BRONXVILLE – The last time that Edgemont beat Bronxville, most of the Panthers’ current players weren’t even in high school yet.
“I think I was watching in the bleachers,” senior fullback Phi Peinado said. “We’ve had some tough losses, but I think that it’s all about being able to shake that off.”
It had been so long that coach Mike Cozza had to go back into the school records to find out that the last win against the Broncos came in 2010, but after Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Bronxville, Edgemont has officially restarted the clock.
“Every game that we’ve played against them, it’s been a one or two goal game,” senior striker Tom Young said. “These games are always a grind and tell you a lot about who you are as a team. Our team has tried to over the years develop a passing style, but it seems that these games always come down to the 50-50 balls, the headers and being tough when the ball comes in the box. I think this shows that our team has the ability passing, but we can grind out a victory if it comes down to that.”
The first half was pretty evenly played, with each team creating quality opportunities.
Bronxville keeper Jack Connors made a diving stop on a point blank opportunity from Simeon Balev in the third minute, and then Edgemont keeper Josh Newman did the same to Henry Carmel on a one-time attempt in the 10th.
In the 16th minute, Balev found Javier Casado wide open in front of the Broncos’ goal, but the shot sailed high.
“The ball was coming across his body in the box and he put it over the goal, so that was definitely one that we should have had,” Young said. “But you can’t get them all, and they missed their share of chances, as well. We were fortunate on that side, too.”
Bad fortune struck for Bronxville in the 18th minute when Connors collided with an incoming Edgemont player and was forced to leave the game with an arm injury.
“He went to the doctor,” Bronxville coach Donny Lucas said of his five-year varsity keeper. “It’s something with his elbow, but that’s part of life – you get injuries. I thought Joe Pepe came in and did a great job. He made a couple great saves as a sophomore, under these circumstances, playing Edgemont. Hopefully, we don’t lose Jack, but if we do, we’re losing a very good keeper. But we have Joe, who is also a very good keeper. I think he proved himself here today.”
While Pepe played well and made six saves in Connors’ absence, he was victimized in the second half.
The Panthers (4-2) had a few near misses in the first half – including two free kicks from Young that were saved – but he benefited from switching sides in the second half and came through with the lone goal in the 52nd minute on a free kick from about 20 yards out.
“On the first two free kicks that I had in the first half, the wall was set up on the right side of the goal. As a righty, that’s a harder ball to place, because you almost have to aim outside of the frame of the goal, and then curve it back in,” Young said. “The free kick I had in the second half, the ball was placed on the left, so it’s easier for me to aim. I almost aim starting in the center and it curves.”
Newman finished with nine saves and held on for the shutout, but Sam Aherne nearly equalized it in the 77th minute on a shot that hit the post.
“Sam is a great player,” Peinado said. “We’ve seen him score just like that at our homecoming last year for Bronxville to win it. I was definitely nervous. I definitely knew that he has the skill to put that in – he’s that quality of a player – but sometimes the ball shifts your way. And it did to help us get the win.”
• It would have been interesting if the Panthers had remained in Class B this season, because I really believe that they would have been right there in the section title mix. They just beat the highest ranked Class B team from Section 1 in the state, and they return eight starters from last season. Most of them played from the midfield up, so Cozza had to do some reshuffling to solidify the defense. “Our two fullbacks, myself and Jason Miller, we’re new to the position. I was a midfielder and he was a striker. Just to finally see those adjustments coming together is fantastic,” Peinado said. “We pretty much got together and made the decision that we obviously need our best 11 players on the field, and if sacrifices have to be made and adjustments have to be made, I think everyone is willing to make them. We tried a few different players in the back, and I think we’ve found four players now that can hold it down back there. It’s been a process, definitely, since over the summer until now. But I think it’s finally starting to come together.”
• One of the reasons that Edgemont has been able to quickly break in new players in the back is the presence of Newman in goal. He always seemed to be in the right place today and made some key stops. “Josh, it seems like he’s always in form,” Peinado said. “He’s a great keeper, he’s vocal, he’s always telling us how we can better our positioning, and letting us know if there are men behind us. He’s always helping us adjust, and it seems like he’s always coming up with big saves.”
• Lucas sounded very impressed with what he saw from the Panthers. “Edgemont is a good team,” he said. “They have a very good goalkeeper, and a finisher in Tom, who likes to play make. They came in here today and really just gave us a good, old fashion whooping, from one end of the field to the other.”
• The loss was the first of the season for Bronxville, which is now 6-1-1. Edgemont improves to 4-2, with its only two losses coming against Class AA schools Scarsdale and New Rochelle. The Broncos were coming off of a huge win over Pelham on Monday, but this win puts the Panthers in good shape to make some noise in this league. “The schedule is what it is,” Lucas said. “Playing three tough games (in a row), maybe we were still celebrating the Pelham win. It’s almost like sectionals; you play one day, you’re off the next day, and then you play again. It’s a good test for us to see how we rebound. We’ve got to go down the road to play a rivalry game with Eastchester on Friday, which is going to be another war.”
Best of the rest: Spring Valley’s Karlyl Simon had three goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over Suffern at home. … Hastings’ Jack Berritt scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win at home over Nanuet. … Hackley’s Levi Morant had two goals and an assist in a 3-1 win at Horace Mann. … Brandon Healy scored the golden goal for Tappan Zee in the second overtime in a 1-0 win at home over Valley Central. … Irvington goalie Brendan Molloy made nine saves in a 2-0 shutout win at home over Sleepy Hollow. … Pearl River’s Manual Arango scored twice in a 5-0 win at Albertus Magnus. … Valhalla’s Steven Kopicki had two goals and an assist in a 4-0 win at home over Tuckahoe. … Chris Chouljian and Cole Spagnoli each scored in Clarkstown North’s 2-0 win at Ramapo. … Dobbs Ferry beat Ardsley 1-0. … White Plains beat New Rochelle 3-0. … Saunders beat Lincoln 5-2.