CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. — When a reporter on the sideline mentioned to Lakeland coach Tim Hourahan that his team’s summer league contest against Yorktown felt like a regular season game, Hourahan quickly shot back, “When it’s Lakeland-Yorktown, it always does.”
The Hornets’ game against the Huskers on July 2 in the Lakeland Boys Summer Soccer League at Walter Panas was no exception as each player battled as if it was a game that counted in the fall.
That obviously wasn’t the case but the Hornets gladly accepted the bragging rights that came with their 1-0 victory against the Huskers.
“Yorktown’s a crosstown rival so we always want to perform well against them,” Lakeland senior captain Kyle McHale said. “Coach has done a good job in getting us into shape for the regular season and the intensity of the crosstown rivalry really helps us get into the game quicker.”
Yorktown assistant coach Justin Huff feels that games like the ones against Lakeland are an important part of the process of getting ready for the regular season.
“I always say, it is preseason so the first thing I always demand is intensity and effort because those are things that should never be lacking,” Huff said. “The stamina is not going to be there, the skill isn’t going to be there but the effort has to be. Preseason is very important because the habits you build now lead into the regular season. My guys really competed tonight. That is all I could ask from them. We are building a lot of good habits that are going to pay off in the regular season.”
McHale gave his squad the only goal of the game when he converted on a penalty kick with 4:44 remaining in the opening half.
“I was just thinking ‘put it away’ for my team,” McHale said. “Get us the lead, get the momentum going for us, to go forward and get the win.”
While the Huskers didn’t get on the board, their offense was very active, creating numerous scoring opportunities.
“Everyone bought into what we have been saying all preseason and the captains’ practices,” Huff said. “The system we are going to play, guys feel more comfortable in it now. We have a lot of returning guys that have played club together. We have developed solid chemistry so far and that’s allowing us to be at almost midseason form. The guys playing and putting in the effort all-year round and not just three months, is showing now.”
Playing well in goal was Lakeland’s Andres Lopez and Ryan Mathis, who each recorded two saves apiece and Yorktown’s Mauricio Arango, who tallied three saves.
“It’s always nice to have the little sense of bragging rights but this win also gives us more momentum going into the next game, the next part of the season and hopefully helps us beat the other big teams in Section 1,” McHale said.
Lakeland (5-0-1) also defeated sister school Panas 4-0 on July 9, led by Noah Kemp (2G), Carlos Del Monte (1G, 1A), McHale (2A), Gerardo Hernandez (1G) and Mathis (1 save).
Yorktown (4-2) was victorious 1-0 against Mahopac in a July 9 contest on a goal by Besim Bucpapa, assisted by Sergio Spiniello, with Arango recording three saves.