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sixth-grade St. Aidan's CYO soccer championship team
sixth-grade St. Aidan’s CYO soccer championship team

Honey Badgers Cap Season With Shutout
The GU12 Mineola Honey Badgers took on the Oceanside Inferno in the final game for both teams this season on Saturday, Nov. 15. The Honey Badgers offense jumped to a quick start, pressing Oceanside from the opening whistle. Midfielders Amber Nikolic and Charlotte Williams both sent dangerous crosses towards Mineola teammates Trista Bugalla and Sarah Faley but the Inferno defenders cleared them away from danger.

Oceanside found their legs and began to seize control of the game. Mineola keeper Jolie Ilchert and her defense, led by centerbacks Julia Nygaard and Sheila O’Mara, and fullbacks Victoria LoPiccolo, Julianna Anteri, Gabbie Flynn and Arianna Itri held the Inferno scoreless.
The scoreless game nearly had its first goal as the second half began, as Isabel Lopes’ fine defensive play and pass led to a scoring opportunity for Isabella Rivera, which the Oceanside keeper saved. Mineola’s consistent second half pressure would eventually pay off.

Midfielder Julia Rosati sent teammate Faley sprinting down the right side before passing to Bugalla, whose accurate cross found Brianna Werny. The talented Werny deked past an Inferno defender before driving a hard shot into the corner of the Oceanside goal for the game’s first score.

With midfielders Jessica Friedrich and Alessia Itri controlling the middle of the field, Mineola continued to turn aside the Oceanside attack. Mineola’s Maggie Caroddo, with five minutes remaining, made a solid defensive stop and then delivered the ball to Bugalla.

The creative Bugalla sent a crisp pass to teammate Nikolic, sending the speedy outside player sprinting in on goal, where she drove a blast past the diving Inferno keeper and sealed the Mineola win at 2-0.

The victory capped a remarkable season for the Honey Badgers. After losing their first two games, the team rebounded to finish with five straight shutouts and a tie to secure a second place finish.

Mineola FC Loses One, Ties One
The BU11 Mineola FC squad, coming off a terrific draw against a solid Oceanside team a week earlier, used first half goals by Liam Russelman and Liam Going to head into halftime even at two goals each with a talented Bellmore team on Saturday, Nov.15. Russelman nearly gave his team the lead in the second half, but his penalty kick was saved by the Bellmore keeper and the rebound kicked wide by Ryan Driscoll. Bellmore’s late goal would be enough for a 3-2 victory over Mineola.

Mattheus Silva scored two goals against the Garden City Cosmos in the season finale for both teams. Silva’s first goal was a one-time blast off a perfect feed from teammate Peter Murphy. Mineola keeper Andrew Pizzardi kept his team in the game with several good saves, as Mineola and Garden City finished tied at 2-2.

Mini-Mustangs Stop Predators
The GU16 Mineola Mini-Mustangs finished their season with an offensive outburst that led to four first-half goals against a skillful RVC Predators team on Sunday, Nov. 16. Christen Patalano and Gretchen Keller scored early in the half directly off corner kicks, and teammate Allison Lamonica added two more scores before the midway point. After an own-goal deflection that eluded Mineola keeper Fran Chavez, RVC began to press Mineola’s defense, which was led by Brianna Lopes and Jillian Palma.

Eventually, a counter-attack by Mineola led to a fifth goal. Katie Russelman slid a pass across the top of the box to Sam Lima, who skillfully one-timed the cross into the back of the RVC net for the final score of the season. Mineola finished at 4-4-1 and in fourth place in their division.

Hat Trick Propels St Aidan Sixth Graders
Ten minutes into the sixth-grade CYO soccer championship game between Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Aidan’s, Luke Sommese, having started at center-back, asked his coach if he could move to the striker position on Nov. 16. The talented St. Aidan player explained that he “felt as if he was going to have a big game at striker” if he were moved to that position. Minutes after re-entering the game at his desired position, Sommese jumped on a loose ball in front of the Lourdes net and drove home the first goal of the game.

The talented Lourdes team traded offensive opportunities with St. Aidan for much of the first half and the score remained 1-0 at the midway point. St. Aidan’s commitment to giving it their all for their first title was rewarded shortly after the second half began.

Co-captain Dylan Haase chased a ball into the corner where he skillfully eluded two Lourdes defenders before driving a terrific cross in front of the Lourdes goal. Sommese timed it perfectly and dove into the cross with a beautiful, hard header to redirect the ball into the back of the net.
Immediately after the restart, Sommese was at it again, pressuring the Lourdes defense and in a fantastic individual effort, tapped a ball free from the diving Lourdes keeper near the edge of the penalty area. Sommese then deftly eluded the keeper and an on-rushing defender before cutting in front of the goal and tapping home his third straight score.

Sommese’s striker teammates Massimo Fuduli and Ryan Burke would soon combine for another goal, with Burke slamming home a rebound in front of the opposing keeper. Haase would finish the scoring late in the half, sliding home a shot from just inside the penalty box, completing the scoring at 5-0.

Throughout the game, St. Aidan’s played terrific defense, especially in the middle of the field. Center-back William Winski starred for St. Aidan, controlling the flow of the game and constantly turning aside the impressive attack from Lourdes. Winski’s defensive mates Luke Sherry, Kieran Gilbert, Kevin Morrison and Eddie Gustafson had strong games for St. Aidan’s in front of keeper John Flemm. Center-midfielder and co-captain Liam Russelman, along with Colin Fisch and Aidan Scott, contributed to a solid possession attack, especially in the second half. The championship victory completed a special season for St. Aidan’s that saw them finish with an undefeated 12-0 record.

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