Over the course of the next two days leading up to the section finals at Arlington HS, we’ll preview all four upcoming title games. We’ll begin with the first championship game that will be played — a Class AA matchup between powerhouses Mamaroneck and John Jay-East Fishkill.
CLASS AA FINAL
No. 3 Mamaroneck (13-2-4) vs. No. 5 John Jay-East Fishkill (14-4-1)
When: 2 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Arlington HS
Previous meeting(s) in 2014: None
Key forwards: Mamo – Juan Giraldo and Alejandro Lopez. JJEF – Kevin Turi and Ryan Metz.
Forces in the midfield: Mamo – Yeison Banegas, Tomas Illanes and Jonhy Maldonado. JJEF – Nikolas Angyal, Nick Dillman and Nick Liccardi.
Defensive stalwarts: Mamo – Nelson Barrios, Jack Green and J.D. Wilson. JJEF – Tom Dillman, Dan Figarella and Rob Williamson.
Goalkeepers: Mamo – Thomas Orgielewicz (pictured above). JJEF – Tyler Lavigne.
Coach speak: “The key to the game for us is to play our style with confidence. We need to play together as a team, both attacking and defending. We have been playing together and improving all season long. This is what we have been working for. Now we need to go after it.” — Mamaroneck coach Rich Becker
Outlook: After all was said and done, we ended up with two teams that most thought had a good chance to be here when the tournament began. As a two-time defending champ and the only one-loss team in AA, Arlington entered the playoffs as the slight favorite, but JJEF and Mamaroneck were probably next in line. At the end of the regular season, I had them ranked 2-3, and I think each represents one of the two toughest and deepest leagues in Section 1. It has all of the makings of a great final. Both teams are solid from front to back, and neither is over-reliant on one or two players. The guys who will create the most offensively for the Tigers are Giraldo and Banegas, particularly in the center of the field. But Mamaroneck also has speed on the wings and defenders that can push up and contribute. Much of the same can be said for the Patriots. Figarella and Williamson are each defenders who scored in JJEF’s semifinal win over Fox Lane, and then they have dangerous weapons from the midfield up, with Metz and Liccardi playing especially well of late. The X-factor could be Orgielewicz, who has been one of the hottest goalies in the postseason. The Tigers’ keeper has yet to allow a goal in three playoff games, including shutting out an explosive Port Chester team for 110 minutes in the semis on Wednesday. Mamaroneck felt that it was the best team in the section last year when it went 16-0, and I think its upset loss in the semis served as both a humbling experience and a source of motivation. This is really a toss-up because these teams are so close talent-wise, but my gut tells me that the Tigers will capture their first section championship since 1971.
Prediction: Mamaroneck 2, John Jay-EF 1
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News