Eagles advance to semifinals

EASTSOCCER1

Eastchester’s Rachel Berk pushes the ball upfield against Nyack on Oct. 29. Berk had a goal in the Eagles’ 6-1 victory. Photo/Bobby Begun

If the Eastchester Eagles have had one goal this postseason, it has been to push the tempo. In their first-round game against Hendrick Hudson on Oct. 26, they did just that, burying the Sailors with an avalanche of goals, riding the attack to a 5-1 win.

Dava Fortunato scored twice to lead the way for Eastchester as the sixth-seeded Eagles struck early and often. According to Eastchester coach Frank Fiore, it has been the Eagles’ plan, late in the season, to focus on finishing.

“Once sectionals roll around, you have to turn it up mentally,” he said. “Lose and you’re going home, so we’re trying to keep the pressure on the offensive side of the ball.”

In the case of the first round game, an early lead allowed the Eagles to play with more confidence, helping them pour more goals on as Hendrick Hudson was unable to find an answer defensively.

“If you get that first goal, it’s a big advantage, especially in sectionals,” Fiore said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you have a goal, or a two-goal lead, you’re putting pressure on the other team and creating momentum for yourself. Momentum is huge.”

The Eagles’ second-round opponent knows something about momentum, as Eastchester is set to take on 14th-seeded Nyack on Oct. 29, after press time*. Nyack is coming off an upset win over third-seeded Saunders and will look to keep their season alive against another favorite in the second round. The Indians remain a tough out–despite their seed–due, in large part, to the level of competition in their league. Nyack has spent much of the season tangling with premier programs such as Tappan Zee and Albertus Magnus.

According to Fiore, a quick start is especially important against the talented Indians squad.

“If we get on the board early, we can dictate the pace,” Fiore said. “We can’t let a team like Nyack stick around. We can’t let them gain that confidence and stay in the game.”

The game will be held at Tuckahoe High School due to the ongoing closure of the turf field at Eastchester High School. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.

*The Eastchester Review received word prior to press time that Eastchester defeated Nyack 6-1 on the strength of a two goal performance by Dava Fortunato. Monica DiDonato, Rachel Berk, Anna Hughes and Olivia Hughes all found the net as well.
-Reporting by Mike Smith

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.