Scarsdale Boys’ Soccer: Top Dogs, But Still Hunting
- Thursday, 07 September 2023 07:54
- Last Updated: Thursday, 07 September 2023 07:58
- Published: Thursday, 07 September 2023 07:54
- Sajiv Mehta
- Hits: 1039
At some point during the Fall 2022 soccer season, the consensus was that the Scarsdale Raiders were the best overall team in New York State. Behind an inspired season from then-senior Nico Galeano, Scarsdale won the NYS title and ended the season with a record of 21 wins to 0 losses. The accolades, both team and individual, speak for themselves. The team closed out the season ranked among the top five teams in the country according to the United Soccer Coaches poll. Seven players received All-League honors, and three players - Lorenzo Galeano, Leo Khang, and Nico Galeano, were named All-Section and All-State. Nico Galeano became the most decorated player in Scarsdale history, being named the Section 1 Player of the Year, Gatorade NYS Player of the Year, and an All-American. Lastly, head coach Marcos Monteagudo was the NYS Coach of the Year and the Northeast Region Coach of the Year.
With such an astounding year of accomplishments, it is no surprise that the Raiders have had a target on their back to start this season. Coach Monteagudo is determined to change the mentality, however. He has often told his players, “Everyone is trying to hunt us down, but we’re the hunters.” The mantra has instilled a sense of confidence in Scarsdale players, leading them to a strong start to the season.
So far, all 3 games of the ‘23 season have gone according to plan. On Tuesday, August 29th, the team headed to Harrison High School, where they routed the Huskies 6-0. Next, they hosted Irvington on Friday, September 1st, again winning comfortably, 4-1. On Tuesday, September 5th, they were engaged in a more low-scoring affair, not scoring until the second half, when Lorenzo Galeano put two penalties away before the Raiders conceded one goal. The 2-1 victory was less of a dominant triumph, but it went down in the win column nonetheless, proving that this team is not afraid of the pressure of a close game.
Despite the losses of an especially strong senior class from 2022, the ‘23 team has shown they have the ability and motivation to contend for a second straight state title. Junior Lorenzo Galeano has played a key role in filling the hole left by his elder brother, stepping up to be the leading goal scorer on the team so far. Many other juniors have also stepped into a larger role this year. Winger Yusuke Sato has improved as a scorer, developing into a solid one-on-one player. Center-back Marc Hajjar has become a physical presence in the defensive realm, and midfielders Lev Stahl, Miles Newman, and Daniel Cisneros have progressed as dribblers and on-the-ball presences. Newman, especially, has been winning a lot of critical tackles.
The senior leadership has no doubt been vastly important to the team’s early success. Captains Henry McAllister, Zach Ruback, Alex Duval, and Lucas Kantor have all embraced their roles, contributing to an intense atmosphere in practice and a confident attitude. Having moved up from No. 3 in the preseason national rankings to No. 2, it is evident that the high school soccer community has confidence in the Raiders’ ability.
It seems that the Raiders have taken their roles as hunters to heart, so far displaying a sharpness on the field and a like-minded focus on defending their state title. They have remained the top dog in the state despite significant senior losses, prompting one to question whether the program’s success does not depend on any one player or group, but instead on a culture of excellence.
Such a culture, aided by Coach Marcos Monteagudo’s drive to inspire confidence, could mean that the Raiders’ program is in the early stages of becoming a powerhouse for years to come – a prospect that should excite all fans of Scarsdale athletics.