Boys Soccer Comeback Keeps the Season Alive

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Boys Soccer Comeback Keeps the Season Alive

Hunter Neuman, Sports Editor

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Tenafly Boys Soccer has always been a prestigious program—in fact, it won the state sectional final in 2014. However, the start of this year’s season has not been ideal, with the team winning only two out of the first five games. It barely reached the county tournament with three wins, four losses, and one tie. The team was set to play Park Ridge—an undefeated team—for the first round.

Entering into this game, the team knew that Park Ridge would come out strong and play with consistent aggression.  The players practiced especially thoroughly leading up to this game and practiced new defensive strategies to implement against the team. Park Ridge is a senior-oriented team, so Tenafly knew that it needed to play on par with their advanced level to have a chance at winning.

The game was intense. The score at halftime was 0-0; everyone was full of energy and craving a win. During the break, captain John Koh spoke to his team: “This will not be our last county game. Seniors, we cannot let this be our last one.” These words resonated with the team, and goals from Nick Botis and Theo Chai (both assisted by George Kostaras) put the Tigers through to the second round.

Nick Botis’ goal against Park Ridge

The second round game was a matchup against Dwight-Englewood, a team that Tenafly has knocked out of the Country Tournament for two years in a row. The rivalry between the two teams is huge, so many supporters came out for both.

The start of the game was eventful, with Tenafly almost finding the net twice. However, the Tigers conceded a goal early on, later conceding another. Down 2-0 with only thirty minutes left in the game, Tenafly needed someone to step up. That someone was Nick Botis: he scored two goals, bringing the game into extra time. This extra time left both teams scoreless, and the teams went into penalties.

Celebrations after defeating Dwight-Englewood

Both teams missed one penalty in the first round, and the penalty score was 5-5 in the second round when Dwight-Englewood missed a penalty. Frank Kim (‘21) made two saves, giving Tenafly the upper hand. Botis stepped up to take the potentially-deciding penalty. He struck the ball up the middle, and it eluded the keeper, giving Tenafly the win. The team ran onto the field and celebrated with the crowd. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the game,” said Botis (‘20). “It was the craziest game of my life, and I’m glad I got to spend it with my teammates.”

Proceeding this wildly celebrated victory, the team will be playing Paramus in Ramsey at 4:30 pm Sunday. The team hopes to win this game as well and has the ambition to eventually win the county tournament.  


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