Switching Dylan Klein, Billy Chiappone to forward turned out brilliant
Carle Place boys soccer coach Allen Foraker was fairly certain it would work.
Before this season started, Foraker decided to play Dylan Klein and Billy Chiappone as forwards. They both played as midfielders in 2012. The reasoning behind the move was simple: Carle Place wanted offense.
Offense is what Carle Place received. Klein, Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year, led Nassau with 30 points. Chiappone was to Klein what Robin is to Batman. He scored nine goals and had 10 assists.
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The duo seemingly complimented one another perfectly. Chiappone, who is about 6-2, was tremendous in the air, held the ball well, and had the ability to place the ball on Klein's foot. Klein, a few inches shorter than Chiappone, was able to take on any defender one-on-one, drive wide, cut back and look for the cross.
"This year, instead of creating in the midfield, we were asked to finish," Chiappone said. "Dylan's crosses worked every time and he knew he had a big target as well. It was part of the reason why we got to where we wanted to be."
When Carle Place arrived at Middletown High School for the state tournament, Klein stole the show. He scored three goals and had three assists during the state Class B tournament, and propelled Carle Place to its first boys soccer state title.
"To be a senior and to have never before won a boys soccer state championship in school history, and then do it . . . it's fantastic," Klein said. "I know I get goals and I get assists but to be able to say that I did that to help a team win a state championship means much more to me."
Carle Place (19-0-1) was the state's only undefeated boys soccer team because of a stingy defense, as well. Matt Carr emerged as one of Long Island's top defenders and goalkeeper John Guzzo led Nassau with 12 shutouts in the regular season and added two more in the playoffs, including one in the state final.
Defender Eddie Cruz was a huge presence during the state tournament. Running from one end of the field to the other, Cruz made a pivotal tackle to preserve a win in the state semifinal.
"I think one of best parts of our team was that our defense was great and we played a good style of ball possession," Carr said.
The one thing that Foraker said concerned him heading into the season was who would patrol his midfield. Sophomore John Aydogan, the only non-senior starter, proved it would not be an issue. He had the winning assist in the regional final.
In fact, Carle Place was a team that many opposing coaches said had no weakness. And when the Frogs arrived back at school following the state tournament, the last period of the day was dedicated to the school's most successful boys soccer team.
"The next day after we won the state title, the school had an assembly for us during last period," Guzzo said. "The whole school was there and the band. It was pretty sick to realize how much this meant."