Commodores set sail on promising season
Joe Corrado isn’t quite ready to crown these Commodores, but the Bayside boys soccer coach can’t help but be excited about his team’s prospects this year.
After all, everyone is back from a young team that exceeded expectations a year ago and reached the PSAL Class A quarterfinals, its deepest postseason run since making the move up 10 years ago.
“We’re hoping for some good things this year,” said Corrado, unwilling to make a bold prediction.
A year ago, Bayside’s leading goal scorer (Santiago Moore) was a sophomore and the Commodores started a freshman (Mario Reyes) and sophomore (Danny Babar) in central defense.
The squad’s success – an 8-3-1 record which was good for second place in Queens A East and playoff wins against James Madison and Bronx Science – even surprised the players.
“I wasn’t expecting it. We did very good, scored a lot of goals,” Babar said. “This is our season, that’s what I believe. I want to win it all.”
While Corrado keeps his opinions on his team’s chances close to the vest, he couldn’t bottle up the excitement of returning every significant player from last year’s team.
“The fact we didn’t lose anyone is tremendous,” Corrado said. “They all got a year older, every kid out here plays on a club team so they’ve been working over the summer.”
Also returning for Bayside is Marcello Russo, a strong and technically gifted versatile senior who can play anywhere on the field.
“We’re more experienced, we played a whole year with each other and now that we’re older I think we’re going to have an easier time with the competition than last year,” Russo said. “We said from Day One we want to take it all the way this year.”
Junior Andres Huerfano, a starting center midfielder since his freshman year and improved senior goalkeeper Constantine Pougiouklidis also return for the Commodores.
“This year is really his year to shine,” Corrado said of Pougiouklidis, who attended the Tony DiCicco goalkeeping camp in the summer.
While Pougiouklidis was happy with the uncharted territory of the quarterfinals a year ago, he and his teammates want more this fall.
“We have to reach those expectations and hopefully we can go further,” he said. “As a team with our skill, I think we’re going to progress.”
Maybe the biggest key to Bayside’s potential success this year, though, is the return of Moore, who had 16 goals and 17 assists, striking for two goals in an upset second round win of Bronx Science.
“Santi is clearly one of the best players I’ve had,” said Corrado, in his 11th year at Bayside.
Moore appreciates his coach’s compliments, but he’s more concerned about guiding the Commodores to a deep playoff run. That’s a possibility, he said, as long as Bayside maintains its focus throughout the season.
“I think we can make it, but we just have to put the in the work at practice, not fool around and just put our heads into the games,” Moore said. “We can’t slack off if we want to reach the finals. We have the talent so we can do it. We just need to put in hard work.”
Be sure to check out MSGVaristy.com tomorrow for a look at the No. 5 team in our NYC preseason boys soccer rankings.
Contact Dylan Butler at email@example.com
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