to cause a shock result. Every year, in Section 1, a major seed gets knocked out in the first round, so Scarsdale will have to prevent complacency from seeping in to ensure they are not the first big name eliminated. The winner of Scarsdale vs. Ketcham goes on to play the victor of North Rockland (6 seed) vs. Fox Lane (11 seed) in the quarterfinals on Saturday, October 23rd.

Soccer10 20carsdale Boys' Varsity A Coaching Staff (Marcos Monteagudo, Carlos Vazquez, and Andrew Nagel) watch intently as Raiders scrimmage against Eastchester to prepare for playoffs.

In preparation for the playoffs, on Tuesday, October 19th, Scarsdale traveled to Class A powerhouse Eastchester for a scrimmage. A 60-minute, unofficial, no-stakes match was played between the neighboring towns, followed by a penalty shootout to practice in case either team faces a scenario where the match goes beyond 100 minutes. When the two teams scrimmaged before the season started, expectations were unclear. Now, both teams are on everyone’s lips as potential candidates to win their respective Class’s Sectional Final.

But, of course, before finals can be thought about – or even quarter-finals – Scarsdale needs to get the business done on Thursday at Butler Field. Even though they already beat Ketcham 5-0 this season, Ketcham cannot be taken lightly. Anything can happen in soccer, but it is not as if Ketcham would need a miracle upset, for they do have sufficient talent to throw their weight with the higher seeds.

Though Scarsdale is favored to win the match -- and are amply prepared to make a deep playoff run –-there is such a thing as a “free win.” The war of the playoffs starts at kickoff on Thursday, October 21 and the following rounds cannot be considered unless the team wins.

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