Freshmen power Beacon back to 'A' finals
With a little bit of strategy and observation, Kevin Jacobs knew exactly what direction his team needed to start the game to finish with the advantage.
"Going against the wind in the first half was definitely a task," said the Beacon coach. "We saw how hard it was for Bronx Science in the first half and I asked the captains to start that way so we could finish with the wind to our backs and it worked out for us."
Like the Wolverines, who beat Bayside in the other semifinal, the Blue Demons advance to the PSAL Class A final after a slow first half to shut out Francis Lewis, 4-0, Friday at Grand Street Campus.
While Beacon, the defending city champions, controlled things early, neither team could seemingly beat the wind. About 15 minutes in, senior forward Jennifer Angione received the game's only yellow card and briefly left the action.
"I was a little frustrated with Jenny getting a yellow card so soon in the game. But she bounced back," Jacobs said. "I spoke to her just letting her know that you don't want to carry one for the game and be worrying about a second."
Angione responded in the 27th minute with a goal off an assist from Liza Kapelus that the Francis Lewis goalkeeper initially got a hand on, but the wind pushed it through.
"Tyler [Sloan] won it from a tackle and then I was yelling to her to give it to me because I was in good position," Angoinesaid. "I drove all the way and I saw the opening. It was funny because right afterward Liza came up to me and said, 'You scored going against the wind' because we were struggling at that point."
Freshman Emily Mendes was a force in the second half, getting her team going after the sluggish start. She put in an impressive goal in the 44th minute after after an initial shot was blocked. She scored again off a loose ball from the top of the box 20 minutes later.
"I didn't really know I was going to have this type of impact or even be starting at the beginning of the season. This is great," Mendes said. "The season went by so fast and I'm so happy we made it to the finals. And also I felt that we needed to do it for our seniors since they put so much heart and effort into the team."
The game's final goal in the 76th minute came from freshman Jane Huber off an assist from Desiree Nestor, putting Beacon (16-0-0) up 4-0.
Francis Lewis (14-1-0) head coach Jeovani Paredes was proud of how his team performed and commended the Blue Demons on their performance.
"These girls had a great run," he said. "I really wished they could have made it into the finals this year. They've been on a great run since they were freshmen making it into the semis and the quarters two years in a row. But it doesn't always happen the way you would like," said Paredes. "Beacon is a great team, the best team I've seen move the ball this season. You gotta give them credit, they're a great team."
After the match, Jacobs didn't mince words when he talked about his team's enthusiasm for a rematch against Bronx Science.
"This team is especially excited to be in the finals because there's a sense that there's unfinished business against Bronx Science," Jacobs said. "They're the only team to beat us this season. We just have a sense that we didn't play our best. My team understands that they could have done better and they wanted to play better."