NYC Mayor’s Cup: Public schools prove to be ‘Best in the City’
(Via NYC Mayor’s Cup) – The 2014 NYC Mayor’s Cup Soccer All-Star Games brought together the top high school seniors from the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and the independent schools as they competed for the right to call their league the “Best in the City” on November 15 and 16 at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn.
For the second year in a row, the PSAL showed their dominance on the soccer field as both the PSAL girls and boys all-star teams won their respective championship games. Natalie Turner-Wyatt (LaGuardia HS) was the MVP of the girls game, while Walter Medina (FDR) won the MVP award for the boys game.
Saturday, November 15
CHSAA Girls vs. Independent School Girls
The action kicked off on Saturday with the CHSAA girls taking on the independent school girls. The independent school team got control of the game early, and they would not relinquish it for the full 80 minutes. In just the second minute of the game, Rosie Ehrlich (Dalton) scored the first of three goals that she would score in the first half. Linda Jean Delfini (Staten Island Academy) added another goal for the independent schools in the 22nd minute, and the independent schools had a 4-0 lead over the CHSAA girls at the end of the first half.
The independent school girls picked up their fifth goal less than 10 minutes into the second half off the foot of Joanna Miller (Hackley). Moments later, Ehrlich notched her fourth goal of the game and gave the independent school girls a 6-0 lead, which they held until time expired. With their victory, the independent school girls advanced to the championship game where they would meet the PSAL All-Stars.
CHSAA Boys vs. Independent School Boys
That game would be followed by the CHSAA boys vs. the independent school boys. The first half was mostly a defensive battle that included some incredible saves by CHSAA goalkeeper Chris Kilcarr (St. Francis Prep), who held off a late offensive surge by the independent school team to preserve the 0-0 tie. Miles Warren (United Nations International School) broke the tie less than two minutes into the second half and gave the independent school boys a 1-0 lead. The back and forth play continued for the rest of the half but no more goals were produced. Like their female counterparts, the independent school boys defeated the CHSAA boys and advanced to Sunday’s championship game against the PSAL boys.
Sunday, November 16 – Championship Games
Both the girls and boys championship games at the 2014 NYC Mayor’s Cup Soccer All-Star Games would feature the same match-ups as the 2013 championship games, when the PSAL All-Stars took on the independent school All-Stars. The stands at Poly Prep were packed with supporters from both sides, and even New York Red Bulls players Ruben Bover and Marius Obekop were in attendance to cheer on New York City’s top high school soccer players.
Girls Championship: PSAL Girls vs. Independent School Girls
The girls championship was up first, and early on it looked as if both teams were playing tentatively in order to avoid making a critical mistake. The ball spent most of the half in the middle of the field as both teams played well defensively, and the half ended in a scoreless tie. Coming off a six-goal explosion on Saturday, it did not seem like the independent school girls were ready for a defensive struggle.
The second half began with more back and forth play, but neither team was able to find the back of the net. Rosie Ehrlich (Dalton), the star of Saturday’s game, picked up a loose ball and fired a shot that was partially saved by the PSAL keeper, then trickled off the post and harmlessly out of bounds in the 52nd minute of the game. The PSAL answered back less than a minute later as Natalie Turner-Wyatt (LaGuardia HS) beat a few defenders down the field and let a shot go that just missed the far post. After that chance, the PSAL continued to control possession, and it seemed like they were close to picking up the game’s first goal.
They got another chance when Emily Mendes (Beacon) sent a nice pass up to Agape Alexander (Susan Wagner HS), who seemed to be alone with the independent school keeper Jennifer Kronish (Riverdale). Kronish charged out toward Alexander to cut down the shooting angle and made a sprawling save to preserve the 0-0 tie. The first goal of the game came in the 61st minute as the independent school girls committed a costly turnover in their own end, which ended up on the foot of the PSAL’s Natalie Turner-Wyatt who ripped a shot that got by Jennifer Kronish off the right post and into the net.
There was more than enough time for the independent school girls to score the equalizer, but their advances were met by the tough defense of the PSAL girls.
The independent school girls had a great chance to tie the game with just under six minutes left in the game when Gabriella Kahan (Columbia Prep) dribbled into the corner and crossed the ball onto the foot of Rosie Ehrlich who was right in front of the net. She put a point blank shot on net, but it was swallowed up by the PSAL keeper Sarah Goldzweig (Brooklyn Tech). The PSAL girls struck again with less than three minutes left in the game as Margaret Edwards (Leon Goldstein HS) collected a jump ball right in front of the net and fired a shot into the top right corner to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Edwards found herself with the ball in the independent school end again and sent a pass across the box to Samantha O’Brien (Madison) who was all alone and able to put her shot past the independent school goalie. The independent school girls avoided being shut out as Linda Jean Delfini (Staten Island Academy) was able to score in the final minute.
