“Structured, disciplined and reliable on the field,” coach Adam Goldstein said, listing the attributes that he has drilled into the Stuyvesant boys’ soccer team throughout this season. It seems that focusing on these aspects of the game has brought suitable rewards for the team, which feels that this might be the year they go farther into the playoffs than ever before.
The success of the season was most evident in a game that the Ballerz played against Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) High School on Friday, October 10 at Riverside Park. The game was a hard fought battle in which grit and hustle was evident on both sides. Stuyvesant attempted to pressure the MLK defense in the first half and subsequently played defense when pressured in the second half. The game ended in a scoreless draw. Although this outcome may not seem spectacular on paper, MLK is a nationally ranked team that has been city champions for the last 10 years.
Ultimately, though, what the game really proves is that the Stuyvesant team has the potential to beat the two top ranked teams in the city that are obstructing their championship hopes: Beacon High School and MLK. “We’ve gotten very close to beating both teams,” senior Alexandros Kaliontzakis said. “I believe we can beat them in the playoffs.” Kaliontzakis’s statement accurately reflects the general sentiment of the rest of the team. Goldstein believes that beating these teams is a matter of “overcoming psychological barriers.”
Other than this, the team will have to focus on the aspects of their game that have brought them to this point in the season. One of those things is the leadership of captains Andrew Ermogenous, Dylan Levy and Andres Fernandez. Goldstein has nothing but praise for them, citing that they are “great communicators and motivators off the field” in addition to their contributions on the field. The captains have accepted position changes in order to help the team work better as a whole. Captain and senior Andrew Ermogenous said, “All of [the captains’] personalities kind of mesh together and it works out really well.”
Although Goldstein feels that the team is filled with a “massive amount of young talent,” his coaching has also obviously helped this team accomplish its turnaround in the last two seasons. His focus on the structure, cohesion and strategy of the team as a whole rather than just the skills of individual players has helped to create a team that is now ranked third in the city according to fiveborosports.com—a New York City high school sports outlet that was launched this past September. According to Ermogenous, “[Coach] has made us very disciplined. When he’s pleased he tells us and makes us feel good, but when he’s not he tells us too and pushes us to work harder.” This work ethic can only result in a better team, one that is prepped and ready for whatever is to come in the playoffs.
The Stuyvesant soccer team is looking for their city championship this season. They have played in the top soccer division all year and have played “among the best teams in the nation” according to Goldstein (MLK and Beacon are both nationally ranked teams). Stuyvesant entered the postseason with a regular season record of 5-4. After winning their first playoff game 2-0 against Midwood High School on Monday, October 27, they must next face a much tougher opponent, Francis Lewis High School, in their quest to be city champions.
“Some of the guys on this team play like city champs every game,” Ermogenous said.