Now that we’ve had the Westchester/Putnam player of the year poll up for about a week, I want to know what your thoughts are on the Rockland POY award. The turnout for the first poll was incredible, with 3,191 total yards being cast. Pelham’s Charlie Livingstone was your choice in Westchester/Putnam with 57.69 percent of the vote, so I’m going to have some things to consider as I try to make my decision.
Here are my four finalists for the Rockland player of the year award (which is going to be a very difficult decision, as well). Vote using the poll below, or the one on the right-hand side of your screen:
• Chris Aherne, North Rockland – The senior was probably the top defender in the county, leading a unit that allowed just 12 goals in the regular season and pitched seven shutouts. A big, tall stopper who moves well and excels at winning 50/50 balls in the air, Aherne was one of only a few returning starters for the Red Raiders that helped them win 10 games this season, clinching another league title. Not only was he crucial to North Rockland’s defensive success, but Aherne also led the team in goals with eight goals and five assists. He was a dangerous option on set pieces due to his size, and was also responsible for taking all of the Red Raiders’ penalty kicks. A complete player.
• Chris Coughlan, Pearl River – After playing defense throughout his career, the senior moved into the midfield to help fill a position of need for the Pirates and excelled. He still played mostly defensive mid, where he was often asked to mark the opposing team’s top player in the midfield and helped the team allow just nine goals in the regular season. While continuing to display his defensive instincts and skills, Coughlan also managed to lead Pearl River in goals with 12. But most importantly, he led a young Pirates team that some thought would be in rebuilding mode this year on a surprising run to the Class A final.
• Karlyl Simon, Spring Valley – On a team loaded with offensive talent, Simon stood out as the glue that held it all together. He led the team in assists with 19 while also chipping in 10 goals, sparking the most explosive attack in the county. Using his size and quickness, Simon often dominated the midfield and played with the type of all-out hustle that led Spring Valley to its best regular season in recent memory. The Tigers won 13 games and often seemed to put up goals at will.
• Juan Umana, Tappan Zee – The biggest reason for the Dutchmen’s dramatic turnaround this season had to be the senior goalkeeper. After failing to even qualify for the playoffs last season, TZ won 12 games this year and reached the Class A quarterfinals. Despite not being the prototypical goalkeeper in terms of size and stature, Umana made up for it with quickness and instincts. He had a goals against average of 0.82, including nine shutouts – or, a shutout in half of the Dutchmen’s games. He allowed just two goals in six league games, which resulted in two ties with eventual Class A finalist Pearl River and a share of the league championship – TZ’s first league title since 1999.
Photo by Tania Savayan / The Journal News