Scarsdale Boys’ Soccer Secures Semifinal Date With Arlington

soccernorthrocklandThird-seed Scarsdale punched their ticket to the semifinals in front of a large crowd following a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over sixth-seed North Rockland.After an excellent 11-2-2 regular season for the Scarsdale Boys’ Varsity A Soccer Team, which included securing a League I – B title thanks to a Senior-Day victory over Mamaroneck, the Raiders had to forget about the thrill of the victory over the Tigers to turn their focus to the playoffs. The first-round clash against 14th seed Ketcham on October 21st (Scarsdale the third seed) appeared to be an easy game for Scarsdale at face value. Nonetheless, the Raiders needed to take care of business, and they did so with an impressive, albeit expected, 4-1 victory.

In the quarterfinals, the Raiders came up against a more daunting opponent: sixth-seeded North Rockland. This was guaranteed to be the Raider’s final home game of the season because their first playoff opponent would be Arlington, a higher seed, with the home field advantage.

For the final game against North Rockland, the 12th man provided by the crowd helped give Scarsdale an extra edge throughout the tightly-contested affair.

In the first half both teams had a similar number of chances, with neither side really gaining an upper hand for a prolonged period. Goalkeeper Rowan Haffner did well to prevent a one-on-one breakaway for North Rockland from turning into a visitors’ lead, as Scarsdale’s co-captain rushed to the feet of the attacker to cut off an angle for a more dangerous shot.

A brutally honest halftime team talk was given, with coach Marcos Monteagudo and team seniors emphasizing the adjustments that needed to be made to give the Raiders the extra edge.

The second half took on a completely different complexion. Despite strong opposition, Scarsdale’s attack became freer flowing. The deadlock was broken thanks to a brilliant play by freshman Lorenzo Galeano. Senior Eli Gelblum played the ball to Galeano, who picked it up about 30 yards away from the net on the left-wing. His first touch directed him towards the box, giving him a one-on-one with one of the opponent’s center-backs, who subsequently fell over thanks to the Scarsdale winger’s fancy footwork. Galeano danced around the fallen player, cut the ball onto his right foot to evade two onrushing defenders, chopped the ball forward to get out of the reach of the back-on-his-feet center-back, and fired the ball into the bottom corner of the net, just beyond the goalkeeper’s outstretched right arm.

Galeano was once more involved when the Raiders doubled their lead. From a set-piece routine, Lorenzo assisted his brother Nico with a delicate ball over the top of the opposition’s high defensive line. Scarsdale’s third goal saw freshman Leo Khang whip in a pinpoint corner for an unmarked Gelblum, who still had a lot of work to do to remarkably tuck his volley into the top-left corner of the net. There was a slight bit of controversy late on as a North Rockland player was shown a red card for spitting at Scarsdale co-captain Kian Batliwalla.

The 3-0 final score in favor of the hosts was no less than what they deserved. The Raiders officially completed the season undefeated on their home fields (Quaker Ridge and Butler Field).

The Raiders are scheduled to kick off their semifinal clash at Arlington at 2 pm on October 27th. One of Scarsdale’s two losses this season came in their regular-season match at Arlington, with the team from Dutchess County emerging as 2-1 victors in that clash. The Raiders will be hoping to get their revenge to punch a ticket to the section finals on October 30th against the winner of the match between John Jay East Fishkill (first seed) and Mamaroneck (fifth seed). Regardless of what happens, this year’s Scarsdale Boys’ Varsity A Soccer Team has been the best team it has been in recent memory, so there is already so much to be proud of. Nonetheless, the players know its a win-or-go-home scenario and they will do everything they can to avoid tasting defeat with this team ever again.