The boys’ soccer season got off to a fast start at Lynbrook in 2016 as the Owls picked up victories in four of their first five matches. But Lynbrook earned just one win the rest of the way, and fell short of a playoff berth for the third consecutive season.
With relatively few seniors on the roster and an unforgiving schedule, the 2017 season will be a year to rebuild at Lynbrook. The Owls compete in Nassau Conference A2. Lawrence, Glen Cove, and Plainedge are expected to be among the teams fighting for league supremacy.
Lynbrook’s season began on a positive note with a 3-2 win over St. Dominic’s in the opening round of the annual Mustang Cup tournament at Mineola High School. Taner Ceylan took a throw in, beat the defenders, and put the ball past the keeper in the second overtime period to give Lynbrook the win. The Owls got first-half goals from junior striker Peter Hristodoulou and Gavin Reid.
Lynbrook (1-2) fell to Mineola in the tournament final by a score of 3-0. Keeper Sal Cimato, who made a pair of brilliant stops on free kicks against St. Dominic’s, had six saves in the final. Cimato was named to the All-Tournament team.
Coach Josh Berlin, who is assisted by Chris Caramore, understands to jell as a team will take time. “With just seven seniors on the team and many newcomers, learning how to communicate and anticipate isn’t going to happen overnight,” Berlin said. “There are going to be mistakes made. The guys need to be able to correct their mistakes and not repeat them. They’re a cohesive group. It’s just going to take time for them to learn how to play with one another.”
The strength of the team is in the middle of the field. Reid and Ceylan, who are both senior captains, are both gritty midfielders who control the ball and look to generate offense. Reid earned All-Conference recognition as a sophomore. Ceylan scored nine goals as a junior.
Senior Jon Baltes, junior Simon Riera, and four sophomores, Alex Schachinger, Sam de Menezes, Marco Vinceslao, and Ben Krcic round out a deep group of midfielders.
Lynbrook’s defensive unit is young and inexperienced. Senior captain Sam Tucker anchors the group at center back. Juniors Brandon Pekale and Dan Neissing, and freshman Tom de Menezes join Tucker on the backline. The defense gets depth from junior Kevin Donahue. Juniors Lucas Chapparo and Spencer Chrein hope to contribute.
Cimato will likely see a lot of shots, but the hardworking junior is up to the challenge. Senior Aldin Cekic saw most of the action in net, last season, but an injury has him on the sideline.
“As always, the goal is to try to make the playoffs,” Berlin said. “We love the work ethic. These guys never give less than everything they have. They’re doing all that it takes to try to improve.”
Lynbrook hosts defending Nassau Class A champion Glen Cove next Monday at 4:30 p.m.