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RYE BROOK — Playing a difficult schedule will usually result in some ups and downs, but Blind Brook has proven that it is often a recipe for success.
The Trojans were coming off of a difficult loss to Class AA opponent Fox Lane on Tuesday, but the two-time defending Class B champs rebounded with a statement 1-0 win over visiting Valhalla on Wednesday.
“Of course we set our bar high, and if you don’t come out and think you’re the best team, you’re not really playing the right game,” senior defender Matan Neuman said. “We obviously think we’re the best team. We’ve played a hard schedule and it showed. We came out today and really showed what we’re made of.”
Blind Brook (7-4-1) entered the game ranked third in the LoHud Class B rankings, with the Vikings (8-3-2) one spot ahead at No. 2. But the Trojans dominated possession and looked like the better team throughout.
“We got outworked – plain and simple,” Valhalla coach Sandro Prosperino said. “Defensively is where our breakdowns were. We just weren’t sorting out the marks. There was a lack of communication back there.”
Leading scorer Joe DiBerardino took seven of Blind Brook’s 10 shots in the first half, including the lone goal in the 15th minute.
“On that one I thought I got pretty lucky, actually,” the senior striker said. “I got a clean look, the defender stuck out his leg and it actually took a bit of a ricochet off of it and it got passed the goalie. I thought I should’ve scored on a few more chances when I was a little more open, but it’s all good.”
DiBerardino hit a post in the 26th minute, which could have extended the Trojans’ lead to two goals, as Valhalla struggled to contain him.
“Both Joe and Brendan (Luke), they do a lot of scoring for them,” Prosperino said. “We knew about them – we knew that if we give them that space, they’ll finish. We didn’t want to go out and man-mark anybody; just know where they are, put a body on them and let’s make them work for their touches.”
After a passionate speech from Prosperino at the half, Valhalla did a better job of limiting Blind Brook’s scoring chances in the second half. But while the Vikings didn’t allow anymore goals – thanks in large part to seven saves from keeper Alex Briganti – they also didn’t manage to get a shot on goal after the break.
“The defense really came together,” DiBerardino said. “(Alexander) Fishman and Neuman had tremendous games. They shut down their top strikers and they took the pressure off the forwards.”
“They played a nice, tight defense,” Prosperino said. “Our forwards had to work very hard for the ball, and their forwards didn’t. That was, to me, the difference in the game.”
The win puts Blind Brook in firm control of the league with a 5-0-1, with Valhalla sitting in second place at 4-2-1.
“Our only losses are to the AA and A schools,” DiBerardino said. “The schedule we are playing is demanding, but it is the direction we wanted to go in because it’s giving us the opportunity to see better competition. Come playoff time, we’re not nervous and the jitters are gone.”
Best of the rest: Ramapo’s Lens Alexis scored all three goals in a 3-2 upset win over visiting Spring Valley, which had previously won 10 straight. … Solomon Schechter’s Charles Hochfelder had a hat trick in the Lions 3-2 win over Woodlands. … Hackley’s Eamon Levin scored the game-winner 26 seconds into the second half in the Hornets 1-0 win over Fieldston. … Drew Simon and Javier Casado each scored in Edgemont’s 2-1 win over visiting Bronxville. … Pat Dentico and Javier Salguerro each scored for North Rockland in a 2-0 win over visiting Suffern. … Adam and Zach Gloskin each had a goal and an assist in Clarkstown South’s 2-1 win over visiting Clarkstown North. … Westlake’s Carmine Cicchillo scored both goals in a 2-1 win over visiting Fox Lane. … Hamilton’s Capy Charles scored all four goals in a 4-1 win at YMA. … Steven Hernandez and Luis Morales each scored twice in Port Chester’s 4-1 win at Harrison. … Irvington’s Jon Goldreich had two assists in a 2-1 win at Sleepy Hollow. … Ignacio Marini and Zach Marcus each had a goal and an assist in Scarsdale’s 3-0 win at Mount Vernon. … Pelham’s Charlie Livingstone had two goals and an assist in a 6-1 win over visiting Scarsdale B. … Tuckahoe’s Esdras Juarez made eight saves in a 4-0 shutout over visiting Roosevelt. … Tappan Zee’s Brandon Healy scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win at Nyack. … Jair Ebratt and Ayoub Hilmi each scored twice in Yonkers’ 5-1 win at Saunders. … Eight players had either a goal or an assist in Pearl River’s 4-0 win over visiting Albertus Magnus.
Video by Vincent Z. Mercogliano/The Journal News