Boys Varsity Soccer
In 90 degree heat, and without having had the benefit of playing any pre-season scrimmages, The St. Raymond’s Varsity Soccer Team dug deep and pulled out a hard-fought, dramatic 2-2 tie against La Salle Academy after posting a first half deficit of 0-2. The Ravens displayed tremendous heart in clawing their way back to a draw by applying relentless, non-stop pressure on their game La Salle opponents, outperforming them 5-0 on corner kicks; with Senior Co-Captain Shaib Sharhan just missing one penalty kick … Senior Jacob Alonso and Senior Co-Captain Danny Chavez both missing short, point blank free-kicks … Senior Jeremy Lacayo grazing the post on another shot … plus a number of players coming up short on a handful of other scoring opportunities and shots that went wide. The Ravens were dominant but unlucky on this day.
But thanks to a gritty, opportunistic goal from Lacayo in the 50th minute, followed by a spectacular left-footed volley hammered into the nets by Sophomore sensation Antonio Acevedo in the 65th minute, which was the result of the magnificent hustle of Junior Juan Lazaro when he delivered a stellar centering pass from the left wing corner, the Ravens finished strong and showed their true character and colors in this early season tilt. La Salle was awfully fortunate to hang in there for a tie.
3 Game Balls for performance excellence were conferred upon Acevedo, Lazaro and Senior stalwart defenseman Rami Qader, with the Golden Boot as the ‘Player Of The Match’ going to Senior Goalkeeper Antonio Apruzzese who made a number of sure-handed saves plus a dazzling one in the 30th minute that kept the opponents from notching their 3rd goal and keeping the Ravens in the hunt and within striking distance at 0-2. Game Balls were also conferred upon Coach Alex Bedolla for all the hard work of his training regimen that kept Apruzzese (and Freshman backup Goalie Frank Calisi) sharp on reflexes and ball handling this pre-season; plus another Game Ball going to Coach Moses Alabi who pushed for the brilliant strategic substitution that resulted in Lazaro’s outstanding play. Strong play was also attributed to Sophomore Brandon Verdejo, Senior Charles Wireko-Siaw and Sophomore Joseph Calisi.
All-in-all, it was a respectable performance and result considering there wasn’t an opportunity to play any pre-season games to get some on-field teamwork, rhythm and continuity going in our favor. Practice on Thursday 9/12 is from 2:45-5:00 PM to address some of the organizational and disciplined-play issues that we need to get much better in, especially on special teams play where we missed at least 8 goal-scoring opportunities including corners and free-kicks. The game was preceded by a poignant solemn minute of silence by both teams at the field’s center circle in reflection, remembrance and honor of the many who tragically lost their lives on 9/11 18 years ago.
The St. Raymond Ravens Varsity Soccer Team dug deep again to pull out a dramatic 2-2 draw against a tough Cardinal Hayes HS squad in their season’s home opener at AFC Rapid field. The only thing scary on this Friday the 13th match was how many golden scoring opportunities the Ravens squandered, while fully dominating their rivals from start to finish. It was the second game in a row that the Ravens came up just short of notching a ‘W’ in the league standings after a match filled with a flurry of missed goal-scoring plays, likely due to not having had the chance to play any pre-season games to build cohesive play, try out all the players under live game conditions, and work out the kinks in the line-ups and special play formations.
Having been down a goal twice (1-0 and then 2-1) and playing against the wind in the second half, the Ravens managed to salvage their second point for a draw in this young season thanks to a successfully converted penalty kick by Senior Jacob Alonso in the second half, followed by the exciting play-of-the-game: the second goal smacked into the back of the net by Senior Co-Captain Shaib Sharhan, thanks to the tremendous hustle by Senior Jeremy Lacayo who froze two defenders plus the goalie in the crease which allowed Sharhan’s opportunistic game-knotter.
Joining Lacayo, Sharhan and Alonso with solid two-way performances were Senior Co-Captain Danny Chavez, and Sophomores Darien Dodson and Brandon Verdejo … with Game Ball honors for superb play earned by Seniors Rami Qader and Charles Wireko-Siaw. Things are looking up as the Ravens played with great desire. All that’s needed is fine-tuning their finishing goal-scoring touches and a little more luck so that they can add some victories in their so-far undefeated journey. Next week will be a challenging one with 3 games on the schedule, beginning on Monday with a 4:00 PM contest against St. Edmund at All-American Field