After a week of voting for the Westchester/Putnam player of the year, it’s clear that the Port Chester faithful came out strong for goalkeeper Jose Gonzalez, as the senior finished with 48 percent of the vote. Now, you’ll all have to wait until Sunday when my full all-star package will run for the actual winner, which gives us close to a week to get your opinion on who should be the player of the year across the bridge. I usually do four nominees, but I think there was a pretty clear top three this season, so we’ll stick with them.
Here are the top candidates for Rockland player of the year:
• Anders Fleming, Nyack: The senior midfielder led the Indians on a dramatic turnaround after the team failed to qualify for sectionals last season. His four goals and seven assists don’t tell the whole story of Fleming’s impact, as he was usually asked to defend the opposing team’s top midfielder while also being asked to create offensively. Coach Hal Stone called Fleming, “our most consistent player.” He was named league MVP after Nyack beat Pearl River twice to capture a surprising league title. The Indians went from two wins in 2011 to 11 this season, including a dramatic overtime upset of Beacon in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
• Giovanni Galvano, Pearl River: The reigning Rockland player of the year was the only All-State selection from his league and is regarded as one of the most talented players in Section 1. The senior midfielder was tied for the team lead with 11 goals, while also chipping in seven assists. But more so than his scoring ability, Galvano is well-known for his intangibles. He’s an extremely smart player who reads the field well and is always looking to set up his teammates. Galvano also has a very accurate leg, which made him a major threat on set pieces. He has been the undisputed leader of the Pirates for the past two seasons.
• Steven Hegner, North Rockland: The senior goalkeeper was the best player on the best team in the county. After starting as a junior, he took his game to another level this season to lead the Red Raiders on an incredible run. In 20 games including the postseason, Hegner put up 13 shutouts, which tied the school record for most in a single season. North Rockland relied on him heavily, often being content to sit on 1-0 leads because of the strong play from Hegner and the defense. Of the Red Raiders’ 18 wins, 14 came in one-goal games. With Hegner in goal, they reached the Class AA section final for the first time since 2003.