Brazil and Ireland Are Tops in the Peninsula Cup Championships
By Paul King
In two action-packed days last Thursday and Friday, the inaugural season of Peninsula Cup soccer concluded with six championship games. The titlists are: D2-3: Boys - Brazil Girls - Italy, D4-5: Boys - Ireland Girls - Brazil, D6-8: Boys - Brazil Girls - Ireland
Brazil won half of the championships, followed by Ireland's two.
In the boys' 2nd-3rd Grade division, Brazil defeated England 4-1 in a well-played Finals match. Andrew Sullivan had two goals in Brazil's victory along with goals by Michael Mennichino and Matt LaSorsa. The Brazil offense was captained by fine play by John Boyle who assisted on three of the goals. Brazil's defense was led by James McManus and Jack Schluger, and excellent goaltending by John Scaccia and Brian Feimer.
Brazil's victory was assured when Michael Bellettiere made a game-saving stop on a penalty kick late in the game.
Brazil stayed on the offensive with fine play from Matt Colletta, David Caspi, and Conor Tacopina. The boys showed the true meaning of "play hard, play fair, and have fun."
In the girls' 2nd-3rd Grade division, Italy upset the previously unbeaten Brazil team 5-1. The division's leading scorer, Emily Carlton, accounted for Brazil's only tally.
Brazil qualified for the finals by edging England 3-2 behind the excellent goaltending of Amanda Gresser and Rebecca Schreiner and outstanding defense by Lauren Guidarelli. Emily Carlton scored two goals and Nicole Donnelly scored one with help from sharp passing by Meghan McGinn and Keely McEachern
Italy advanced to the championship game with a 2-1 win over Ireland. Maria Di Carlo scored Ireland's goal. Kym Saks and Carolyn Kelly were exceptional in goal for the green team.
The green team prevailed in the boys' 4th-5th Grade division. After going winless in its first for games, Team Ireland rose up to take the title, topping England 3-1 in the final. Jimmy Howard, JoJo Brown and Luke Gersh found the net for the Irish. England's goal was scored by Thomas Clark.
England's road to the final was thrilling. They nipped Italy 6-5 in an 8-shot shootout in the quarterfinals and blanked top-seeded Brazil in the semifinals, 3-0. Against Italy, Matthew Cappiello, Willie Robles, Thomas Clark, Luke Schreiner and Garrett Murnan scored. John Flanigan and Matthew Cappiello scored against Brazil.
Ireland also had a tough road to the championship game. They defeated Spain 2-1 in overtime. Jimmy Howard and Thomas Brennan found the net for Ireland. Team MVP Chris Ray scored Spain's goal.
Spain was also on the hard end of an overtime game in the girls' 4th-5th Grade championship.
Las muchachas kept the division's leading scorer Therese Boyle and her Brazilian mates off the board throughout a 0-0 regulation. However, Therese struck quickly in OT, launching a 30-yard shot against the wind and high into the net. It was the games only tally. Lara Thompson was outstanding in net for Spain.
Top-seeded Brazil reached the final with a 5-2 over Italy. Emma Collins, Celeste Lynch, and Anna Charles each scored a goal to go with Therese's two.
The team from Brazil also won the title in the boys' 6th-8th Grade division. Seeded third, Brazil knocked off second-seeded Ireland in the semifinals, 5-2, and defeated top-seeded England 4-2 to claim the Cup.
In the girls' 6th-8th Grade division, Ireland completed its undefeated season with a tight 4-3 victory over England 4-3. Jessica Boland had two goals for Ireland and Kathleen Woods and Frances Amodeo scored one each.
The inaugural season of the Peninsula Cup was a rousing success with almost 500 children from St. Thomas More and St. Francis de Sales participating.
Congratulation goes to key organizers Bill Dunn, Maureen Tacopina, Robin Hoffman and Buddy Woods.
Awards Barbeque: Players and their families are invited to join us at the Awards Barbeque at Ft. Tilden on Sunday, June 3. All players will receive a medal. The championship teams will be recognized. A donation of $2 per child, $5 per adult or $10 per family is requested. Donations must be given to a soccer coach or director in advance. Donations cannot be accepted at Ft. Tilden.