2012-09-07 / Sports

Rockaway High School 2012 Soccer Preview

By Elio Velez

There have been some tough patches in recent years for the Beach Channel/ Channel View boys soccer team.

The Dolphins struggled in the last two seasons after being promoted to the PSAL Class A division, going 4-8 in 2010 and last year falling to 1-11.

Beach Channel coach Dominick Stanco asked boys soccer commissioner Vito Rizzi last spring to drop the team back into the Class B division. Stanco told Rizzi he would need some time to get the program back to winning ways.

The Dolphins, who host Springfield Gardens today at 4 p.m. in the PSAL league opener, has been a pleasant surprise so far in the first two weeks of practice according to Stanco.

“This is the most excited I’ve been about my team in years,” Stanco said.

Stanco gained a lot of optimism after tryouts produced some new players and number of former student-athletes who had previously left the team. Along with a core of returning starters that gained experience in the top division, Beach Channel has the hope they can contend in the Queens B1 Division.

“This is the most disciplined team I ever coached. They do laps, they do warm-ups. They do the running in the bleachers until they pass out and they don’t complain,” Stanco said. “No one thinks they are a superstar.”

The experience will come from the central midfield pair of Mamadou Kone, and Josh Fernandez, a three-year player. Kone will use his 6-foot frame to muscle opponents in the middle of the field, and Stanco says Fernandez has a strong right foot.

Junior goalkeeper Alberto Nelson Fernandez starts for the second year. Raul Martinez earned minutes as a freshman last year, and will feature in the right side of the midfield.

This year’s squad will feature some familiar faces, which Stanco was not expecting to show up for tryouts.

Franklin Zuniga showed promise when scored eight goals as a sophomore. The forward did not try out last year, but returned to the surprise of the head coach. Zuniga could start at forward next to striker/midfielder Bharat “Lorenzo” Gurdin. The junior has been described as a speedy left foot player who could create some problems for the opposing defenders.

Alexis Bustillo started the last two seasons in the midfield, but decided to remain with the Dolphins this year instead of joining his academy team. Stanco says Bustillo is welcoming to the idea of using his experience and ball dribbling skills in defense as the starting sweeper.

Antonio Puluc will return to play in the left side of defense. Stanco says Puluc is determined to make an impact after missing the second half of his sophomore and all of junior year due to academic ineligibility.

Jorge Obregon joins the team after shedding almost 60 pounds after being cut in tryouts last year. Jordan Flannigan, the younger brother of former Dolphins starter Adrian also gets minutes. The speedy Spurgeon Goodrich will play in defense.

Stanco likes the way his team has played in practice. It’s not an overconfident or cocky bunch, which is just the way he likes it.

“I want to get it back on the track. Before the last two years, I’m trying to get what it used to be and give them that feeling of a winning program,” Stanco said. “We got to establish that. How are you going to get respect from anyone? You got to win.”

Far Rockaway/FDA VI looks to get into the Class B playoffs for the first time since the 2009 campaign. The Seahorses host Beach Channel on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Lady Dolphins Show Promise

The Beach Channel/Channel View girls varsity team are without a number of key seniors that led the Dolphins to the second round of the PSAL Class B playoffs.

Second-year coach Laura Gavidia has a young, yet promising squad that should develop and grow into a unit for the next few years.

“We lost a lot of girls from last year, but I think we have some pretty decent girls to build on for the next couple of years. More of the sophomores, junior type. Its great to build a team for the next few years,” Gavidia said.

The strength of the team will come in midfield with Bridgette Nolan and sophomore Hunter Hennessey, and a few other players having to provide the leadership, scoring and passing.

The defensive side is a bit inexperienced, but the calming influence of second year starter Kayleigh Hurley at goalkeeper should help. Gabby Martinez arrived in camp with no previous experience, but the Dolphins coach has been impressed with the sophomore’s ability in the first two weeks of practice. Beach Channel will move over to the newly created Queens B-VI division.

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