By Stephen Zitolo
Monsignor McClancy’s journey to a fourth straight CHSAA Class A soccer city championship remains on track.
McClancy came away with a 2-0 victory over South division rival and visiting St. Joseph’s by The Sea last Friday. The Crusaders scored late in both halves to earn the win and keep their undefeated season rolling. Both teams came into the game unbeaten and played to a 1-1 tie in their first meeting Sept. 17. McClancy gave a better effort in this one to move into sole possession of first place.
“Last game we didn’t play well in the midfield,” Crusaders junior Arsenije Matovic said. “This time we played well in the midfield and were able to finish the job.”
Matovic scored McClancy’s first goal late in the first half when he was able to get a low strike past the reach of the keeper. Sea (6-1-4) was almost able to change the game’s momentum on a free kick midway through the second half. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar, but did not find the back of the net. McClancy put the finishing touches on the victory when a long pass by Paul Morales into St. Joseph’s box was put into the net by senior Justin Cintron to make it 2-0 in the 76th minute.
“A 1-0 game is very close,” Cintron said. “A win isn’t secure with a one-goal lead, so I tried my best to finish the game off and give us a good a lead.”
McClancy (7-0-2) is trying to keep its run atop the CHSAA Class A division going, but with the loss of two of last year’s leading scorers in Joey Mifsud and Michael Ferrara the goal scoring duties are being picked up by seemingly a different player each time out.
“The goal scoring is coming from all over the field,” Crusaders coach Michael Sylvester said. “Our top scorer may have only three or fours goals.”
The team knows that being the best team in the league for the last three seasons means every opponent will be trying to knock off them off. Cintron and his teammates are embracing that challenge.
“We all have a pretty good idea of what it takes,” he said. “We have won three years in a row. We know we have a target on our backs and we go into every game giving a hundred percent.”
For all the players on the McClancy squad, they have known one thing throughout their varsity careers and that’s winning. They want that to continue.
“They only know what it’s like to win,” Sylvester said. “They work hard and when the new guys come in, the seniors tell them what to do and we keep rolling.”