THE NEWS
NASSAU COUNTY CLASS A PLAYOFF PREVIEW BY TOM LIGUORI
It's a Whole New Season

The 2008 regular season has come to an end for all 29 Nassau County Class A boys' soccer teams, but for 16 of them, it's a whole new season. Teams begin their quest for the 2008 Nassau County Class A Championship with first round games scheduled to kick off this Saturday, October 25th at the higher seed (some games will be played Thursday and Friday). Team will pair down until just two remain, and these two will play in the finale on November 5th at 7:30pm at Hofstra University. Here's a preview of the opening acts:

Conference I Champion Jericho (8-4-0) earns the #1 seed and will host #16 Manhasset (6-2-4 Conference V). Finishing atop Conference I for the second straight year, Jericho is still considered by many the team to beat. Senior Josh Haberman (14 goals, 6 assists) leads the Jayhawks and junior Adam Seiden (10 goals) has helped with the offense. The Jericho defense has done well to help senior goalkeeper Mitchell Kraus record five shutouts for the second straight year while surrendering just 7 goals to Conference A teams all season. Manhasset will look to junior Nico Capetola (14 goals, 4 assists) as well as other upper and underclassmen to lead the Indians.

#2 Mineola (7-4-1 Conference I) will host #15 Sewanhaka (7-2-1 Conference IV). Mineola senior Nuno Rodrigues (11 goals 6 assists) leads the Mineola offense. Mineola has fared well in their rematches losing just once (1-0 at Jericho on 10/14) the second half of the season. Sewanhaka has challenged for the Conference IV title until their very last game. Seniors Jhonathan DaSilva (12 goals, 5 assists), Robert Delgado (8 goals, 9 assists) and Alexis Duran (8 goals) lead a senior laden Sewanhaka squad consisting of 14 seniors and 5 juniors.

# 3 Garden City (3-3-6 Conference I) will host Conference IV Champion #14 Valley Stream North (8-1-1). Garden City has allowed just 12 goals in a very competitive Conference I. The Trojans have received goals from 8 different players. Valley Stream North junior Xavier O'Connor (11 goals, 5 assists) and sophomore John Sabal (7 goals, 6 assists) lead the Spartans offense as well as five other players who have added at least 3 goals each.

#4 Great Neck North (4-7-1 Conference I) will host #13 Island Trees (4-1-7 Conference III). With many returning players from last year, the defending County Champion Blazers are also considered the team to beat. GNN is led by seniors Jose Lopez (7 goals), Tal Zivan (6 assists) and junior Cesar Sassoon (8 goals). Island Trees is a team that posted just one loss in league play. They will look to senior Stephan Barea (14 goals, 4 assists) to lead the Bulldogs charge.

#5 Southside (3-5-4 Conference I) will host #12 North Shore (6-3-3 Conference III). The Southside Cyclones have allowed just 13 goals in league play and received their scoring from 6 different players this season. North Shore is led by seniors Robbie Grabher (12 goals, 5 assists) and Chris Frey (10 assists) as well as junior Greg Puskuldjian (8 goals). North Shore is hoping their roster of upperclassman (15 seniors and 5 juniors) will help in the Vikings charge.

# 6 Roslyn (2-7-3 Conference I) will host Conference III Champion #11 Hewlett (7-2-3). Roslyn has been a perennial Conference I team year after year and seems to always be in the mix in the end. They have received goals from seven different players. Hewlett's offense is led by senior Yousuf Ahmad (6 goals). Hewlett's roster of 12 seniors and 9 juniors helped earn them the Conference III Championship.

In one of the two first round games where teams will have to play each other a third time, Conference II Champion #7 Valley Stream South (9-1-2) will host #10 Roosevelt (4-5-3 Conference II). Valley Stream South is led by senior Jon Velasquez (9 goals, 7 assists) and Tyler de la Torre who leads the County in scoring with 19 goals. Senior Nick Accardi (5 goals, 10 assists) has also added to the offense. Defender Angel Aguirre and goalkeeper Justin Corke lead a defense that has recorded a County leading 9 shutouts. Roosevelt is led by juniors Victor Lopez (9 assists), Dale-Ricardo McDonald (6 goals) as well as sophomore Daniel Batras (6 goals). Senior Pedro Arguilar-Rivera has done well to lead the Rough Riders defense. VSS won both regular season meetings.

In the other rematches of rematches, # 8 New Hyde Park (6-3-3 Conference II) will host #9 Lynbrook (4-4-4 Conference II). NHP is led by senior Zach Santangelo (11 goals). Senior defender Anthony Aquilino and junior goalkeeper Mario Lisena (6 shutouts) have done well in the back leading the Gladiators defense. Lynbrook is led by seniors Gino Cipriano (13 goals) and Andrew Malordy (6 goals). Defender Jordan Zides and the Owls goalkeepers have led a defense that has combined for 7 team shutouts. New Hyde Park won the first regular season meeting 1-0 at Lynbrook and the teams tied 1-1 at NHP the second time they met.

The 2008 Class A Tournament features some great teams, exceptional players and some intriguing first round match-ups. Every team in the Tournament has suffered at least one league loss. In a tournament like this one, where it's one and done, the slate is wiped clean and regular season records and statistics blow away with the opening whistle. Brace yourself for some exciting soccer. After all, it's a whole new season.

Submitted by Tom Liguori
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