SOMERS, N.Y. – Just a few minutes into their game against rival Yorktown, the Somers Tuskers found themselves in a hole.
But Somers went on a scoring spree, erupting for five unanswered goals to pull off a 5-1 win over the visiting Huskers on Oct. 3.
Sophomore Bennett Leitner, who had a team-high 2 goals and 2 assists, used his blazing speed to run down a pass and tie the game up in the 25th minute. Derek Marques gave Somers the lead just a few minutes later.
“We went down 1-0 early but we never thought it was over for a second,” Leitner said. “We knew that we just had to be patient and our chances were going to come. We just kept pushing and kept working and they came just like we expected. We’re really happy with the result of that game.”
Diego Giron and Daniel D’Ippolito added a goal each for Somers. Giron’s goal was a deep blast from 35 yards out. Marques added an assist. Anthony Tucci made 4 saves.
“I remember Joe Grippo said, ‘Guys, just be calm, it was a mistake,’” senior Jose Giron said of how they regained their composure after Yorktown scored early. “We scored in the 25th minute and from then on the momentum kept rolling and they just couldn’t handle it.”
The Tuskers, who are the defending Section 1 Class A champions, don’t miss a beat when they bring players off the bench.
“Coach (Brian Lanzetta) preaches that when the subs come in, there shouldn’t be a drop in the intensity and level of play,” Leitner said. “I think we try to live that day in and day out.”
His teammate concurred.
“In practice, we tell everyone, you must be ready to come in,” Jose Giron said. “The momentum has to stay up. We’ve experienced some games where we take some key players off the field and the other team counters and scores. That was kind of last year and this year I think we’ve tackled that problem pretty well. You see guys coming off and you put on sophomores and freshmen and they just keep playing. We actually score the same amount of goals or at least one more goal when [the subs] come on.”
There is also plenty of cohesion.
“In recent years, like last year especially, we had a lot of big players that did a lot of the heavy lifting for the team,” senior Ethan Cukaj said. “This year we’re more of a team and a lot of us are friends. I just think that has an essential role with the team chemistry.”
Somers 3, Lakeland 0
Somers improved to 10-1 with a 3-0 win over visiting Lakeland on Oct. 5.
“Coming off a big win against Yorktown, we were in the locker room and we were talking and coach said that game doesn’t matter anymore,” Jose Giron said. “That win that we had, if we lose the next four games, it doesn’t matter and it was for nothing because it’s all for the league right now.”
Leitner received a through ball and finished to give Somers a 1-0 lead midway through the first half.
“I was frustrated after missing the first open chance that I had,” Leitner admitted. “I just put my head down and kept working. Zane Bramson sent me a really nice ball through and I just had to capitalize on the opportunity.”
Cukaj stretched the lead to 2-0 when he pounced on an Evan Mazzola corner kick just a few minutes later.
“Usually, when there’s a corner, I’ll wait at the tip of the 18,” Cukaj said. “I just went in to near post and just hit it with a volley because it was too low for the head.”
Drew Lasher added an insurance goal with 7:42 left in the second half.
Somers has a home-and-home series with league foe John Jay-Cross River this week. The Tuskers host the Indians on Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. and head to Cross River for a 3 p.m. game the next day.
“I don’t want to say that we peaked yet but I’m hoping that we just keep going and keep pushing harder,” Leitner said. “I don’t think you’ve seen the best of us.”