Fast Start Propels Lakeland Past Mahopac

Hornet Kevin Schwalbach on the move against Mahopac. Credits: Rob DiAntonio

CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. — Lakeland jumped out to a quick three-goal lead against Mahopac in Lakeland Boys Summer Soccer League action at Walter Panas on June 20 and held on for a 3-1 victory against the Indians.

Hornet Arben Hoxhaj scored the game’s first goal, off an assist from Carlos Del Monte before teammate Ryan Casey registered an unassisted tally, with both goals coming within the first four minutes of the contest.

Del Monte scored soon thereafter, with a feed from Noah Kemp, to give Lakeland a 3-0 advantage with 19:05 left in the 25-minute first half.

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“We are trying to make all the younger players more confident as they go along,” said Hoxhaj, who shares the Hornets’ captaincy with classmates Dhruv Girgenti, Kyle McHale and Gabe Nieves. “On the sideline we root for them. As captains and seniors, we try to coach them, tell them what to do and we try to keep developing their confidence. Their talent is already there, so it’s more about their confidence as a varsity player.”

The win felt good for the Hornets, especially considering who they beat.

“It always feels good to win against them—the schools are close,” Hoxhaj said. “We know most of their kids. They know us so it’s always good to get the win over them—bragging rights.”

Mahopac cut Lakeland’s lead to two shortly after Del Monte’s goal when sophomore midfielder Bryan Tenenpaguay scored courtesy of an assist from senior forward Nick Estrada.

“I was glad to see us get on the board,” Mahopac coach Jim Gencarelli said. “Being down 3-0 at the time, we were still able to attack and find the back of the net, which was nice. It was a good positive.”

What was also positive for Mahopac are the two players who were involved in scoring the goal.

“Nick is a good kid. He is going to be a leader of the team hopefully,” Gencarelli said. “As a senior, he’s been with me for three years now at the varsity level, so I expect a lot from him. With Bryan, he’s a talented player but since he was on the JV last year I don’t know yet where he will be at the beginning of the season. It was nice to see them both involved in the scoring of the goal.”

Gencarelli said that teamwork which was displayed on that goal is what summer league is all about.

“It’s about getting back to playing,” Gencarelli said. “I know a lot of our guys play on outside club teams but coming back to play for Mahopac as a whole, reacquainting with teammates is what it’s all about.”

Mahopac’s Alex Velasquez (3 saves) and Kevin Valdes (2 saves) did the job in goal.

Yorktown also played the same night, falling 2-1 in a hard-fought match against Somers.
Husker senior center back Besim Bucpapa scored Yorktown’s goal in the first half, cutting the Tuskers’ lead to one.

“We lost concentration, we let two set pieces in,” Bucpapa said. “So it was really important to get a goal, especially a good goal like that, to get our confidence back and get back in the game.”

For the Huskers (2-1), it’s a learning process at this point of the summer-league season.

“We are getting to know each other more, getting our touches in, trying to figure out what we do and who does what best,” Bucpapa said. “From the start we played well, just a lack of concentration in the beginning hurt us.”

While it may be summer league, Bucpapa said the will to win is still there, especially against Somers.

“It means everything,” Bucpapa said. “Even now, even in a summer-league game, it starts now. It’s a huge rivalry, you always want to win the game. It always brings out a nice, good tough game to watch. I just hope to see if we take them on during the season.”

Yorktown’s Mauricio Arango made four saves against Somers and three saves in a 1-0 victory against Valhalla with Patel scoring on June 25.

Lakeland (2-0-1) tied Byram Hills 0-0 with Mathis (3 saves) and Lopez (2 saves) producing in goal.

Mahopac (1-2) fell to Somers 4-1 with Velasquez (4 saves) and Estrada (1G) doing the honors for the Indians on June 25.

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