O’Neil Spencer is known for his inspirational messages, but there was no hidden meaning in Friday’s words of wisdom before the PSAL Class B boys soccer semifinals.
“This is it, the moment we’ve been waiting for,” the John F. Kennedy coach bellowed.
JFK progressively got stronger and pulled out a 2-1 overtime win against Queens Vocational at John Dewey HS, booking a ticket into Sunday’s final against Washington Irving at Randall’s Island.
“I’m overly excited right now,” Spencer said. “This is the best feeling ever. We’ve only been able to make it to the semifinals, we’ve never gotten this far though. We have to go out and continue to do what we’ve done all season long. We’re a very good unit.”
Queens Vocational (13-3-1) jumped in front in the 13th minute when senior forward John Velasquez put the ball past Kennedy goalkeeper Mingoro Fanny.
The Tigers maintained their lead until the 72nd minute when junior defender Reindorf Kyei scored on a rebound from a missed shot off Stephen Owusu’s corner kick.
“We played well today,” Queens Vocational coach Anthony Ali said. “We made some defensive blunders that ultimately cost us the game. This was a very competitive, hard fought game. We played very well all season and this is definitely heartbreaking.”
Finally, midway through the second 10-minute overtime period, Bazoumana Coulibaly made a sharp pass to Kafoumba Doumbia who scored the Golden Goal winner for JFK (16-1-0), which defeated back-to-back PSAL ‘B’ champions, Hunter College HS and Queens Voc, in consecutive playoff wins.
“This is amazing,” said Fanny, who made 10 saves. “We need to play good from the very beginning if we want to win the championship. This team was very good. It was a challenge for us. We fought hard and were able to win.”
Washington Irving 2, Millennium 0: Itamar Aly Pereira and Batnyam Ganbold scored second half goals for Washington Irving (15-1-0), which upset the favored Phoenix to reach the final.
“They played great today,” Washington Irving coach Mark Hayward said. “Everyone had a job to do and they all did it. If we work hard and play like we did today, we have a good chance of winning the championship.”
Millennium fell to 13-2-0.
“We will look back at this season as an overall success,” Millennium coach Chris O’Neill said. “Right now it’s hard because we fought so hard and wanted it so bad, but we’re a young team and we’ll come out strong next year.”