Yesterday afternoon, under a veil of mist that covered Fitch Field, the boys’ soccer team won a hard-fought match-up against Staten Island Academy to move to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in divisional play. It was a rematch of the 2020 PSAA Championship which the Bears dropped to the Tigers in a 1-0 heartbreaker. Yesterday’s 3-1 victory was cathartic for that reason alone, but the performance also saw the Bears excel in areas that proved deficient in last year’s title game, namely lacking possession in the midfield, being second to the ball, and shying away from the Tigers’ physicality. The Bears shone in each of those areas yesterday to earn an emotional win and take a big step toward a third consecutive regular season championship.
The Bears struck first in the battle of unbeaten teams when Dennis Yilmaz played a ball wide to Erick Beausoleil who took a dribble into the box before sending a cross from the right wing to James Fay, who tucked it past the keeper for a goal just 77 seconds into the match. 10 minutes later, Tiger Winston sent a ball from the midfield out to the left wing where James Fay did the rest by absorbing contact from the defender, tracking down the ball, and dribbling past a second defender before sending a blast off of the right post and in for a 2-0 lead. The Bear attacks would not abate for the remainder of the half as the Blue & White dominated possession in the middle of the field and used deft passing to mount constant charges, but they would have to be content with the 2-0 margin at the half.
The script remained largely unchanged in the second half as the Bears won seemingly every ball in the air and constantly spirited possession away in the midfield, but the Tigers put the pressure on when their speedy forward finally broke loose for a goal at the 28:30 mark. Despite the pressure of seeing their lead cut in half, the Bears went right back to building their attack behind possession and heady passing. Numerous times the Brook was close to putting the game away, but the Tigers found just enough to keep the ball out of the net, until Winston sealed the game with 1:29 left on a penalty kick won on a foul in the box. In the interim, a strong defensive backfield of Stephen Cisz, Enoch Guo, Joe Spreckels, and Winston ensured Staten Island never had a meaningful look at an equalizer. Lem Kutame was decisive and sure-handed in goal despite the wet conditions.
The Bears are back in action on Wednesday as they travel to Long Island Lutheran.