Bears Outlast Portledge for 2nd Straight Undefeated Season

Last week, the boys’ soccer team traveled to Locust Valley where they battled Portledge to a 1-1 tie. Despite not coming back with the win, the Bears still clinched at least a share of their third straight league crown. The draw set up a potential titanic clash on Fitch Field for Wednesday afternoon for the #1 seed in next week’s PSAA Tournament, but Staten Island Academy jumbled those plans with a 1-0 victory over the Panthers on Saturday. There was still plenty for the Bears to play for on Wednesday, even after clinching the top seed and outright league title. A second straight undefeated season was on the line as well as an eight-match home winning streak in the league dating back over two years. The Bears also came into the match with a 5-0-1 all-time unbeaten record vs. Portledge (by a combined score of 20-2) and did not intend to change the script.

The early minutes of the match were fairly even with the Bears maintaining an upper hand in meaningful scoring chances. The home team broke through at the 26:04 mark when James Fay sent a lefty cross into the box to Kevin Kiprotich Kirui who cut the ball back from his defender before burying a righty skip shot past the keeper. The Panthers were able to equalize less than five minutes later when a speedy forward got free on the left wing and sent in a cross that was put home, but the Bears had one more strike in them before the half. Stephen Cisz sent a big throw into the box where Kiprotich Kirui and the Portledge keeper collided on a 50-50 ball. The ball fortuitously bounced to Lee Maeba who looped a high-arcing shot over a Portledge defender who ably tried to fill the void left by the keeper. The final 8:26 of the half ticked by uneventfully and the Brook took a 2-1 edge into the break.

Less than six minutes into the second half, the Bears built a two-goal cushion when John Fay sent a corner kick to the back post. Dennis Yilmaz volleyed the ball back to the middle where Joe Spreckels put it home for a 3-1 lead. Portledge refused to go away as they halved their deficit at the 18:42 mark with a header off of a throw in, but the anxious Stony Brook crowd let out a cathartic cheer with 7:00 remaining, but not before the Fay brothers tested the ligament strength in several pairs of ankles. John began by taking space on the left wing, then making a defender dance before dishing the ball to James who took a step back off the ball and baited his defender into thinking he was playing a long pass into the box. When the Panther jumped, James tucked the ball past him and crossed it to Yilmaz who buried the Bears’ fourth goal and Portledge’s hopes in the same strike.

The Bears move on to the PSAA semifinals for a fourth straight year where they will host Long Island Lutheran on Monday.

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