FRHS, BCHS Battle Today As Teams Head In Different Directions
When William Neylon was drawing up the tactical schemes on his blackboard for the start of the PSAL soccer season, he had an inkling of what players from his own squad would be scribbled next to the diagram.
But as the school season began, the master plan had to be erased and drawn up again. Injuries and academic ineligibility have proven to be a detriment for the Far Rockaway men's soccer team.
Neylon lost three key seniors from last year's playoff team who finished second in the Queens B1 division to Beach Channel. All three though departed under different circumstances. Efrain Villatoro, their most dangerous goal scorer graduated, Eder Herrera, a dependable defender is a fifth year senior and lost his athletic eligibility but their third loss was a serious blow.
Felipe Zaldana, a versatile playmaking midfielder who would have led this year's squad as captain, was deported for being an illegal immigrant. The 17 year old was sent back to Guatemala in the summer and there's nothing that Neylon can do about it.
"He was a good player, a great kid who was in this country since he was 12 years old. He had a great work ethic, good endurance and he had a good attitude. He was doing well," Neylon says.
What Neylon will have to do is work with a revamped roster and the results, a 1-3 record this season, hasn't been good. There is no doubt that the longtime coach wants to win but he is realistic that a rebuilding season is a reality he can't ignore.
Stanley Santil and Janoi Allen have provided goalscoring but injuries to midfielder Miguel Estrada highlight the lack of depth he has. Estrada collided with an opposing Queens H.S. For Science player, and an diagnosed lung contusion has forced him out for two weeks. Allen is suffering an oblique strain that might put him out for today's clash at Beach Channel (4 p.m. at BCHS)
"Injuries and eligibility characterizes us this year. It's a put a damper on the future of this season because we know there are some talented teams in this division," Neylon said.
Beach Channel Tinkers In Victory
Dominic Stanco will always tinker with his starting lineup if the head coach believes a certain player can be a positive addition to the squad. Last Wednesday in a 5-1 Beach Channel win against Richmond Hill, Stanco welcomed the return of a player who was all familiar to him.
Though Roman Ivanov did not get on the scoreboard, the central defender stonewalled the Richmond Hill (1-3-0, 3 points) forwards from going upfield all day. Ivanov had proven to be a key member of last year's team that made the playoff quarterfinalists.
An excellent central defender who mixes strength and determination, Ivanov also carries a mean streak at times that has been a detriment to his team. It led him to be suspended for the first three games this year after he was given a red card for a profane outburst to the referees following the 3-2 playoff loss to Brandeis.
Ivanov was not on the roster to begin the season but a change of heart and a talk with Stanco allowed the defender to return.
"He knew he wanted to come back and I'm glad to find another piece to help this team. He played smart but he knows that he if he gets a red card or anything similar, he (Ivanov) knows he's on thin ice," Stanco said.
"He played clean. He played hard."
Dave Scott, Christopher Frey, Erik Rengifo, Deconte Johnson and Perry Tuffour scored for Beach Channel (3-0-1, 10 points), who is undefeated at home in 14 games the last three years. They are tied for first with John Adams (3-0-1, 10 points) in the PSAL Queens B1 Division.