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State boys soccer preview: Calhoun, Amityville, Chaminade eye titles

Calhoun teammates celebrate after a goal in the

Calhoun teammates celebrate after a goal in the first half of the Nassau Class AA boys soccer semifinals against Hicksville at Cold Spring Harbor on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: James Escher

Three weeks ago, Calhoun’s resume lacked a signature win.

The Colts had dropped their regular-season meetings with Hicksville and Oceanside by two goals apiece and had not beaten a team that would earn a seed better than No. 8 (Valley Stream Central) in the Nassau Class AA boys soccer playoffs.

Well, things certainly have changed.

The Colts are Long Island champions. They will face New Rochelle Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on Middletown High School’s turf field for a spot in Sunday’s state final.

Teams do not earn that opportunity without beating somebody, and, boy, did the Colts (13-2) beat somebody.

First, the third-seeded Colts knocked off No. 6 Oceanside in overtime in the quarterfinals. Then they upset 2015 county champion and second-seeded Hicksville in the semifinals and No. 1 Massapequa, which had won or shared nine county titles since Calhoun last won in 2001, to advance to the Long Island final.

In that game, Eric Stewart scored twice to defeat Brentwood, 3-2, in overtime. The Indians (16-3-2) have won seven Long Island titles, including six since 2005.

“It was an incredible run,” said coach Jim Cantley, whose program has never won a state title. “Teams like Brentwood and Massapequa, they have a history of greatness, a mystique about them. So it can be intimidating, but our guys, especially the captains, they would speak up at practices and meetings and keep our confidence and belief in ourselves.”

Those captains -- Stewart, Joe Thomann and Michael Harten -- have also played significant roles on the field. But the Colts have received notable contributions from several others, especially sophomores Alex Sipos (11 goals and five assists) and Ryan Hilke, who scored the overtime winners in playoff games against Oceanside and Massapequa.

Yes, the Colts not only have ousted several prestigious programs. They also have won three of their four playoff games in overtime, with a sophomore scoring the winning goal in two of them.

“Everyone feels great that we won,” Harten said, “but I don’t think it hit everyone that we won like this.”

New Rochelle (10-4-4) has been on a special run of its own. The Huguenots from Westchester entered the Section I playoffs as the No. 8 seed and upset No. 1 Mamaroneck and No. 5 Scarsdale on penalty kicks before dominating No. 3 Arlington, 3-0, in the championship.

Cantley said his players reached out to friends from their club teams for information on New Rochelle while bussing home from the Long Island championship at Diamond in the Pines. Harten said they had little luck but did not care.

“You don’t focus on what the other team is going to do,” Harten said. “You just play your game and do what you can do.”

Class A

For the second straight year, Amityville is headed upstate.

The Warriors, who defeated Glen Cove on penalty kicks in the Long Island championship, won the first state title in school history last year. They will face Somers (13-2-1) in a semifinal Saturday at 8:30 a.m. on Middletown High School’s turf field.

“Hopefully we can bring the title back to Amityville, back to back,” defender Carlos Ponce said. “We’re going to go up there and give it our all.”

The Warriors are 15-4-1 after losing four of their first six games. They have allowed one goal in their last 10 games.


Chaminade went five years between appearances in the state semifinals, but there was no layoff after its 2015 run to the championship. The Flyers, who defeated St. Anthony’s in the NSCHSAA final, will return to St. John’s Friday for a 6:15 p.m. semifinal date with Fordham Prep (19-0-0).

Chaminade (16-3-2) defeated Canisius, another semifinalist, in last year’s state title match.


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