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ST. ANTHONY'S HIGH SCHOOL, NY Franciscan Brothers

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ST. ANTHONY'S ATHLETICS

ST. ANTHONY'S HIGH SCHOOL, NY Franciscan Brothers

ST. ANTHONY'S ATHLETICS

ST. ANTHONY'S HIGH SCHOOL, NY Franciscan Brothers

Game Summaries & Headlines.

Headline

3 weeks ago

Hold Your Head Up High

 

Hold Your Head Up High

The Saint Anthony’s Varsity Boys soccer team concluded their season in early November, and there’s no doubt that its members, returning or not, will look back on this year fondly. Soccer is usually an unforgiving sport that seemingly hands out endless bumps and setbacks, but the near-40-man roster was blessed with tons of good fortune and performance over the course of the 2021 season. The Friars ended their phenomenal regular season with an 18-1 record, their best finish since 2017as crafted by Head Coach Don Corrao and assistant Mike Roecklein, in only their second season together.

To be involved with the Friar soccer program as a player or supporter this year must have felt great going into the start of the season, with virtually all restrictions so prominent in 2020 lifted. There were a large number of returning members from last season’s team, and they had everything to prove and fight for after losing the league championship. Judging by how that team played together, in no sense did they disappoint.

Going 18-1 in soccer speaks volumes to a team’s skill and focus, but what was most heartwarming for any fan who saw these Friars in action this year was how much they enjoyed themselves before each home match. Coach Corrao decided to make this year one to remember, and wanted his players to have more spirit and faith in the team than ever. He decided the varsity team would line up before kickoff at their home games to recite “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Peacemakers, famous for its fondness among the fans of Liverpool F.C of the English Premier League.  The team had many other rituals, such as the ‘Jugular’ and ‘Dialing In’ which saw themselves as favorites among the players, but the song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” found itself on the scarves and posters at games, and more importantly, in the hearts of all the Friar supporters. These heartwarming events as well as many others helped the team bond, succeed, and create leaders.

Either by example or character, some members of the team proved themselves as the most venerable players in the program. This year’s team was filled with talent but select Friars; Zack Beach, Dylan Cotter, Sean Louis, and Julian Wicik were recognized for their uncanny skill, character and leadership, earning them top honors, being named captains. 

Sr. Zach Beach

Beach was an on-field leader, who kept the team’s morale, possession, and goal difference up as he was unrelenting in transition and constant danger to any opponent on either side of the ball. 

Cotter, a fan and team-favorite, was forced to sit his second year in a row with a knee injury, putting him in the role of ‘player-coach’. This was not an issue for him, as he is always the loudest person on the sideline, and there is nothing that he did not do to motivate the team and get the fans excited. Unfortunately, both him and Beach were sidelined for the League Championship after Beach came down injured during a late season match versus Chaminade. 

All year, Julian Wicik was the shining image of leading by example; being loud and demanding in a positive way with his teammates in order to get the best out of them each game. A dynamic and electric attacker who perfectly used his 5-10 frame and shiftiness to take advantage of any mismatched or unprepared defender, creating instant offense for the Friars more times than one can count. 

Finally, Sean Louis, the only defender among the captains. Played and acted with so much fire that opposing attackers often found it near impossible to play around him, and even then had to deal with the Friars’ quick and prudent defensive line that was only more invigorated due to their last man back.

Sr. Joseph Cervini

The team captains were only partial factors for the energy brought by the team, as this year the Varsity boys were not shy of entertainment at any moment. On paper, the team looked unrelentingly dangerous – with quick moving triangles formed by either Dominic Algieri, Wicik and John Oualaalou on the left and/or Jakob Friedman, Christopher Thorsen and Joseph Cervini on the right. When you look at the numbers, you would believe that this team was nearly unstoppable on the offensive end. Jake Friedman led the entire league in G/A (Goals and Assists) with 27 total, and Algieri led the league in scoring with 17. Many other Friars were high on the board as well, Wicik had 9 goals, Thorsen with 7, and Ferde Carillo with 6. 

The boys created these phenomenal stat lines in the many shutout wins they had this past fall. They had 12 clean sheets, courtesy of goalkeepers Irwin Ramirez (2023) and Mark Aliscio (2022), who split their minutes this year and recorded 29 and 24 saves respectively. The team had 10 games as well where they won by 4 or more goals, all of those coming with shutouts defensively. 

Sr. Dominic Algieri

The amazing pool of players that are graduating this year find themselves leaving a legacy that includes an overall record of 25-8-1, playing through COVID procedures, and having the determination to bring home the CHSAA Title to the Friar Nation. This exceptional generation that is now graduating was supported by 16 strong underclassmen who will now move into bigger roles than they could ever imagine in 2022. The dawn of the upcoming season will see this group be stronger than ever as they come back from the 0-1 loss vs Chaminade in the league Championship. 

With so much talent and competition all over the field, there are a good amount of underclassmen who worked their way up to key rotational players and even instant starters by the end of the season. Coach Corrao says that a certain four players have worked up their role during this year and that they will be four of the most vital and exciting players for years to come; Justin Alves, Joe Joannou, Oualaalou, and Thorsen.

So. John Oualaalou

Alves and Joannou were solid rotational players in the defense, and Joannou even made his way into being the starting Center-back in the league championship game. Thorsen and Oualaalou were an absolutely class midfield partnership, starting alongside each other for nearly the whole season. Both put up great numbers, as Thorsen netted nine goals on the season, and Oualaalou dished out four assists to go along with some phenomenal all-around playmaking. 

Specifically focusing on Oualaalou and Joannou, they are very important and exciting members of the program, being the only sophomores on  Varsity. They both play fearlessly, and not once seemed to cower at the pace and physicality of varsity level soccer, always making more than enough crafty passes and great tackles. It goes without saying that these two will have a key role in the program for the next two years; Oualaalou had to say, “Next fall our team will take on many new players. I can only hope that I can be for them what the juniors and seniors have been for me.”

Going from September 2nd to November 7th, is a long journey for a high school athlete, and the Friars made sure that they cherished their last practices of the year, and for many, their last practices as Saint Anthony’s soccer players. During the middle of the last week, the coaches laid back and allowed the players to dress down for practice but with the help of the on-field leaders, the boys stayed laser focused on the final.

This was a quality year for everyone involved in the team and although they didn’t close it out in the way they wanted to, I doubt anyone would wish to take it back. The soccer program will be turning a new page with the departure of the Class of 2022, one consisting of championship-level players for three years and players who have left their mark on the league as a whole. Although it was a tough goodbye in their final year, they didn’t disappoint in keeping their production up and their fans proud.

By: Eamon Bevan is a sophomore writer for Scoreboard at St. Anthony’s High School. He is a member of the JV Soccer team and is involved in several clubs including Franciscan Youth Ministry.


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