2006-11-03 / Sports

Rengifo Itches For Beach Channel To Claim Soccer Crown

By Elio Velez

Erik Rengifo (center) gets read y to take a shot at the John Adams goalkeeper. Photo By Peter Borriello.
Erik Rengifo (center) gets read y to take a shot at the John Adams goalkeeper. Photo By Peter Borriello. Erik Rengifo can exude a calm influence as the last line of defense for his Beach Channel soccer squad. He is counted on to help contain the opponent's top scoring forward and it's a job he relishes.

The four year starter is reaching the end of the line on his high school career and Rengifo has seen the transformation of his Dolphins squad from once being underachievers to becoming a championship contender.

And he will not underestimate any opponent even if the first round PSAL "B" playoff matchup with High School of Health Professions was a mismatch on paper.

The Dolphins were 11-0-1 in the regular season and grabbed the top spot in their playoff bracket with Martin Van Buren, John Adams and 2005 "B" champions Arts and Business making a tough Queens quartet to compete with.

Health Professions were only 5-5 and the Manhattan school would be no match as Beach Channel overpowered their opponent for a 5-0 victory last Wednesday.

The Dolphins will face their second round opponents Thomas Jefferson today at 2:30 p.m. as they ousted the title defenders in Arts and Business 1-0. A BC victory will advance them to the next round at Bayside High School against the winner of Van Buren/John Adams on Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Dave Scott shook off a minor ankle knock for two goals as Marlon Velasquez and Deconte Johnson netted a goal each.

Though not finding their offensive rhythm for some of the first half, Beach Channel would eventually pepper plenty of shots on goal. Their defense did not allow a shot on net for the entire game.

Stanco says the defense should get stronger with the return of Roman Ivanov, who will join the starting lineup after serving a two game suspension.

"The good thing is we dominated and had a ton of chances and still put in five goals. It takes us 20 minutes to get it going but we settled down just like Beach channel soccer always does," Stanco says.

"I think the winner of this bracket should win the city. The toughest bracket is the one we're in right now."

After flubbing a few scoring chances against Health Professions, Rengifo finally found the net in the 35 th minute of the half, converting on a right footed shot just outside of the goalkeeper's area to make the score 5-0.

In his freshman season in 2003, Rengifo, who along with the other four year member Nandrian Brown, was part of a team who finished the season under the .500 mark. It would be the last time he would not see the playoffs. Now he wants to end his high school campaign a champion.

"I expect to go to the championship and play in the championship," Rengifo said. "I don't need to tell them about getting there. They're all positive and want the same thing also."

A versatile player, Rengifo is stationed more times than not on defense but if the team needs some goal scoring opportunities, Stanco will move him to midfield.

He's competed with the Eastern Regional team and has traveled to many cities around the country with the Eastern Regional soccer team. The outside recognition is nice but Rengifo says his first obligation is to his teammates on the field.

His head coach echoes those same sentiments.

"He's determined. If there is one word to describe him, he's determined. He's like a man on a mission. He has a lot going on outside the school with the regional team, club team and he plays on a high level," Stanco said

But I can tell when he gets out there that he really wants to play. It's a big thing to win the city championship."

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