Boys Soccer Kicks into the Playoffs
By OSCAR MENDOZA and ALBERT SADIKU
After finishing last in the division and missing out on the playoffs in the 2017-18 season, the boys soccer team knew that something was deeply flawed in their system. If they wanted any chance in having a successful season, they had to start from scratch.
During the summer, the team’s captains, Albert Sadiku ’19, Rustam Rustamov ’19, Zayit Muniz ’19, and Arif Akkok ’19, decided to take a more hands-on approach in the preparation of the team.
“Last year was a good wake up call on our weaknesses,” said Rustamov. “We had to improve on our fitness, ball movement, and team chemistry.”
Slowly the team was able to improve, having morning practices in August, fine tuning their skills, practicing passing, taking shots, and setting up the defense and offense.
“After every practice, everyone would be soaking wet and exhausted,” said Muniz ’19. “That was a good sign as it showed that everyone was taking their game to the next level.”
Come September, the Hornets put their new system to work in friendly matches against Tilden High School and New Utrecht High School. The team won both games.
“In both games, we were extremely successful,” said Akkok. “We weren’t necessarily the biggest guys, but we were outrunning, outperforming, and outplaying every player on those teams.”
The team finished the season strong with a win against Erasmus High School on October 10, with a final score of 2-0. One of the goals came from the combination of two seniors, Muniz and Brooks. Muniz outran four defenders and crossed the ball to the middle of the box where Brooks controlled the ball and sent it flying to the back of the net.
“We played really well,” said Muniz. “We played as a team, everyone gave 100%, and it showed in the final outcome.”
An altercation arose during the final moments of the game. Erasmus’s Duverson Oriseme ’20 attempted to stop an advance by Midwood’s Brooks and went in for a heavy tackle. Both players began throwing punches. Soon, there was a crowd of players on the field. The referee ended the game with only a minute of regulation remaining.
Although the Hornets finished the season on a positive note, the team has had some negatives over the course of the season too. Midwood has lost three games, mostly due to small mistakes. The hardest blow for the team was their second straight loss against Brooklyn Technical High School.
“I feel like we didn’t always successfully execute the opportunities we were given to win the game,” said Brooks.
The team finished with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses. Two of the losses came from facing Brooklyn Technical High School and the other loss was against Fort Hamilton High School. Midwood is currently second in the division, already a great improvement from the previous year, but they also have a chance to win the division if Brooklyn Technical High School, now first place, loses its next two games.
Midwood would then have a chance to have a rematch, and the winner would be crowned division champion. Even though it seems like a long shot, in soccer, anything can happen.