Tie means great deal to Flushing

Neither team seemed particularly happy with the result but Francis Lewis and Flushing were not upset either after a 1-1 tie at Flushing Memorial Field.
Francis Lewis avoided their first league loss since last September when junior midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti beat Red Devils goalkeeper Julian Garcia late in the second half. Flushing answered their first litmus test of the young season against the borough’s best the last few years, a team who owned them a season ago in two meetings to the tune of an aggregate 7-1 score.
“People thought we were going to get killed, but everybody stepped up,” said striker Kenny Mena, who scored his league-leading seventh goal. “They [Francis Lewis] think they’re going to take it easily, but it’s not going to happen this year.”
The scrappy, fast-paced, action-packed result adds intrigue to the next time the two clubs meet, on October 1 at Francis Lewis. Flushing will almost certainly have more than one sub, as was the case Monday afternoon. Flushing Coach Marek Skorupski said he has four-to-five new players waiting on paperwork, able contributors that will fill the team’s void at midfield. Luis Diaz, Francis Lewis’s new keeper, will only get better as the season progresses.
Francis Lewis (2-0-1) can only hope Garcia will not remain nearly impenetrable.
Trailing by a goal in the second half, Francis Lewis dominated play. They had possession in the Flushing end almost the entire final 40 minutes, peppering Garcia with shots. In one flurry, three Patriots got off quality shots, including Guenzatti at the doorstep, only for Garcia to make save after save.
Finally, Guenzatti tallied the equalizer in the 72nd minute.
“He came up big,” Francis Lewis Coach Roger Sarmuksnis said. “He made some tremendous saves.”
Garcia is just one of many reasons for the team’s strong start. After a finals appearance in 2004 and a semifinalist spot in 2005, the team was regressing. Longtime coach Terry McLaughlin resigned due to health problems, leaving the coaching duties to Skorupski, a former player and current teacher at Long Island City. The Red Devils lost three of their last five last year and fell in the first round of the playoffs. A year later, Skorupski is more comfortable in his first head-coaching gig and the team is rounding into shape.
“I knew we were going to have a good season from the first day of practice,” Skorupski said. “I didn’t expect this much. I never said we were going to tie against Francis Lewis, who had one of the best teams in Queens, if not the best.”
“We’re making great progress so far,” Garcia said. “This year the team is putting more effort in.”

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