Yesterday afternoon summer gave us a balmy goodbye as 75-degree temperatures settled over Fitch Field, but it was the boys’ soccer team that proved to be the hottest thing on the pitch in the PSAA semifinals. In a match-up vs. West #2 Staten Island Academy, the Bears had a chance to avenge their loss in the 2020 title game and didn’t waste the opportunity in a resounding 8-2 win that put them back in the championship match for the fourth time in five years.
The Bears struck first when Stephen Cisz fired his surface-to-air missile of a throw-in over the keeper where Erick Beausoleil headed it home off a bounce, giving Cisz the 11th throw-in assist of his career. It was initially ruled a goal, but the opposite linesman overturned the call and awarded Staten Island a goal kick. Vehement entreaties from the Stony Brook side and a second conversation by the officials changed the call back, which led to a rebuttal from the Tigers, but the call stood, and the Bears grabbed a lead at the 34:12 mark.
Staten Island had a chance to equalize 10 minutes later but found only iron. The visitors knocked on the door once again at 16:50, but a goal-line stop from the Bear defense kept them in the lead. Despite missing on several close opportunities, the Tigers maintained their pressure, leading to an inadvertent handball in the box and a penalty kick attempt. Staten Island had a golden opportunity to equalize the match with only 3:16 left before halftime, but first-year goalie Jason Kim dove to his right to stone the attempt and again keep the Bears in the lead. The Bears took their 1-0 margin into the half.
In the opening minute of the second half, Staten Island nearly equalized on a free kick, but Kim once again stymied the attempt with a finger-tip save that pushed the ball harmlessly over the crossbar. Enoch Guo finally gave the Bears some breathing room with a laser inside the near post from the right edge of the box that doubled the Bears’ lead at 35:20. The Tigers were far from deflated by the second tally when, following yet another brilliant save from Kim, they halved their deficit on a corner kick that soared into the side netting five minutes later. 12 tense minutes followed until the Bears, who had been hammering at the Tiger defense all day, finally brought down the wall.
At the 17:52 mark, Jayson Amin crossed the ball to Jadon Sung for a 3-1 lead. 49 seconds later, off of a quick restart on a free kick, James Fay tallied a score that seemed to finally rob the Tigers of their fight as they faced a three-goal climb. From there the rout was on as John Fay scored at 15:41, Ade Adedeji scored a breakaway at 8:36, Lani Ajeigbe notched a goal at 1:09, and Adedeji capped the victory with a final score with 10 seconds remaining. Assists came from John Bui (3), John Fay, and Ajeigbe.
The win sets up a championship rematch with Portledge, who the Bears fell to a year ago in a 2-1 sudden death loss. They face off with the second-seeded Panthers on Thursday at Cantiague Park.