CLASS C FINAL
No. 1 Solomon Schechter (12-2) vs. No. 3 Hamilton (9-7-1)
When: 1:30 p.m. on Sunday
Where: Arlington HS
Previous meeting(s) in 2014: Schechter swept; won 2-0 at Hamilton on Sept. 10 and 3-2 at home on Sept. 22
Key forwards: SS – Noam Goldberg and Daniel Kohen (pictured above). AH – Alpotchino Andre and Sebastian Huidobro.
Forces in the midfield: SS – Charles Hochfelder, Ari Leffell and Jonathan Rand. AH – Capy Charles, Alex Guallpa and Franklin Morocho.
Defensive stalwarts: SS – Noah Goldberg. AH – Marvin Diaz.
Goalkeepers: SS – Ben Burton. AH – Jose Espinoza.
Coach speak: “Our team knows the recipe for success. If we can bring that to the game Sunday, we will certainly be a tough team to break down. Matching our heart and work ethic is never easy and certainly has carried our team over the years. Hamilton has a solid team this year and we look forward to what should be an exciting game.” – Schechter coach Bryan Lamana
Outlook: Despite there only being four Class C teams in Section 1, the class has been very competitive in recent years. We’ve had a different champion in each of the last three seasons, with Hamilton winning in 2011, Schechter in ’12 and Haldane in ’13. The parity has continued in 2014, with Hamilton upsetting the defending champion Blue Devils in the semis. That sets up a slightly unexpected final with a Schechter team that has been consistent all year, but will have gone nearly two weeks without playing a game by the time that Sunday rolls around. It will be interesting to see how that layoff affects the Lions. I’m sure it’s helped them heal up some nagging injuries, but will they be able to maintain their sharpness? After losing its opener, Schechter won 12 of its next 13, and has outscored opponents 53-10. Senior Ari Leffell has been their best player for the past three years, and he’s their playmaker in the middle of the field with a team-leading 13 goals and 16 assists. But four other players have at least five goals or assists, which tells you that the Lions will spread it out. The defense has also been solid with veteran keeper Ben Burton pitching nine shutouts this season. Hamilton has a relatively young team, led by breakout scorer Capy Charles, who leads the team with 12 goals. Senior keeper Jose Espinoza has provided leadership in the back. As evident by their upset win over Haldane, the Red Raiders have been showing improvement as the season has progressed, but they did lose both regular season meetings with Schechter, who is a league opponent. Each team knows what the other has, and with the Lions fielding several key players from their previous championship squad in 2012, I think they find a way to beat Hamilton for the third time this year.
Prediction: Solomon Schechter 1, Hamilton 0
Photo by Ricky Flores/The Journal News