St. Ed’s varsity boys soccer team was one game away from vying for the Class 2A state championship when a second-half buzz saw ended their hopes last Friday evening in a semifinal matchup at home.
St. Johns Country Day School broke free from a scoreless first half to score four times while completely throttling any offensive momentum the Pirates tried to muster. The 4-0 final ended the season for the home team.
Simply put, the Pirates fell to a team that was obviously better that evening. The visitors had passing and control of the ball down to a science, and their players seemed quicker to the ball when it was contested.
The goals came in a variety of manners during a 20-minute stretch starting with about 25 minutes remaining. The first was an own goal when the ball was inadvertently deflected into the net off a Pirate player. The second came on a penalty kick. The third was a conversion off a corner kick. The fourth was on a short breakaway.
That was that. The match was one of the most anticipated sports events ever at St. Ed’s. Crowd size restrictions were relaxed and a full house attended. Masks and temperature checks were required as a reminder that we are not yet beyond this pandemic.
The boys left the field embracing each other while concluding the season with a 15-3-1 mark. Seven seniors started for St. Ed’s under first-year head coach Esteban Rosano.
Drew Sternberg (21 goals, 13 assists), Reed Sternberg (8 goals, 3 assists), Jack Zoltak (7 goals, 6 assists) Ian Horvit (5 goals, 4 assists) and Marlon Dato-Slattery (4 goals, 3 assists) all posted double-digit point totals to pace the season-long attack. Keeper Alex Lee allowed a scant 16 goals in 15 games before the finale.
Over the past three seasons the core of this team compiled 44 victories against eight losses and four ties.
They progressed from a district championship and a regional triumph last year, to knocking on the door of a state championship match. It wasn’t that they couldn’t kick that door in; they were denied entry by a very worthy and highly skilled opponent.
Afterwards Rosano reflected on the spectacular journey he (and assistant Jeff Lamscha) guided the team through in his inaugural season at St. Ed’s.
“I’m also a professional soccer referee and my college season last spring was canceled thanks to COVID. That opened up the opportunity for me to coach at St. Ed’s. I didn’t think twice and we started working together on Oct. 18. I wanted to change the culture of the soccer program and thankfully these kids responded very well. We created a one family type of team,” said Rosano.
“It was a great run that we had, and what we accomplished over the last four months was incredible. Unfortunately, our season ended, but we were close to playing for a state championship for the first time ever. We all have to be proud of that.
“Now everyone in the state knows who St. Ed’s is. That is going to open up new things and more changes. So I’m really excited about what is coming next. More kids will want to play soccer and represent our school. We are losing half the team, but I am going to stay, we are going to build, and it’s going to be long term. We are going to do things the right way.
“My goal is also to prepare these kids for the next stage in life. We want to teach soccer but also the values and respect they can apply on and off the field after they graduate.”
Among other individual athletes and teams at the school, the boys in football and the girls in volleyball had already recorded some remarkable feats in an unusual year to say the least. However, despite the defeat, this was clearly the crowning achievement so far in the calendar year 2020-21 for St. Ed’s sports.
Photos by Brenda Ahearn