SUFFERN —After starting the season 0-6, it was a long shot for Ramapo to even qualify for the Class AA playoffs.
The Gryphons struggled mightily in the early portion of the season, but with Thursday’s 2-1 outbracket win at No. 16 Suffern, they have now won seven of their last nine games and will move on to play at top-seeded Arlington in the first round on Friday at 3 p.m.
“We’ve been playing much more intense than we did in the beginning of the season,” midfielder Kevin Mesones said. “We’ve been playing balls to feet and through balls much better than we did before. And of course, with Lens (Alexis), we have him up top and he’s very fast; and very good. He’s the one who’s been scoring most of our goals.”
Alexis has been on a tear for No. 17 Ramapo in the past few weeks, and he netted both goals for the Gryphons in the second half to erase a 1-0 deficit.
His first goal came in the 45th minute on a feed from Mesones, and then Alexis scored the game-winner in the 69th minute on a pretty move that split the defense and left him one-on-one with the goalie.
“We started to wake up and play hard. And score,” Alexis said. “That was our main problem.”
Richard Santacruz scored in the 20th minute after Liam Powers’ header went off the crossbar, sending the Mounties in halftime with a 1-0 lead.
“We were very disorganized,” Mesones said. “I tried to kick it out, but it skimmed my foot and went to (Santacruz). He just hit it in.”
After losing twice by one goal to league foe Ramapo during the regular season, Suffern was well aware of Alexis and did a good job of limiting his touches in the first half.
But in the second half, it didn’t take long for Alexis to make his presence felt.
“Every time I had the ball, I had like four or five defenders step in front of me,” Alexis said. “I can’t get lazy.”
“We’ve played against them three times, so we know how they play,” Mesones said. “We know to guard the middle and all of the other stuff. They’re a very good team, and it’s hard.”
Next up, the Gryphons will play the defending Class AA state champs in a rematch of last year’s first round game.
“Last year, we played them and they beat us 5-0,” Alexis said. “Tomorrow, it’s another story.”
Eastchester 3, Gorton 2: In a Class A outbracket game at Tuckahoe High, Austin Capasso had a goal and an assist. Ricardo Abreu made 15 saves for No. 24 Gorton. The ninth-seeded Eagles trailed 1-0 at the half. They will play at No. 8 Nyack in a first round game on Friday at 6 p.m.
Sleepy Hollow 2, Harrison 0: In a Class A outbracket game at No. 11 Sleepy Hollow, Demetri Boumis scored twice in the win over the 22nd-seeded Huskies. The Headless Horsemen will play at No. 6 Tappan Zee in the first round on Friday at 1 p.m.
Hen Hud 2, Peekskill 1, 2 OT: In a Class A outbracket game at No. 14 Peekskill, Aidan Datene scored the golden goal in the 98th minute. Miguel Perez’s goal tied the game at 1-1 for No. 19 Hen Hud. The Sailors will play at No. 3 Pearl River in the first round on Friday at 3 p.m.
Brewster 3, Ardsley 0: In a Class A outbracket game at No. 10 Brewster, Cameron Diebold, Christian Rivadeneira and Martin Saljanin each scored in the win over No. 23 Ardsley. The Bears will play at No. 7 Keio in the first round on Friday at 3 p.m.
John Jay 1, Yonkers 0, OT: In a Class A outbracket game at Fleming Field, Eilon Silver-Frankel scored the golden goal 43 seconds into overtime on an assist from Brendan Ferrara. No. 18 John Jay will play at No. 2 Lakeland in the first round on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Somers 1, Rye 1: In a Class A outbracket game at No. 16 Rye, No. 17 Somers advanced 4-1 on penalty kicks. Each of the Tuskers’ four shooters netted their penalty kicks, while goalie Ryan Nealon made a stop on Rye’s second attempt. Ian Warren scored for Somers in the 70th minute. The Tuskers will play at No. 1 Byram Hills in the first round on Friday at 3 p.m.
No. 12 Riverside 5, No. 21 Saunders 2
No. 13 Lourdes 3, No. 20 Beacon 0