The Start of a New Chapter for the Peglegs

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Issue 5, Volume 110

By Aki Yamaguchi, Shivali Korgaonkar 

For the first time in six years, the Stuyvesant Peglegs, the boys’ varsity soccer team, claimed their spot in the second round of the playoffs. Even as the underdogs, the boys, seeded 19th, defeated Benjamin N. Cardozo High School—seeded 14th—after a game-winning goal by senior Paul Yunje Chung. But this performance wasn’t good enough for this driven team.

Endless afternoons of practice had led up to their second-round playoff game where they needed to push their limits in order to win against the third seed, Brooklyn Tech. Even with junior and starter Amane Anderson injured from a recent game and the starting lineup needing adjustments, the team was ready. The game began; the immediate desire to win was displayed by both sides. Senior defenders Thibaud Roy, Lewis Woloch, Zameer Hoque, and Benjamin Avrahami provided the strong backbone the team clearly needed. Brooklyn Tech’s strong defense made it almost impossible for sophomore and forward Leo Rahn to break past the half-way line. Almost all of the Stuyvesant team was saturated in defense, which led to the Brooklyn Tech boys taking control of the field right away. However, in the last five minutes of the first half, Tech were able to chase past defenders and score. The Peglegs were down by one goal.

Though the goal was slightly discouraging, as the boys circled up during halftime, it was evident that they weren’t going to give up. They were riled up and ready to give Brooklyn Tech a fight.

As the second half progressed, the Peglegs began to lose their unity, as passes became sloppy and defensive support became obsolete. Along with these mistakes, a miscommunication led Tech to receive a penalty kick. Coaches, teammates, and spectators were all on the edge as senior goalie Stefan Sorobay attempted to psych the kicker out. The kicker remained calm and when the whistle was blown, he shot the ball into the bottom left corner while Sorobay dove right. 2-0 Tech.

The rest of the game flew by, and the Stuyvesant Peglegs reached the end of a long, difficult season after losing 3-0 to Brooklyn Tech.

Despite a disappointing game, in the grand scheme of things, the Peglegs were able to conquer everything they had desired. The progression of the team is evident in its ability to remain composed in high-risk situations such as those of playoffs. In their regular season, they were able to earn a draw against the notorious Beacon team, a goal nobody expected them to accomplish. In the first round of playoffs, being the underdogs didn’t discourage them; instead, it motivated them.

This team’s progression from last year is one they should all be very proud of after failing to make the playoffs last year.

Now, senior captains Henry Kotkin and Jeremy Moller seem to be focused on the future of this team. Losing 12 seniors, the Peglegs will once again have to restructure their team a tremendous amount in order to match this year’s success. One of their greatest losses will be Sorobay, who saved 57 shots this season, earning him a spot in the PSAL Mayor’s Cup game. He has been crucial in tightening up the defense in recent years, but he believes that the success can continue in the future. He says, “If they still want to compete on a level ground with someone of the city’s finest, they have to keep up the work ethic they have displayed and only go forward from there.” In addition to finding a goalkeeper, Moller says, “The key will be to develop chemistry and find a goal scorer.” With leading scorer Moller gone, the Peglegs will have to find someone to put the ball in the back of the net. At the same time, many offensive players will have to change positions and play defensively. All in all, the entire lineup will have to be rearranged by Coach Vincent Miller. The team will certainly look to leadership from Anderson, who was one of the top scorers on the team with eight goals. Though he was injured in the last game of the season, he will be back by next season to once again propel the team. Furthermore, the team has undergone such drastic changes recently when the class of 2018 had 10 graduating seniors. At the end of last year, after missing the playoffs cutoff, the Peglegs were looking in bad shape for this year’s season. However, they bounced back and overcame the obstacle of the first round of the playoffs, showing that nothing is ever over.

Despite these challenges, the next season is far from hopeless for the Peglegs. At the beginning of this season, many people were hesitant about the team’s prospects, but they have proven everybody wrong. Their passion and focus took them far, and who’s to say it can’t take them just as far next year. If Miller is able to elect captains as dedicated as Kotkin and Moller, then the Peglegs may just find themselves another successful season ahead. Kotkin says, “With the loss of 12 seniors, it’s definitely going to be a rebuilding year for the team, but they have the tools to make the playoffs again. The number one thing is that the team continues to play with the same fight and grit that we played with this year because that was our key to success.”