The PSAL girls won by a score of 3-1 and Natalie Turner-Wyatt took home the MVP plaque after she picked up the game’s first goal.
Boys Championship: PSAL Boys vs. Independent School Boys
The boys championship was up next, and it started out very similarly to the girls game, with both teams neglecting to give an inch to their opponent. The first quality chance of the game came as the PSAL’s Mikel Agaraj (Newcomers) sent a ball into the box that was headed just over the net by Daniel O’Grady (Beacon). The independent school boys picked up the pressure and got a chance of their own when Taro Nakagawa (Poly Prep) lifted a ball from the corner of the field toward the PSAL net. Michael Byfield (Horace Mann) was able to elevate over the defense, but his header whistled past the post and out of bounds.
The first half came to an end with the score tied at zero.
The second half began as both teams tried to build momentum and score the goal that would break the scoreless tie. The PSAL had another look at the net seven minutes into the half as Walter Medina (FDR) sent the ball in to Anthony Baltazar (Newtown), who then found Ahmed Elfaham (Fort Hamilton) streaking down the left side of the field. Elfaham fired a shot on goal that was turned away nicely by the independent school goalie Mike McAloon (Poly Prep). The PSAL boys finally found the back of the net in the 52nd minute when Walter Medina sent a perfect cross toward the independent school goal that found Nick Bienen-Esayian (Bronx Science), who volleyed the ball into the far corner of the net.
In the 64th minute, the PSAL’s Walter Medina used his blazing speed to separate himself from the defense and came in on a breakaway against the independent school keeper Noah Stern (Riverdale). Medina slipped a shot through the legs of Stern and gave the PSAL a 2-0 lead. Immediately after the re-start, the PSAL stole the ball back and rushed back toward the independent school net. Mikel Agaraj picked up the ball in the middle of the field and sent a nice pass over to Rockeem Russell (Mott Haven) who fired a shot past Noah Stern and essentially iced the game for the PSA with only 13 minutes remaining.
Moctar Niang (Dwight School) had a good chance to score for th independent schools off a header, but it was not enough to beat the PSAL keeper Josh Almaraz (Brandeis Campus), who made a great save and did not allow for a rebound opportunity. The PSAL held on for the shutout victory and earned the title of “Best in the City” for the third time at the NYC Mayor’s Cup Soccer All- Star Games.
PSAL goalies Steven O’Connor (McKee/Staten Island Tech) and Josh Almaraz combined for the shutout, and Walter Medina was named the MVP as he assisted on the first goal of the game then scored a goal of his own. It was the second year in a row that both the PSAL girls and boys teams won the NYC Mayor’s Cup.
Saturday, November 15
Independent Girls 6 vs. CHSAA Girls 0
2’ Rosie Ehrlich (Dalton)
Assist: Sami Lyons (Trevor Day)
7’ Rosie Ehrlich (Dalton)
Assist: Sami Lyons (Trevor Day)
16’ Rosie Ehrlich (Dalton)
Assist: Alexandra Davis (Horace Mann)
22’ Linda Jean Delfini (SI Academy)
49’ Joanna Miller (Hackley)
Assist: Sophie Alabaster (Hackley)
51’ Rosie Ehrlich (Dalton)
Assist: Joanna Miller (Hackley)
Independent Boys 1 vs. CHSAA Boys 0
42’ Miles Warren (UNIS)
Sunday, November 16
PSAL Girls 3 vs. Independent Girls 1
61’ Natalie Turner-Wyatt (Laguardia) 80’ Linda Jean Delfini (SI Academy)
Assist: Shareka Joseph (Thomas Jefferson)
78’ Margaret Edwards (Leon Goldstein)
Assist: Samantha O’Brien (James Madison)
79’ Samantha O’Brien (James Madison)
Assist: Margaret Edwards (Leon Goldstein)
Girls MVP: Natalie Turner-Wyatt (Laguardia)
PSAL Boys 3 vs. Independent Boys 0
52’ Nick Bienen-Esayian (Bronx Science)
Assist: Walter Medina (FDR)
64’ Walter Media (FDR)
64’ Rockeem Russell (Mott Haven)
Assist: Mikel Agaraj (Newcomers)
Boys MVP: Walter Medina (FDR)
Photos Courtesy of fotoahoy.com/NYC & Company