2003-05-23 / Sports

Far Rockaway Wins Nailbiter To Enter Playoffs

By Elio Velez
Far Rockaway Wins Nailbiter To Enter Playoffs By Elio Velez


The team celebrates after their win in penalty kicks to make the PSAL B playoffs.The team celebrates after their win in penalty kicks to make the PSAL B playoffs.

The Far Rockaway Seahorses girls’ soccer team won in an exciting double overtime game over Hillcrest, 6-4 to enter the PSAL B playoffs on Tuesday, May 19 at Flushing Meadows Park in Corona. It was a good game filled with a lot of tension as both .500 teams needed the win to enter the tournament. Far Rockaway will have played their first playoff game against Tilden on May 21.

For Far Rockaway, they entered the game at 5-5-4 and for 6 seniors on the team, this would be their last chance to get to the playoffs. The team was fighting nagging injuries and played with only 11 due to one player being academically ineligible. Far Rockaway though came out strong when senior forward Shellion Clark scored in the sixth minute of the game to make the score 1-0 with the assist from Fayon Malcolm. Clark has led the team in goals this year and has played all 4 years with the club. "She has a very forceful and powerful game", said Seahorses head coach, William P. Neylon. The team kept being aggressive on the offense for most of the first half with at least three good chances to score again. Hillcrest’s Chidinm Nwosu was the only player to create scoring chances for her team as the score went 1-0 at the half.

The Seahorses almost left with a 1-0 win but lost the lead in the 75th minute when Hillcrest midfielder Juliana Lucena, the team’s leading scorer, tied the game at 1-1. Lucena kicked the ball and Petaga Thomas dived and held the ball for a second until it squirted out from underneath her for the goal. The goal may have been a blessing in disguise for the Seahorses as they woke up from their second half malaise to put pressure on Hillcrest for the last 5 minutes of the game until overtime. In the first 10-minute overtime, Far Rockaway suffered a serious blow as Troyan Bailey twisted her ankle and had to leave the game. The Seahorses played with 10 players only and kept the Lady Hawks at bay for 2 overtimes until the game was decided with penalty kicks.

The game was already approaching 2 hours and sunset appeared on the horizon when both teams sent their best 5 players out to win the game. Hillcrest had the chance to win the game at 3-2 but Petaga Thomas scored in the last chance for the Seahorses and made the following save to send it to a second set of OT penalty kicks. Far Rockaway’s Shellion Clark, Alejandra Sanchez and Tasha Israel scored and Hillcrest’s Juliana Lucena could not extend the game as the Seahorses celebrated an exhausting 6-4 win.


Far Rockaway’s Alejandra Sanchez tries to get position on an Hillcrest player.Far Rockaway’s Alejandra Sanchez tries to get position on an Hillcrest player.

Senior Maria Bardales echoed the sentiments of the entire team at the end of the game. "We’re so happy we won. It’s about time. We were so scared but we won, we won!"

The Seahorses have now entered the playoffs for the second year in a row and Coach Neylon feels the same as his players. "It feels good. It was the culmination of a long season and drama to the extreme to regulation. We scored early they scored late. Overtime was a battle and came down to the final few moments and the skills of our goalkeeper and the accuracy of our shooters brought us through."

Playoff wrapup

The Beach Channel and Far Rockaway girls tennis teams was eliminated in the first round of the PSAL playoffs…..The Beach Channel volleyball teams was eliminated in the first round of the PSAL championships on Saturday, May 16 by losing to Hunter High School at Hunter College. The team lost in 2 sets after winning the previous day over Bushwick in a play-in game.

The Dolphins was shorthanded as the team lost 2 players to academic ineligibility. "If we had everyone available, we probably would have given them (Hunter) a game but we couldn’t do it", said head coach Mark Sanchez. The team finished the season 12-1 and Sanchez is proud of his team, who entered the playoffs only a few years after the team was created. "It was a nice experience for us this year. I didn’t expect to win a championship but it was a very good season for the kids and myself."


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