Simplicity helps Friends Academy reach state final four

Friends Academy's Jon Nierenberg reacts after scoring against Friends Academy's Jon Nierenberg reacts after scoring against Southold in the Long Island Class C boys soccer championship game. (Nov. 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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This season, like all his previous 30 seasons at Friends Academy, coach Marshall Lindner keeps it simple with his players.

"The key is team offense and team defense," the boys soccer coach said. "The defenders have to help out on offense and the offense has to come back and help out on the defensive end."

Doing both for the Quakers is Jon Nierenberg, who scored two of Friends Academy's five first-half goals in the win over Southold, a game the senior started at forward, before playing in the back on defense in the second half.

Friends will play Lake George in the Class C state semifinals at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Middletown High School.

"In the beginning of the season, we knew we had the weapons," Nierenberg said. "We just had to figure out the lineup."

Having senior midfielder Andrew Stingi on board has certainly helped Friends Academy move past last season's disappointing loss to Port Jefferson in the Long Island title game.

Stingi and Nierenberg each had a goal and an assist in the victory over Haldane.

"We've put in a lot of first-half goals because we don't want that losing feeling," Stingi said of the Quakers, which has scored 34 of its 50 goals this season in the first half, including postseason. "Honestly, it starts in practice. Everyone doesn't want to win for themselves. It's a fighter's mentality we have as a team."

FRIENDS ACADEMY (11-1-2)

Class C

Playoffs

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Beat Southold in the Long Island Championship, 5-1, on Nov. 4.

Beat Haldane in the Southeast Regional final, 4-0, on Nov. 9.

Top players

Jon Nierenberg, senior, forward/midfielder/defender

Brandon Rosenbaum, junior, goalkeeper

Max Heffron, junior, defender

Samer Bendary, senior, defender

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