The top 40 high school soccer players in Nassau County competed in the inaugural “Nassau County Executive Cup” at Mitchel Field in Uniondale on Saturday afternoon.
The players, who were separated into two teams – Blue and Orange – showcased their skills that earned them an initial invite to the event, in front of their parents, coaches, friends and local college scouts.
The Blue team pulled out a dramatic win in penalty kicks, 3-1, after the two sides went a full 90 minutes of regulation without putting home a goal.
Robert Aronov of Hicksville, Steven Polimeni of North Bellmore and Terence McGovern of Merrick scored the three kicks for the Blue team, while goalie James Pyatsky of Stewart Manor kept the pressure on the Orange team to miss critical kicks of their own, including a save on a shot by Chris Harkins of Rockville Centre.
“The first year of this event was fun. The teams were good out there, but ours just couldn’t finish it in the end,” Harkins said. “There were a few kids out there who I will be playing against next season as well.”
The players knew goals would not come easy, as talent was found at every part of the field for the extent of the game. Blue goalie Taylor Kosakoff of Rockville Centre, made a save on a penalty kick following a foul in the box with 17 minutes remaining in the first half. Aronov nearly scored the games first goal just before halftime, but pushed it wide of the post.
Orange goalie Ari Lewis of Jericho kept his team tied after the Blue squad created one chance after another in the second half. Sean Bingham and John Chtchekine, both of Garden City, as well as Teddy Matozzo of Franklin Square, all narrowly missed goals for the Blue team within an 11-minute span in the second half.
“It was a lot of fun playing with these guys and it was a competitive game," Bingham said. "It was a pretty dramatic win with all of our missed opportunities, but how it concluded is always fun."
After Aronov created another solid chance, followed by a shot sent wide right at point-blank range from Chris Ernest of New Hyde Park, the teams went to the kicks where the Blue team's wealth of created chances finally paid off for the win.
“It was a great game and the [players] had fun making it a great overall experience," Aronov said. "We all did a good job out there and came out as the best team."
Following the game, both teams stuck around for group pictures, trophy presentations and individual certificates awarded by and others in attendance.
“It is nice to come out here and play and compete with the top players in the County and see how good you are compared to them,” said Orange captain Cosmo Veneziale Jr. of Garden City. “We stuck it out for the whole game and created some good scoring chances to make it a good game overall.”
All participating players are a part of the graduating classes of 2012-14 at their respective Nassau County schools. Look out for these exceptional soccer players during the fall high school season.