Beach Channel Boys Soccer Team Moves To New Territory
There’s a whole of changes in store for the Beach Channel/Channel View boys soccer team this season. And a lot of that has occurred even before the Dolphins will host their PSAL season opener on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Beach Channel’s opponent will be Newcomers, a new foe who will be one of the many adjustments they will face this season. The PSAL promoted Beach Channel in the spring from the B Division to the Queens West A Division.
It is the biggest of moves for the program, which has tasted success in the six years that head coach Dominick Stanco has guided the program. Beach Channel has won two Queens B1 division titles and was a runner up in the PSAL B championship in which they fell to John Adams, 3-0, in November of 2008.
Despite the Dolphins losing in the PSAL B quarterfinals via penalty kicks against Thomas Edison last year, Stanco felt it was time for the program to move up and face stiffer competition. The PSAL granted his wish.
The Dolphins lost some scoring punch with the graduation of key striker Carlos Mejia, who scored 25 goals last year. Also gone is midfielder Jose Baires, who led the team in assists with 15 and energetic midfielder/defender Ryan Creese.
Unfortunately for Stanco, he will not have the services of two starting midfielders from last season .Senior Melquise Navarro and junior Andy Martinez will miss the year due to academic ineligibility. Justin Okoro Erhun, a starting defender, transferred to a school in Long Island. Their experience and skill on the field won’t be easy to replace.
Stanco will move on and piece a team together. Erick Mejia Gutierrez, a junior, in his third year as the starting goalkeeper. Hugo Romero and Alexis Bustillo will anchor the midfeidl. Adrian Flanigan and Mohamed Toure will anchor the defense.
He does have some promising youngsters to work with. Mario and Ivan Arana will get time at either the forward, along with brothers Gus and Franklin Zuniga.
The level of competition is indeed a bit higher with good teams such as Long Island City, Newcomers and Newtown in the division. The reigning Queens West A Division champions John Adams stands out as the opponent Stanco knows most about. The intense Adams-Channel rivalry that once defined the Queens B Division will actually be renewed again this season.
Adams is amongst the favorites to win not only the division, but is one of the contenders to win a city championship. Stanco has different expectations. While he wants to win, the Beach Channel coach is trying to build a program that once used to competing in the talented A Division, success will come their way.
“We got 11 guys who know how to play. We got to get some new players, but I also lost a lot of players. “I’ll be happy if we get over a .500 record this season,” Stanco said.
BCHS Wins By Forfeit
The Dolphins didn’t have to play one minute of their game on Wednesday to win the first peninsula battle of the year. Beach Channel won via forfeit over Far Rockaway to improve to 1-0 this season in the Queens B VI Division.
“I’ll take a win any way I can get,” joked Beach Channel coach Osei Akoto.
The Dolphins went 8-4 and finished second in the division. They have been stoked to start the season according to Akoto. The entire team has come to practice and have worked hard since the PSAL allowed practice to start on August 20.
Beach Channel will have to find a scoring replacement for Gerlisa Hills, who led all scorers with 17 goals. The team will have to spread the wealth and Akoto believes there are enough options to make that happen.
Beach Channel will host John Adams on Sunday at 2 p.m. and John Bowne on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Football Starts On Saturday
Beach Channel will have their PSAL Bowl Division opener on the road at 12 p.m. against Samuel J. Tilden in Brooklyn.
Far Rockaway takes on Evander Childs High School in the Bronx in PSAL Cup Division action at 12 p.m.