The Mamaroneck Boys’ Soccer team is ranked first in the state and seventh in the nation. If you hadn’t known that before watching their game on Thursday night, though, it would have been understandable if you didn’t believe it. The Tigers needed double overtime to sneak past 17-seed Clarkstown South, who played Spring Valley the day before just to qualify for the round of 16.
For a while, things seemed to be going according to plan. Alex Alma, the team’s leading goal scorer during the regular season, gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead less than 15 minutes into the game. From there, Mamaroneck firmly out possessed Clarkstown South for the rest of the half, and just before half time appeared to get a second goal. However, Noel Vidal was called for a foul that negated his goal, keeping the Tigers lead at only one goal and the Vikings within striking distance.
With less than five minutes elapsed in the second half, a breakdown on defense for Mamaroneck led to a Clarkstown South goal. All of a sudden, things had taken a turn for the worst, and the Tigers were on the brink of facing an almost inconceivable outcome: a loss that would end their season. For the remaining 35 minutes of the second half, Mamaroneck applied constant pressure, forcing Clarkstown South to keep eight or nine players behind the ball at all times. However, they just couldn’t score.
With a steady rain coming down for most of the match, the turf became slippery, forcing the ball to skip and skid, messing up the players’ timing. For a team like Mamaroneck, who relies so heavily on its skill and technicality, the conditions had an obvious effect.
At the end of regulation, the score remained tied, 1-1, and the teams went to the first of two sudden death overtime periods.
With time winding down in the first overtime, Cole DiCicco had a breakaway opportunity. His first shot was initially saved by the Vikings’ goalie, but snuck under his arm and settled on DiCicco’s foot, setting up the moment that surely appeared would end the game. A Clarkstown South defender, however, saved DiCicco’s second shot, and play went on.
Shortly into the second overtime, Connor Leblanc played a perfect through ball to Cole DiCicco, putting him in behind the Clarkstown South defense. This time, DiCicco made no mistake, finishing off the Vikings and sending the Tigers onto the quarterfinals with a hard, low shot into the bottom right corner of the net. Finally, everyone could breathe a sigh of relief.
“Sorry for the scare, folks,” captain Jack Spiridellis told fans after the game.
Next Up: New Rochelle at home on Monday (10/24) at 6pm in the Section 1 quarterfinals