Last year’s county finalist and two-time conference champion Island Trees came to Mineola High School Wednesday afternoon for a much anticipated soccer game. The Bulldogs walked away with the victory, 4-1, but the game was much closer then the score would indicate.
“We played pretty well against one of our conference’s top teams despite losing some of our key players to graduation,” said Mineola coach Paul Pereira. “This game was a measuring stick for us and I thought we hung with them tough until the end.”
Island Trees got on the board first early in the first quarter on a goal from forward Stephen Schmidt. The Bulldogs then scored another late goal on a cross shot from Jesus Alvarado to make the score 2-0 right before the half.
The Mustangs came out firing multiple shots to start the second half on Island Trees goali, Andrew Barbine. Mineola finally connected at the 25-minute mark as Eric Lopez tucked one in the lefthand corner of the net off of a setup from Chris Farrell. It was Lopez’s first goal in a varsity uniform.
The score would remain 2-1 in Island Tree’s favor for the majority of the second half as both teams battled. The Mustangs had a couple of scoring opportunities but the Bulldogs defense held firm and cleared the ball before Mineola was able to capitalize.
Island Trees was able to wear down the Mustang defense towards the end of the game, scoring two late goals off the feet of forwards Teddy Rouskas and Ryan Willoughby. The Bulldogs walked away with a 4-1 victory and a 4-0 to remain undefeated in the conference.
“I was proud of the way our guys played today despite the loss,” said Pereira. “We showed a lot of fight out there with just three experienced varsity players on the field and a lot of underclassmen.”
Pereira said he believes his team can make it back to the County playoffs if they cut down on the mental mistakes and play within themselves.
“We are not going to be a big goal scoring team this year. But if we play good defense and prevent the opposition from scoring and cut down on the mental errors I believe we have a chance.”
Mineola is now 2-2 overall and 1-1 in conference. Their next game is at Clarke High School on Friday at 4:30 p.m.1 2 F Island Trees 2 2 4 Mineola 0 1 0