Volume 21, Number 27 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 14 -20, 2008
Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel
Left, M.A.T. celebrates with its championship trophy. Right, M.A.T.s Destini Torres (in red jersey) defends against I.S 89s Chynna Basso in the Downtown soccer championship game last week.
M.A.T. edges out I.S. 89 for Downtown title
On a brisk Thursday afternoon at Bard H.S. field, the Dragons from Manhattan Academy of Technology middle school defended their Downtown middle school soccer title by defeating the Cougars from I.S. 89 in a tough 2-1 win.
Both teams played tough and in the end, the score was very close, said league commisioner John De Matteo, who is also M.A.T.s athletic director and coach.
After gathering a 9-0 record coming into the game, the M.A.T. girls were down 1-0 early in the first half, but did not rush their shots or passes, always looking for each other on the field. With 13:00 left in the first half, forward Patty Rosa passed to Angelina Panken who tied the game with a nifty goal to the upper right side of the net. Five minutes later, striker Safiyah Riddle lined one in to give the go ahead and championship goal.
Safiyah and Angelina have been a dynamic duo all year, through thick and thin. Their teamwork and attitude are tremendous on the field and its contagious throughout the other players, Coach D. said.
With the Dragons up by a goal, the defense kept on playing tough, stopping them on every play. Patty Rosa, Destini Torres, Amanda Inglesh, Lucero Smith, Betsy, Jia Jia Ren, Natajsha Holtz, Amber French and Gabby Wallach played tremendous down the stretch. Midfielders Daniella Azulai, Haile McKenzie, Nell Jacobsen and McKenzie OConnor stepped in to make some remarkable plays back and forth in the final minutes as well.
It was the Chinatown schools third straight Downtown championship.
This year for the first time, the Downtown and Uptown champs played. M.A.T. lost to Hunter Saturday, but De Matteo said the team can hold their heads high.
I was really proud of the girls for making it that far and it showed me just how much they have come together as a team, always rooting each other on and supporting each other to the very end, he said.
DeMatteo also lauded his co-coach, Robert Mehan.
Rob is the soccer expert and really the one who has changed this soccer program around, he said.