By Ted Waddell
WASHINGTONVILLE November 6, 2001 In Saturdays Section IX Class D boys soccer championship match between the undefeated Falcons of the Family School Foundation and the S.S. Seward Spartans in Washingtonville, the local birds got their wings clipped 3-2 by the team from Orange County.
In both regular season matches between the squads, the Falcons jumped out to early scores, winning the first match 5-2 and the second 5-3.
In the championship game, however, the third time proved lucky for the Spartans as they turned the tables on the Family School (17-1) with two quick goals in the opening frame.
At 1:20, Mike Hoyt scored for S.S. Seward (17-3) on an assist by Joe Yurchuk. Hoyt put his second goal of the outing into the net at 15:50 on an assist by Lou Trombetta to give the Spartans a 2-0 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Hoyt scored again for S.S. Seward at 9:15 on an assist by Yurchuk. It was Hoyts 31st goal of the season.
Bryan Epstein put the Falcons in the scorebook at 13:28 on an assist from Valerio Pizoferrato, taking the cross from his teammate and burying it into the net.
At 25:00, Epstein scored unassisted after a defender shanked a goal kick. He put a juke on the ball and fired it into the back of the net.
In the second frame, the Falcons came back onto the field fired up by the coach Bill Musgrove, who had a motivational talk with his booters during halftime.
But by then it was too late for the Falcons, as they ran out of time against a determined Seward squad. In the first half, the Spartans controlled play in the midfield, and in the second frame owned virtually the entire field.
In both previous games, they jumped out on us, said veteran Seward coach Joe Mazzarulli. This time, we jumped out early on them, and that made a big difference. We wanted to stop their first punch, and we did.
Like the final score, the match stats were almost even. Seward registered two more shots on goal than the Family School (8-6) and had two more corner kicks (7-5). Falcon goalie Francesco Bello made seven saves and Spartan goalie Rob Gillespie had five saves.
According to Mazzarulli, Gillespie had a couple of pretty shakey games in his previous outings against the Family School, but played his heart out in Saturdays upset victory. In fact, at times Gillespie seemed to be giving the Falcons flying lessons as he leaped into the air with several spectacular saves.
I think its great, he said of their win over the team that had beaten them twice in regular season competition.
The Family School is one of the toughest teams weve ever played, added Mazzarulli. They play hard, they play clean and theyre good kids.
Musgrove said his charges were real flat in the first half, but felt they played their hearts out in the second frame against a team he said was quicker and stronger to the ball, particularily in the opening half.
Musgroves take on the 2001 soccer season?
It was absolutely great, he said. If only the final game had lasted another five minutes, I think we could have won because we had them on the ropes . . . this is the hardest playing team Ive ever faced.
A few weeks ago, the Falcons lost their starting keeper Steve Sullivan to what his coach called disciplinary problems. Moments before the match started, Musgrove looked over at the stands and saw Sullivans family rooting for the Falcons.
That brought tears to my eyes, he said.
The Falcons backup goalie, Francesco Bello, was called up to fill in the breach. He did a great job, but he didnt quite have the reach (as his predecessor), said Musgrove.
It was an honor to take that position, said Bello. We gave 120 percent each time we played, and this is something I will never forget in my life.
Family School booter Ricky Wyche summed up the game against S.S. Seward.
It was the best game Ive ever played in my life, and Ive never seen them (the Spartans) play with such intensity. I hope they go all the way.
Last year, Falcon center forward Bryan Epstein got red carded in a game for tossing his uniform at his coach.
In this seasons championship final, instead of getting uniformed out of the game, he scored his teams only two goals of the afternoon.
We had a nice year, he said. Its okay. We win some, we lose some.