CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Following a .500 record in the first half of its season, the Town of Cortlandt Justice boys 12-and-under soccer team raised its level of play. The team won seven of eight games and went on to win the East Hudson Youth Soccer League Level 2 East Division.
The team also won the leagues spring shoot-out tournament.
Cortlandt coach Mike Sheehan said the team needed to win its last two games in order to earn the title. The team did this with a thrilling, last-minute triumph over the Carmel Hawks, 3-2, as Luke Rapoport scored with 30 seconds remaining. They followed this up with a 7-4 victory over the East Fishkill Raptors.
Though Cortlandt was .500 through 10 games, Sheehan realized the record was somewhat deceiving.
Last year we opened the season at level four before moving to level three by the end of the season so we came into this season knowing that level two was very competitive, Sheehan said. We were 5-5, but we lost a couple of close games by a goal. The boys understood that if we gave up less goals and stayed on our scoring pace, we would be fine. And we gave up half as many goals in the second half of the season.
Sheehan credited the teams goalies -- Greg Fucheck and Jon West -- and the defensive trio of Devin Ferphy, J.P. Goncalves and Dylan Shabman with the decrease in goals. Offensively, Chris Sheehan, Jordan Amany, Robert Rohan, Hunter Mastromonaco, Chris Tonoco and Rapoport combined for 35 goals in the second half of the season. Rapoports goal against the Hawks might have been the most important score of the season.
There was less than a minute and we were pressing them, Sheehan said. Luke had an open shot, from about 40 feet, and he ripped it into the upper left-hand corner. It was a rocket.
In its win over East Fishkill, Chris Sheehan, Mastromonaco and Amany netted two goals apiece.
I am extremely proud of the boys, Sheehan said. They knew what we needed to improve on in the second half and their teamwork came through. We had 18 boys on the team and they all contributed. It was a well-balanced team. They were all excited about winning. They never thought they would be able to go 7-1, but they came through.
The team was also comprised of Nicky DiPietro, Pete Gianatiempo, Myles Nigro, Jelani Bridges-Butler, Serge Gutierrez, R.J. Hutton and Trevor Williams. All of the boys attend school in the Lakeland School District or Hendrick Hudson School District.
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