RYE BROOK, N.Y.— A lopsided loss to Class B favorite Blind Brook served as a wake-up call heading into sectionals for North Salem’s boys soccer team.
While the Tigers weren’t tested in their regular season finale, they were able to secure their league championship in a 6-0 win over Pawling to finish their league slate with a perfect 6-0 record.
“We’re very happy with that (winning the league),” North Salem coach Ron Hendrie said. “We had a little lull three quarters of the way through (the season), and I don’t know if today was enough to test us to see if it’s over.”
Sending the ball flying around the opponent’s net, North Salem’s first to land in the back of it came from junior Michael Bossi off a quick steal in the 13th minute on Oct. 16.
Doing the playmaking in the 37th minute, Bossi crossed one to senior Denard Brahimaj for the goal that put the Tigers ahead, 2-0.
They crammed in another score before halftime, as Bossi lined through a penalty kick for his second goal with a minute to spare.
Picking up where it left off, North Salem’s Adrian Figueroa snuck one through off a rebound two minutes after the whistle, as Pawling’s energy began to fade while trailing by four goals.
The Tigers kept their hunger, since both Matt Schembri and junior Scott Harde added goals to end the regular season with a 6-0 rout.
“It felt great actually,” Harde said of his first varsity goal. “I just went out there and things went my way. We worked hard and got to every 50/50 ball today. As a team, we were trying to keep the intensity up.”
Each player ate a celebration brownie and touched Hendrie’s famous soccer ball, and only placed tape on it if they felt worthy.
“Years and years of players made that ball,” Hendrie said. “Sometimes I use it for inspiration. Some guys won’t put their tape on it if they feel they didn’t play well enough. Some of the guys whose tape is on that ball are playing (profesionally) in Europe.”
Flipping the script, North Salem was handily defeated by host Blind Brook, 5-0, on Saturday. James Buzzetto made seven saves in the loss.
“It was just a wake-up call,” Bossi said. “After the game, we took it as motivation because we thought it was better to lose now than in the postseason. Everyone on the team, no matter if you start or come in at the 90th minute, works as hard as they can at practice. The game is just motivation.”
It also surged to defeat host Putnam Valley, 3-1, on Oct. 12. After a scoreless first half, junior Dylan Monaghan scored three goals to lead the Tigers.
Devyn Sheth assisted one of the goals, and Buzzetto saved 10 shots in the road victory.
Expecting a two or three seed in the Class B sectionals, 2016 Class C state champion North Salem (12-3-1) received its matchup and time on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
“If someone isn’t putting 110 percent in, then we need to get that guy up and put it all toward the game,” Harde said.