By: Anthony Vecchiarello
A close soccer game goes to overtime in the shoot-out round of the Class A-1 Conference playoffs. One team cannot get the ball behind the net, the other miraculously scores on the goal keeper. The scoring team in green and white jump up for joy as their parents and fans cheer. But this is not a story about JFK Bellmore, but about the Garden City Boys Varsity Soccer team who unfortunately ended their season.
The maroon and white colored Trojan Garden City Boys Soccer team suffered a disappointing defeat in the first round of playoffs after having a successful season of 6-1-4 in the Conference and an overall record of 8-1-5, finishing 3rd in their regular season. The athletes and coaches can only learn what mistakes they made this year to apply next season.
“Soccer can be a pretty unforgiving game sometimes,” 31-year-old Assistant Coach and Middle School Teacher, Tom Skrivanek said, of Smithtown, NY.
Garden City’s Home turf playoff game against JFK Bellmore on Oct 24, 2014 was a battle of wits.
“I think we had them on the ropes, majority of the game,” Skrivanek explained.
That day, number 8, Senior Alexander Franco scored a bicycle kick goal that wound up getting called back for off-sides. Regardless of how things ended up in the playoffs, Head Coach Paul Cutter and Skrivanek are proud of their players for giving the season their all. However, the coaches and the players thought they were going to go a little further in the season.
Skrivanek went to highlight his key players this year. Head Coach Cutter was unable to comment due to his obligation of fathering his recent newborn.
Number 1, Senior Goal Keeper Ray Leto, made countless athletic saves each game and plans to join either Division I A/AA or Division II college soccer next year. The other seniors plan to follow in Leto’s footsteps trying Varsity or even Club teams.
Junior Chris Tavernese (#17) was passionate in each game playing Center Midfield. Tavernese scored the winning goal in the game against South Side at the second half from 30-35 yards out.
“The speed demon,” Senior Chris Koester played the outside, on top or the right most of the time. Koester made a few goals and appeared as a threat due to his height of 6 foot.
Senior Bobby Clarke (#10) played midfield very well, while Sophomore Jack McManus (#34) got a lot of playtime.
Trojan’s four defensive backs were a force to not be reckoned with. They consisted of Senior Midfield Johnny Morris (#18), Senior Midfield Matt Greiner, Senior Bennett Carey (#3), and Senior Stephen D’antonio (#22) who played well against Jericho.
Franco was predominately the leading goal scorer and will be greatly missed. His younger brother, Michael is currently a junior and rising up in the ranks.
Skrivanek stated, “I feel bad for the seniors,” since they have put some much effort and preparation all summer.
Skrivanek then went on to describe their training regime this year. Coach Cutter and Skrivanek concentrated on the fitness so their stamina would increase in the second half of the games. This helped to team outlast their opponents in games. In prior seasons, the team had trouble scoring. The coaches combined fitness, technique and strategy to come up with an effective and rigorous training program. The program hit all the areas of the ball while putting the athletes on a brutal schedule. Skrivanek complimented his players on their driven motivation, positive attitude and sportsmanship. The Assistant Coach also prides on the support that the parents and the school’s Athletic Administrative Staff give.
“The future is looking hopeful, we’re optimistic,” Skrivanek said with confidence.
The boys have already been talking about next season as the coaches go back to the drawing board.
If there was one thing the players learned this season, it’s that hard work can only take you so far.
Sometimes, Skrivanek added, “Life doesn’t always go the way you plan.”
Teams with high expectations of a successful post-season may get disappointed if they lose. And that is a hard lesson to learn, but a value one at best.