CHAPPAQUA – None of the returning players for Horace Greeley forgot what Blind Brook did to them on their home field last season, but they also knew that this would be a much different Trojans’ team that they’d be facing on Friday.
“We know from last year that their keeper (The Journal News Westchester/Putnam player of the year Ben Seguljic) was extremely talented,” defender Greg Ginsberg said. “We knew that with a new keeper this year, we could get some passed him. We kept pushing, and we knew that this keeper wouldn’t hold onto everything. We were following up our shots and putting them in.”
Seguljic had shut the Quakers out while Blind Brook was on its way to its second consecutive Class B section title last year, but Greeley had its way this time around with a convincing 4-1 win.
The Quakers struck quickly with goals in the opening 20 minutes from Adam Siff and Michael Adler to take a 2-0 lead, as they applied consistent pressure on the Trojans’ defense.
“The first 20 minutes was awesome, but then we got to two goals, and they thought that was it,” Greeley coach Bobby Herodes said. “The reality is that a two-goal lead in soccer is the worst to have. It’s the worst, because once the enemy gets a score, not only is it 2-1, but they have the momentum to get the equalizer, and then you get demoralized.”
While the Quakers started to get a bit lethargic towards the end of the half, Raymond Snisky made them pay with a goal just before the half to get Blind Brook on the board.
But in the 47th minute, Siff struck again to extend the lead to 3-1.
“That was a key moment,” Siff said. “It was a turning point. They scored right before the half, and we had to come right out and gain back momentum.”
Willie Yormak added an insurance goal in the 77th minute, as Greeley improved to 2-2 in its first season under Herodes.
“It’s a little bit different,” Siff said. “Coach Herodes is definitely putting us into a new system. It’s a lot more organized, and I think that it’s working out.”
• The Quakers didn’t have one standout offensively – although Siff seemed to put himself in good position often – which made them difficult to defend. They were very aggressive and came out flying, which led to the early goals. They were also quite effective on set pieces. “Our strategy the whole year has been just pushing our team up and keeping teams on their feet so that we can get those early goals,” Ginsberg said.
• Defensively, Greeley’s focus was Blind Brook’s top striker, Joe DiBerardino – although Herodes’ made it clear that he isn’t into marking anyone. “This team had some dangerous players. (DiBerardino) had three or four legit chances to score, and if he does, it’s a whole different game,” he said. “We never take a player out, meaning we never put a player on a player. That’s something that I’ve never done in my career in coaching, but I told the boys, ‘You need to be mindful of when he’s in your territory. He’s your boy. You have to be in his shirt, or else he’s going to carve you up like a chicken.’ ”
• The win was especially important for the Quakers because they were coming off of two straight losses, with the most recent being an OT loss against Mahopac. They are in the midst of a stretch of seven games in 13 days. “This game was just beyond important for the boys,” Herodes said. “When you go out and dominant a Mahopac team that is very strong, tough, hard team with a keeper (Mike Bernardi) that is just (great)… When you have a game like that where you pound a team and you come up on the short end of the stick, it’s the most painful in the world. It’s the greatest way to win, a golden goal, and it’s the most painful way to lose in the realm of soccer.
• Herodes is a very strong soccer mind, and he seems to have high hopes for the program. And while he says that his team has a long way to go “technically,” he appreciates the effort that he’s getting out of them. “We’ve got a bunch of kids who literally come and leave everything on the field,” he said. “They fight right until the end, no matter what the score is.”
Best of the rest: Brewster’s Martin Saljanin scored his first varsity goal in a 1-0 win at home over John Jay. … Harrison’s Rafael Urunaga and Leonidas Velasquez each scored in a 2-1 win at Pleasantville. … Hackley’s Zach Morant scored two goals in a 4-0 win at home over Collegiate. … Port Chester’s Steven Hernandez and Luis Morales each had a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win at home over Rye. … Byram Hills’ David Lachs had two goals and an assist in a 4-0 win at home over Fox Lane. … Haldane’s Jay Marchese scored twice in a 5-0 win at Poughkeepsie. … Briarcliff beat Croton-Harmon 4-0. … Hastings beat Scarsdale B 2-1.