In the first poll in a series of four that I will post in the coming weeks to help me decide on some of the postseason awards that we’ll hand out at The Journal News, I want to know who you think deserves to be the Westchester/Putnam player of the year?
After discussing the topic with many coaches and putting a lot of thought into it, I’ve come up with four finalists for the honor. This award is based on regular season and postseason performance, and as you can see, every player that I’ve listed led his team at least to the semifinals in their respective class. I’ll post my four finalists for the Rockland player of the year award sometime in the next week, and I’ll also be posting polls for the coaches of the year on each side of the river. To vote, use the poll that you’ll see on the right hand side of the page (or at the bottom of this post).
I’ll be attending the All-Section dinner tonight at Colonial Terrace in Cortlandt Manor, where they will announce the Large School and Small School players of the year, as well as the Section 1 coach of the year. I’ll post those award winners with the full All-Section list tomorrow. For now, go get your vote on!
• David Lachs, Byram Hills – The senior forward came on strong at the end of the season, recording hat tricks in each of the Bobcats’ first two playoff games to give himself a total of 24 goals on the season. He adapted to playing forward, taking over for last year’s Section 1 large school player of the year Jon Berry after playing midfield earlier in his career. Lachs had big shoes to fill and didn’t miss a beat, propelling Byram to a 16-2-1 record and the top seed in Class A. He also added 11 assists, giving him a “double-double” for the season.
• Charlie Livingstone, Pelham – The senior midfielder might not have even been considered the most likely POY candidate on his own team in the preseason, but he was the biggest reason why the Pelicans were able to capture their first section title in 19 years. While Pelham was dealing with mounting injuries during the regular season, Livingstone was a constant. He kept the ship afloat during some tough times, leading the team with 15 goals and nine assists. He could dominate the middle of the field from his attacking midfield position, and even showed that he could step up and play forward in spurts to create offense. Livingstone scored the winning goal in the Class A semis to knock off top-seeded Byram, and assisted on every other goal that Pelicans scored in each game from the quarterfinals on.
• Ben Ovetsky, Irvington – The Binghamton-bound senior has been the most consistent scoring force among small school teams for the past few seasons, scoring 23 goals this season to give himself a total of 81 in his career. A strong candidate to be named the Small School player of the year at tonight’s All-Section dinner, Ovetsky led the Bulldogs to new heights this season, as they finished the regular season with only one loss and reached the Class B semis. He also added eight assists while dealing with constant double-teams and man-marking situations.
• Nick Tunic, Mamaroneck – The proof of the Central Connecticut State-bound senior’s impact is the pudding. When he played academy soccer as a junior, the Tigers were a solid Class AA team, but certainly not a contender for a title. Enter Tunic for the 2013 season, and Mamaroneck took off as a team. He fit in perfectly up top, leading the team with 24 goals while chipping in seven assists to drive the Tigers to a 16-0 regular season. Tunic recorded a hat trick in the first round before injuring his ankle in the quarterfinals, which hobbled him in a semifinal loss to Horace Greeley. Had he been healthy, maybe Mamaroneck could have gone even further, but there’s no denying the impact that Tunic made.