Though they put up a good fight, the Mineola boys varsity soccer team fell 3-2 to South Side in the Nassau Class A semifinals at Adelphi University on Friday, Oct. 28.
The team headed into the semifinals with a very strong regular season behind them, finishing with a record of 10-2 and capturing their first conference title since 2006.
After a tough 1-0 defeat to Friends Academy at home, the team responded with wins against Island Trees, West Hempstead, and Locust Valley to finish the season atop conference AB-III. The Island Trees game was particularly important because the Mustangs came back from a 2-1 halftime deficit to win 4-2 in dramatic fashion with second half goals from Christian Melendez, Justin Bracken and Michael Rodrigues. Rodrigues added two more goals to his season tally against West Hempstead in a 3-0 victory.
The last game of the regular season, Senior Recognition Day, saw Mineola host the Falcons from Locust Valley. The Mustangs clinched the conference title on home turf with a 5-1 victory. Senior standout Dimas Cabrera added two goals to his county leading tally to finish the regular season with 17. Junior central defender, Flabio Anjo, netted his first goal of the season on a perfectly placed shot off a free kick from 20 yards out. Senior Andi Tuti and sophomore Christian Melendez closed out the scoring for the home team.
Individual highlights for the season include the county high 17 goals for Dimas Cabrera and the outstanding Mustang defense of Flabio Anjo, Brandon Mendes, Andrew Ariza, Anthony Abbatiello, and goalkeeper Manny Mirao that have only allowed 12 goals all season and have recorded six shutouts in 12 league games. On the offensive side of the ball the team has shown that it is not a one man show. Along with Cabrera’s 17 goals the Mustangs have had 12 different players find the back of the opponents net. Senior captain Luis Tinoco has notched eight goals to go along with four assists. Senior forward Justin Bracken has scored six goals himself and dished off five assists. Other offensive producers include senior captain Brandon Mendes and senior midfielder Michael Rodrigues notching two goals and five goals respectively while dishing off five assists each. Senior Andi Tuti has added three goals of his own.
Other contributors on the offensive side of the ball include John Keyes, Ulices Saavedra, Erick Marquez, Christian Melendez, Jose Erazo, and Kevin Lavrado. The team was led by Coach Paul Pereira, in his 20th year as varsity coach.