SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – Yorktown jumped out to a 3-0 lead before holding on for a 3-2 victory against host Lakeland in an exciting boys soccer contest on Sept. 25.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Yorktown’s George Popovic. “It’s one of our top rivals, up there with Somers. It’s just a great win for us. We’re going into our next game, Saturday, against Rye, hopefully we keep the same energy.”
Lakeland’s Genti Gashi (2G) said his team will benefit from the hard-fought loss.
“It makes us better for other games,” Gashi said. “Games like this, our spirits our up, our energy is up, and the games are always entertaining and hard to play.”
Popovic, off an assist from Ciaran Donohue, put the Huskers up 1-0 in the opening half.
“It was a great feeling,” Popovic said. “We had a high press and strung a few passes together and I was one on one with the goalie and I tapped it in. It was a great feeling afterwards to go up 1-0 against a great rival like Lakeland.”
Popovic then assisted on Peter Tinaj’s goal early in the second half that put the Huskers up 2-0.
“Coach (Ed Polchinski) at halftime told us to just to keep the pressure going and put in two or three more in the second half,” Popovic said. “I received the ball and I saw Peter Tinaj get a run through the middle. I hit him and he tapped it in, great finish, it put us up 2-0.”
Donohue added to the lead with a goal, assisted by David Dippolito, before Gashi, courtesy of an assist from Ryan Brannigan, cut Yorktown’s lead to two with 19:17 left in the contest.
“It was a scramble in the box,” Gashi said. “Nick DeSantis hit it off his head and I managed to get my foot through it and I hit it in the left corner.”
Almost 10 minutes later, Bryan Jaramillo assisted on Gashi’s second goal, slicing the Huskers’ advantage to one.
“That came off of Bryan,” Gashi said. “He managed to pass it to the box and I put my foot through it to the bottom of the right corner. It was a scramble also.”
Yorktown’s Dylan Lopez (12 saves) and Lakeland’s Nick Bassani (7 saves) did the job in goal for their respective teams.
The Huskers started the week with a 7-1 victory against visiting Peekskill on Sept. 23, led by Timmy O’Callaghan (2G, 2A), Mikey O’Connor 2G, 1A), Popovic (2A), James Calidonna (1G), Jack Whalen (1A), Lopez (5 saves) with Rocco Cardillo and Pouya Pakkhesal each tallying their first career varsity goals.
Yorktown (6-3) finished the week with a 3-1 loss at Rye on Sept. 28, led by O’Callaghan (1G), Popovic (1A), Scott Weitman (4 saves) and Lopez (2 saves).
Lakeland rebounded with a 5-3 victory at their district’s sister school, Walter Panas, on Sept. 28, spearheaded by 4 goals from Augie Karaqi.
“Last night was a really good team win for Lakeland soccer because we are starting to really play well and finding a rhythm on offense,” Karaqi said. “The guys are really getting better in practice and to score 4 goals against our in-district school was amazing.”
Jaramillo (2A), Jason San Lucas (1G), DeSantis (1A), Steban Minchalo (1A), Bassani (5 saves) and Jason Pasato (2 saves) also earned their way into the Lakeland box score.
“As for scoring those 4 goals last night, my guys just really put me into great positions and all I had to do was finish the ball,” said Karaqi, who added he is very appreciative that coach Tim Hourahan asked him to play his senior year.
“I got some really great passes from DeSantis and Bryan Jaramillo and I was excited to come through for them last night,” he continued. “The guys were really supporting me and told me to keep going and it made me feel good to score.”
Lakeland (5-3-1) began the week with a 2-1 victory versus visiting John Ja (Cross River) on Sept. 23 in double overtime, led by Jaramillo (game-winning penalty kick), San Lucas (1G), Jack Tuite (1A) and Bassani (6 saves).