Boys’ varsity soccer shoots for playoffs

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Boys’ varsity soccer shoots for playoffs

Sophomore Kyle Benson drives a ball up the field against Long Island Lutheran School. Under a new coach, Neil Jaggernauth, the boys' varsity soccer team has rallied around the production of younger players like Benson. The team looks to secure a spot in the NYSAIS playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

Sophomore Kyle Benson drives a ball up the field against Long Island Lutheran School. Under a new coach, Neil Jaggernauth, the boys' varsity soccer team has rallied around the production of younger players like Benson. The team looks to secure a spot in the NYSAIS playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

George Chang/Tower

Sophomore Kyle Benson drives a ball up the field against Long Island Lutheran School. Under a new coach, Neil Jaggernauth, the boys' varsity soccer team has rallied around the production of younger players like Benson. The team looks to secure a spot in the NYSAIS playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

George Chang/Tower

George Chang/Tower

Sophomore Kyle Benson drives a ball up the field against Long Island Lutheran School. Under a new coach, Neil Jaggernauth, the boys' varsity soccer team has rallied around the production of younger players like Benson. The team looks to secure a spot in the NYSAIS playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

Ethan Schlapp, Staff Writer

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Coming off a loss in the semifinals to the Hopkins School last year in the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) playoffs, the boys’ varsity soccer team hopes to eclipse last year’s six-win season.

The loss of graduated key players as well as the retirement of long-time Athletic Director Kevin Versen called into question whether the team would be able to play to the same standards that they had in previous years, especially after winning the 2016 FAA Championship only a few seasons ago.

However, rather then marveling over past accomplishments, the team’s newly-arrived coach Neil Jaggernauth is instead focused on the present.

Throughout his six-year coaching career where he spent time at Hackley School and The Windward School, Jaggernauth said he gained both experience as well as further understanding of the game. 

The transition to a new school has been easy for Jaggernauth, resulting in a gradual improvement of player performance on the field, especially the underclassmen, according to the coach. “They’re one of the strongest parts of our team,” Jaggernauth said of his group of young talents. 

Jaggernauth continued to praise the group of boys, noting that “They’re high character individuals.”  

 

“They’re all really talented,” said junior left back Julian Dennis when speaking of the younger players. He especially praised the play of sophomore attackers Wonjun Lee and Kyle Benson as well as midfielder Daniel Medina and goalkeeper Nate Dyott.

Although the gradual improvement and strong underclass play didn’t at first show success in the scorebook — the team went winless through their first four games — Jaggernauth believes there’s more to the story. “A shorter preseason compared to other schools” definitely contributed to their slow start, according to Jaggernauth. Unlike Hackley School’s two-week preseason, the Panthers had only a week to prepare before their first game. 

“We are playing really good soccer,we just need to keep believing in ourselves” junior Dominic Florian said after going winless through their first four matches.

After logging only one win through their first eight games, the team defeated Long Island Lutheran on Oct. 1, by a score of 5-1.  

The Panthers then competed  against the French American School, a team that had won their first five contests of their season. However,  Masters managed to win a close game by a score of 3-2, with sophomore Kyle Benson scoring a miracle corner kick in the closing minutes of the match.

After a one goal loss to the United Nations International School, the Panthers bounced back with a recent 2-1 win over Avenues on home turf. 

 

The team will face three more opponents in the regular season before possibly heading off to the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) playoffs.

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