The Peglegs Fall in Valiant Effort

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Issue 3, Volume 109

By Aki Yamaguchi, Elias Ferguson 

The Peglegs faced their division rivals Martin Luther King Jr. High School (MLK), tied with them atop the division with a record of 1-0. Trying to claim sole possession of first place, the Peglegs were looking for a victory. Alas, MLK eventually triumphed with a second-half goal to win the game 2-1.

But in their first game at Pier 40 in over a decade, the Peglegs deftly defeated Louis Brandeis 6-0 for their second win of the season. The team played Brandeis again two days later, winning again with 5-0 this time. Their most recent game, against the Manhattan Center for Science and Math, was a comfortable 3-0 win. The Peglegs now sit in third in their division with a record of 4-3.

The Peglegs’ biggest rival this year is MLK. MLK’s soccer team has captured most of the sport’s championships for the past 20 years, dominating the boys’ A Division. However, the score gap every year has lessened, with last year’s losses being 4-0 and 5-0 and the previous year’s being two 7-0 losses.

Once again, the Peglegs narrowed the gap between the two teams. Senior Sean Takada gave the Peglegs the lead in the first half, but MLK broke through just before halftime and brought it to 1-1 at the break. In the second half, MLK broke the deadlock with another goal and held on to grind out a 2-1 victory. MLK managed 23 shots on goal against the Peglegs, but even more impressive was the Peglegs’ goalkeeper, junior Stefan Soroban, who kept all but two out of the net.

In the season-opening 6-0 win over Manhattan Center for Science and Math, Takada shined again, finding the net twice and assisting once. Juniors Jeremy Moller, Benjamin Avrahami, and Zameer Hoque and sophomore Amane Anderson each added a goal of their own. The Peglegs managed 19 shots on target, scoring six and forcing the opposing goalkeeper to make 10 saves. The Peglegs’ own goalkeeper, senior Feras Roumie, faced only three shots, saving all three.

This season has begun on an optimistic note with a one-score game against MLK. Last year, the team went 8-2, with losses only conceded to MLK. With another match against the school looming on October 8, the Peglegs have time to regroup and strategize a win against MLK. A stingy defense which only allowed two goals thus far in the season will be a key for success.

“We were all playing our butts off, and the communication and focus [were] on point the entire game,” said senior and co-captain Jeffrey Shen, who believes the close game was a result of the team’s group effort. For future games, the Peglegs will look to improve their stamina and positioning. However, the narrow loss might signal a change of fortune for the Peglegs, who are looking to end their postseason woes and break through to the second round.

The Peglegs cruised past Brandeis, netting six goals. Senior and co-captain Kevin Mitchell impressed, as he scored twice and was also a mainstay in the defensive aspect of the game. He constantly fought to win the ball in key areas and managed to mediate the minor threat Brandeis posed to the Peglegs’ defense. Roumie was equal to all of the 10 shots he faced. Brandeis managed to force a couple of good saves out of Roumie, but he was able to keep them at bay.

The home win against Brandeis marked the beginning of a turnaround, with the Peglegs winning their past three games. The Peglegs’ stubborn defense has been crucial in this recent run of good form, with only seven shots on goal making it through in the past two games. None of the seven went in, as goalkeepers Soroban and Roumie combined to preserve the clean sheet in both games.

In the consecutive game against Brandeis, five players each scored a goal: Takada, Mitchell, Moller, and juniors Thibaud Roy and Yunje Chung. Also impressive was junior Nathan Cooper-Cook, who added two assists from right-back. Then in the game against Manhattan Center, freshmen Owen Yaggy and Moller and sophomore Elliot Bossi each netted once, resulting in a 3-0 win for the Peglegs.

Coach Miller owes the recent successes to the team’s changing playing style in recent games. “We've been more cohesive in the last three games. We went back to possessing the ball and short passes,” he said.

“[The team will focus] on winning [their] upcoming games and avenging the losses to Columbia and Irving,” Mitchell said after their wins against Brandeis. After claiming crucial wins, the Peglegs are in shape to fix their record and earn a high seed for playoffs.