By Colin Capece ’18
Skepticism as to how the Chaminade varsity soccer team would replace last year’s talented senior class was certainly abundant at the beginning of the 2017 season. However, this year’s hungry and determined Flyers squad didn’t skip a beat and proved their doubters wrong as they marched to a first-place regular season finish. On a cool night at Mitchell Field, the heavily favored Crimson and Gold defeated fourth seeded Holy Trinity Titans 5-1 in the N.S.C.H.S.A.A. semifinals, moving the team one step closer to their ultimate goal of capturing an unprecedented third consecutive New York State title.
The Flyers got off to a slow start, but put on an offensive clinic as the game progressed. The attack was led by senior captain Brendan Franko, who netted two goals, and junior Ben Szemerenyi, who dished out three assists and added a goal of his own. Kevin Lynch ’18 and Brendan Slattery ’19 also scored for Chaminade. Szemerenyi said, “We came out a little flat in the first half, but we made some adjustments at half-time that allowed us to finish the game much stronger.”
On Saturday night at Adelphi, Chaminade will once again clash with arch nemesis St. Anthony’s in the league final. The Friars, as they always do, played physical games against the Flyers in two regular season matchups. The teams are quite evenly matched and tied both times they met, playing to a scoreless draw on Ott Field and a 1-1 draw in South Huntington. The Flyers led on the road with less than 10 minutes remaining before a defensive lapse allowed St. Anthony’s captain Matt Barresi to score on a free kick from the midfield stripe. “If we are going to come out on top, we have got to keep our focus and concentrate on defense,” said Szemerenyi. The striker also mentioned that the Flyers need to capitalize on any scoring opportunity they get against a stingy Friars defense, which shutout Kellenberg Memorial in the other semifinal game.
The Flyers have a New York State title in their sights, but are taking the remainder of their season one game at a time. They now have the opportunity they have been craving all season to show that this young squad is capable of greatness. It’s difficult to say how they will handle the bright lights of a championship game, but this team is playing its best soccer at the right time of the year. Saturday’s game should be another classic in New York high school soccer’s best rivalry.