Game Faces

Nov. 6-12, 2003
Game Faces
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Catholic high school boys soccer team wrap up seasons

When Seton Catholic Central fell to Southern Cayuga in the Section IV Class B Championship it marked the final loss for Catholic school teams in this region, concluding a season that was very successful for teams ranging from Syracuse to Utica to Binghamton.

Seton Finally Falls Seton Catholic Central concluded another successful soccer campaign Saturday, but fell just short of a sectional championship when the Saints were defeated by Southern Cayuga on the Oneonta Soccer Hall of Fame fields. The top seed in that section’s tournament, the Saints concluded their season with a 14-2 record overall, and a 16-4 record including Southern Tier Athletic Conference Tournament play and the sectional tournament. Seton CC coach Bob Eckler noted that his Saints side had dominated the game, but had conceded three fast breaks to the Yankees, who spent most of the game simply packing their personnel inside the defensive third. “We dominated the game,” Eckler said flatly. Courtesy of an equalizer by striker Mike Aingworth, the contenders went into the half tied 1-1. But another breakaway in the second half resulted in defeat.

He also said that early in the game what perhaps could have been called a hard foul went without a whistle in the penalty box, which established the tone for a physical game inside the box. “It’s hard for the seniors every time,” Eckler said. “I said to them that in a few years you’re not going to think about this one loss, you’re going to think about the 16 that you won.” Eckler said, “This may sound strange, but I’m not a win-oriented coach.”

He qualified that by saying he tries to give his players a good experience with scholastic athletics by stressing fun and team building. He elaborated that he tries to let players know where they stand with him, helps them set goals, and then helps them reach those goals. “After that, the winning takes care of itself,” he said. In seven years at the helm of the Saints’ program, Eckler has accumulated 89 wins with his team playing against much larger schools in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference. In order to get to the championship tilt, Seton CC first defeated Elmira-Notre Dame 5-2 and then Marathon in the semi-final round 4-0.

CBA Soccer Concludes Another Solid Season

After bursting out of the starting gate with a Section III Championship in its first season among Class A’s, the Christian Brothers Academy varsity boys soccer team has settled back into the pack somewhat. Somewhat. CBA maintains an enrollment equal to that of a Class C school but has managed to sustain a tradition of excellence in soccer playing against the section’s largest schools and keeping what must be among the region’s most challenging non-league schedules.

This season, the Brothers wrapped up with a 10-3-1 record in Onondaga High School League-Colonial American play and a 13-5-1 record overall. Seeded fourth in the Section III Class A Tournament, the Brothers final game was last Friday when they lost to No. 5 Cicero-North Syracuse 1-0. CBA coach Joe Papaleo said that while it was a well-played game, his only disappointment was that C-NS seemed “to want it just a little bit more…and it showed in the 50-50 balls.” Patrick Overton led the team in goals with 10, but Papaleo stressed that his impact is more strongly felt in his marking despite a slight 5-foot-6 frame. “He’s the best man-to-man marker in the league — period,” Papaleo said.

Against Fayetteville-Manlius, for instance, Papaleo charged Overton with neutralizing J.D. Gruenwald. Against Liverpool, he was assigned to lethal striker Dan Stevens. Against certain teams, Overton was given free reign to locate the opponent’s top player. Papaleo said that if he were to cite a player for his achievement and improvement during the season, it would be senior midfielder Colin Conroy.

The Brothers’ all-league selections included midfielders Tom LaClair and Karim Habayeb, as well as Overton for first-team honors. Senior striker Mitchell Walker and junior midfielder JJ Pelligra were selected to the second team. In addition to taking to the field against such strong soccer programs and Fayetteville-Manlius and Liverpool in league play, the Brothers also invited St. Joe from the Buffalo area and Aquinas from Rochester to their home tournament, falling to both. Both of those programs finished the regular season ranked among the top 20 teams in the state. Aquinas finished as the No. 1 team among Class A schools in New York. “I’m not in the mood to play teams that we’re going to beat 6-0,” Papaleo said in defense of the rigorous non-league competition. “Also, the kids get more excited about playing teams like St. Joe’s and Aquinas.” Papaleo was pleased with his team’s overall performance. Among teams that he considers similar to the Brothers such as Fulton or East Syracuse-Minoa, CBA went 4-1-1 according to Papaleo’s estimation. He says that what his team needs to do to get to the next level, however, is get a quality win over a top team such as Liverpool or F-M.

Bishop Ludden Rolls To Sectional Final

Seeded No. 4 in the Section III Class B Tournament, Bishop Ludden collected three wins over Skaneateles, Holland Patent, and Marcellus before finally falling to neighborhood rival Westhill 1-0 in the final. Ludden accumulated a 11-7 record over the course of the season and were seeded fourth in the tournament.

Notre Dame Defeated In Semifinal

Utica-Notre Dame fell 2-0 to No. 5-seed Tully in the Section III Class C Tournament Semifinal last week. In the first round of the tournament, the 8-7-2 Jugglers, seeded 13th, upset No. 4 Mohawk.

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