Garden City, NY – In front of a massive crowd at Motamed Field on the campus of Adelphi University in Garden City, the Jericho Jayhawks continued their magical ride in the playoffs as they beat East Hampton, 2-1, in the Class A Long Island Boys Soccer Championship.
Jericho (14-2-2) has been a team of destiny throughout these playoffs, and today was just another step in their quest for a shot at the Class A State Championship. One of the keys to the Jayhawks success has been the defense and ability to keep opponents scoreless. Coming into Sunday’s final, Jericho allowed only one goal over their last six contests, and none during their four playoff games.
This one was hard fought by both sides throughout the entirety of the game, but mostly in the first half both clubs played conservatively. For the half, East Hampton (14-2-2) led with shots on goal at 3-1, but defensively the Bonackers were unable to keep the Jayhawks off the attack. Jericho for the half had an astounding 6 corner kicks, but were unsuccessful in finding the back of the net.
However, the second half proved to be quite different in terms of offensive ineptitude. Less than four minutes into the second period of play, Jericho once again went on the attack. This time, sophomore Michael Blumberg was able to get his club on the board. Off their seventh corner kick of the game, the ball bounced out of the hands of East Hampton goalie Esteban Aguilar, and onto the foot of Blumberg. He wheeled a shot that stayed on the ground and found its way into the back left corner of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
The Jayhawks would continue to dominate the offensive possessions. Just four minutes after Blumberg’s goal, Derek Medolla had an opportunity to put his team up another, but the chance went just wide.
This one would remain 1-0 until that sophomore came up big one more time.
This time off a tremendous throw-in that got into the fray inside the penalty area, Blumberg found some room away from defenders and the ball found him again. He went left again, and scored his second goal of the game to improve his team’s lead to 2-0.
Despite trailing two goals, the Bonackers would not give up. In the ensuing possession following the Jericho goal, an East Hampton player was taken down inside Jericho territory. The Bonackers were able to get a quick start on that foul that surprised the Jayhawk defense, when Esteban Vargas found himself alone streaking down the right side. He played the ball in front of the net, but there was no East Hampton player in sight.
East Hampton would keep the attack going until they were finally able to breakthrough with 7:30 remaining. Outside of the 18-yard line, East Hampton played a ball out to a wide open Esteban Garces who put a strike off the post, but the ball bounced back to Milton Farez who delivered it into the back of the net. The goal cut the lead to 2-1, but that was as close as East Hampton would get.
Jericho was able to holdoff a relentless Bonacker offensive for the final seven minutes, and grab the Long Island title, 2-1. The Jayhawks will head upstate to Middletown High School and meet up with East Syracuse-Minoa next Saturday at 4:15p.m.
Follow Bill on Twitter @MSGVBillMueller