Role Reversal - Shoe is on the other foot in once lopsided rivalry between Francis Lewis and Flushing – QNS.com

Role Reversal – Shoe is on the other foot in once lopsided rivalry between Francis Lewis and Flushing

Three years ago, Flushing was the team that toyed with Francis Lewis; that scored at will; that controlled possession with precision passing and nifty dribbling. The first place Red Devils swept the bottom-feeding Patriots three games to none, outscoring their local rivals 17-2.
Now, present day, the roles have been completely flip-flopped. Francis Lewis is the team with the established coach and burgeoning program, the one with as many talented freshman and sophomores as seniors. And, as the Patriots' 4-0 throttling proved, they have sped past Flushing, into the top group of teams in the city, alongside Cardozo, Beacon, Martin Luther King, Jr. and all the Staten Island powers.
&#8220Flushing has always been somewhat of a rivalry for us,” Francis Lewis goalkeeper Harris Papson said after notching his first career shutout. &#8220But we are starting to learn their way of playing.”
Junior Bryant Vargas broke a scoreless tie in the 29th minute, heading in a well-placed cross from Daniel Ospina, who added a goal of his own later on. Senior John Koutsounadis, Francis Lewis's talented midfielder, scored on a penalty kick, set up by his own fancy dribbling.
&#8220We got a lot of new players that have skill,” Koutsounadis said. &#8220We just work the ball around and wear them down. Just to try to keep possession of the ball. If they don't have it, they can't score.”
It hasn't been a sudden rise for the Patriots (3-0). It all began with the arrival of Roger Sarmuksnis, a soccer lifer who played the game at Catholic power Archbishop Molloy, class of '92, and coached the jayvee there. He began with the girls' team at Francis Lewis seven years ago, developing that program into a respected winner.
He took over the boys in the fall of 2004, a year after the Patriots finished 4-8, and lost all those games to Flushing. His first year, Francis Lewis still had their problems with the athletically gifted Red Devils, going 1-3-1, until last year's finale, a 2-1 victory clinched the division title. Francis Lewis eventually fell in the PSAL Class A Quarterfinals to perennial power Martin Luther King Jr. in overtime.
&#8220We just hope to be in the same situation we were in last year, and just have a better result obviously,” Sarmuksnis said. &#8220We had a nice squad last year, it was good and, hopefully, we'll have an even better squad this year.”
Beyond the aggressive approach and tactical improvements Sarmuksnis had made, he's greatly increased interest in the sport at the Fresh Meadows School. They now have a roster of 34 and about three practice squad teams, Sarmuksnis said, that prepare the varsity on a daily basis.
&#8220We try to get as many kids as we can that are interested in soccer,” he said, &#8220and we try to keep them involved.”
Flushing (0-2), meanwhile, is dealing with a new group and a new coach, Marek Korupski, a former Red Devil who has taken over on an interim basis for longtime coach Terry McLaughlin. Because he was notified just two weeks before the team's opening practice on August 22nd, there are about five players, he said, that will be added to the roster in the coming days. &#8220It will probably take another week or so to get the team how I really want,” Korupski said.

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