While Carmel’s record might not lead to a high seed in the Class AA playoffs, you can be sure that the Rams are a team that no one wants to see once sectionals roll around.
“We’re not satisfied by any stretch of the imagination,” coach Mike Gizzo said of Carmel’s 7-6 record. “But we’re proud of how we’ve fought to get there.”
The Rams have taken their lumps while playing in what many would argue is the toughest league in Section 1, but Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win at Somers pushed them back over .500 and provided some momentum going into the final week of the regular season.
Vasiliy Shevelchinsky netted the golden goal in the second overtime period on a feed from Sebastian Lopez, who had assisted on both of Carmel’s goals.
“It was a breakaway,” Gizzo said. “We caught their defense on a quick counter, and their defense had gotten a little bit flat. He got through on the breakaway, beat the goalie and put it away.”
Justin Dorazio scored off of a Lopez corner kick in the first half, but the Tuskers tied the game on a goal from Rodolfo Lepe midway through the second half.
The Rams have only lost once outside of league play, and their difficult schedule makes them a prime candidate to pull off an upset in the postseason, which they did last year in the first round against third-seeded White Plains.
“You look at the AA playoffs, and I always tell the guys, who are we going to have to go through?” Gizzo said. “You have to go through Fishkill, you have to go through Arlington, Mahopac, Ketcham. A lot of the strength is in our league. Knowing that we can play with these teams builds a lot of confidence.”
Making the Rams’ feisty play even more impressive is the fact that they’ve been winning with only two players on the bench.
“We took a small team to begin with,” Gizzo said. “The numbers are down at Carmel, and that’s what I’ve been trying to rebuild. We’ve been traveling with 13 most of the year, and the starting 11 are playing 90 percent of the minutes.”
The emergence Lopez has been vital for Carmel. He leads the team with 11 goals and 10 assists and has been drawing extra attention from opposing defenses.
“This year, he’s been playing more as an attacking mid,” Gizzo said. “Last year, he was playing up top, and he kind of broke out during sectionals. He’s a marked man. He’s got good balance and really good vision on the field. I’m more proud of the assists than the goals, to be honest. He’s just a smart soccer player. Every time he touches the ball, you’re not sure what’s going to happen.”
Best of the rest: David Lachs had a hat trick in Byram Hills’ 3-2 win at Keio, including the game-winner with 55 seconds remaining. The Bobcats scored twice in the final seven minutes after Keio took the lead on a penalty kick with 14 minutes to go. … Mike Bernardi made 12 saves in Mahopac’s 0-0 draw at Arlington. … Nick Kyriakidis scored twice in Pleasantville’s 3-1 against Croton-Harmon. … Valhalla’s Steven Kopicki, Fernando Martinez and Jose Robinson each had a goal and an assist in the Vikings’ 4-0 win against Hamilton. … Cristian Lazaro had a goal and assist in Peekskill’s 2-1 win at Hen Hud. … Lakeland’s Johnny Denis had a hat trick in the Hornets’ 4-2 win at Beacon. … Carmine Cicchillo scored twice in Westlake’s 4-1 win against Sleepy Hollow. … Myko Pierre had a goal and assist in Ramapo’s 3-0 win against Clarkstown South. … Steven Hernandez scored the lone goal in Port Chester’s 1-0 win over visiting Greeley. … Jake Keller scored in Ketcham’s 1-0 win at John Jay. … Rye Neck’s Angelo Spedafino and Rye’s Johnny Emanuel each made seven saves in a 0-0 tie. … Kayode Tyler scored in Nyack’s 1-0 win at Albertus Magnus. … Haldane and Putnam Valley tied 2-2. … Briarcliff beat Harrison 4-0.
NOTE: Since I’ll be busy all day on Monday at the Westchester vs. Rockland Challenge, I’m going to post my new rankings on Sunday. Check back tomorrow for those!