Volume 22, Number 27 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 13 - 19, 2009
Undefeated M.A.T. girls take city soccer title
The scene at Icahn Stadium last Saturday was one for the ages. Perfect fall weather, big crowd, sun setting behind the field and the best two middle school girls soccer teams warming up for the city’s middle school championship. Manhattan Academy of Technology in Chinatown had been there before, last year as a matter of fact, losing a heartbreaker to Hunter. Anderson had not. And 3 minutes into the game, it showed.
“Our girls just came out of the gate with a lot of confidence, a lot of heart and a lot of enthusiasm.” coach John Dematteo said. At the 3:30 mark, Noah Azulai found right midfielder Angelina Panken, who lofted a nifty right-footed goal past the keeper to set the tone of the game. After that, it was pretty much all M.A.T.
The Dragons won 3-0 and finished the season a perfect 12 – 0.
Just before the end of the first half, M.A.T. struck again, on a great cross pass from Safiyah Riddle, who found forward Amanda Inglesh wide open on the left side who drilled in a no touch shot on the run.
“That was one of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen in middle school soccer, on any level,” coach Rob Mehan said. “We’re very proud of the way our girls played today and they deserved to win.”
Anderson, however, was not going down easy. Anderson forward Gianna Finz, who is also a track and field champion, broke away on the right side and beat the defense in front of the goal and was tripped up. After a penalty kick ensued, which missed high, the M.A.T. coaches called on defender/midfielder Akiele Lewis to guard Gianna one on one and stay with her the whole game. The result. She touched the ball once from that point on.
The Dragons also got some strong defensive plays from Elizabeth Yang, Haille McKenzie, Lucero Smith, and Gigi Raskin, who never even allowed a shot in the semi finals and finals. M.A.T.’s star goalie, Gabby Wallach, wasn’t tested once.
The midfield combination of Eve Grassfield, Noah Azulai, Eva Bonsignour made sure that the star forward combination of Safiyah Riddle, Angelina Panken and Amanda Inglesh got their shots and were able to work their magic.
The Dragons will celebrate their victory on Dec. 11th at the school’s end of year fall sports award ceremony, where Dematteo will say goodbye to his eight graders, but also look forward to the future with his new 6th and 7th graders.
“I cannot replace the 8th grade girls I had this year,” he said. “They were everything you could ask for in student athletes and I know they will go on to do great things not only in soccer and athletics, but as productive members of society as well.”