Intense Battles Highlight Peninsula Cup Playoffs
After a season of friendly matches between Rockaway rivals, the soccer intensity rose this week as teams in all divisions battled for a spot in the Peninsula Cup finals. The playoffs featured several games decided by shootout, none more dramatic than England's 2-1 victory over Ireland in the boys' 2nd-3rd Grade division semifinal. Joe Gallo scored the decisive penalty kick in the 11th round for England, which entered the postseason as the bottom seed.
Second seed Ireland was staked to a 1-0 lead on a strong goal by Alex Goldberg. In the other semifinal, Brazil rallied in the second half to topple top seed Germany 3-1. Germany was 5-1-1 in the regular season. The boys' 4th-5th Grade playoffs featured England advancing when Garrett Murnan scored the final goal to seal the win. Ireland won its opening round game against Germany, 1-0, on a goal scored by Michael Castellano.
England and Brazil advanced to the championship game in the boys' 6th-8th Grade division. Top seed England defeated Italy while Brazil beat Ireland behind goals by Jack Kane and Steve Pulkowski.
On the girls' side, Brazil and Spain will battle for the Cup in the 4th-5th Grade division.
Brazil avenged its only regular season defeat by knocking off Italy. Spain edged Ireland in the other hard fought semifinal. Megan Kirk scored her third goal of the game with four minutes left to give Spain a 3-2 lead. Spain advanced despite Ireland frantic pressure. In the 2nd-3rd Grade division, Brazil and Ireland finished the regular season 1-2 with five wins each. Undefeated Ireland was the top team in the 6th-8th Grade division with a 5-0-1 record.
All division championships should be decided this weekend. A season ending awards barbeque will be held at Ft. Tilden on Sunday, June 3. All players will receive medals.