By MIKE SMITH
On Oct. 5, the Mamaroneck soccer team put another notch in their belt as the Tiger took down a powerful Massapequa squad 2-0 on Long Island. For the hyper-focused Tigers (10-0), the victory over one of New York’s top teams may have been impressive, but it was still just another game.
Nick Tunic scored the game’s only goal on an assist from Juan Giraldo on Saturday, leading the
undefeated Tigers—who went into the game ranked ninth in the state—to a close victory over the Chiefs, who were ranked fifth. According to head coach Rich Becker however, rankings and records weren’t on the Tigers’ minds heading into the matchup.
“Coming into the year, our goal is to win the league,” said Becker. “We had a tough week with away games against White Plains and New Rochelle, and then having to travel out to Long Island, this was another stepping stone.”
Playing in the competitive League II-A South—arguably the most competitive soccer conference in all of Section I, the Tigers have had a history of getting off to hot starts and then slogging through a tough league schedule which sees even the most talented teams rack up inevitable losses while doing battle with other elite sides on a day-in basis. So far, however, The Tigers have been flawless in the league, securing wins over each of its conference foes.
“We have a great bunch of boys all buying into the system right now,” said Savage. “Right now,
they’re playing for each other, they’re defending together, attacking together and they all have that team mentality.”
Mamaroneck returns 12 players from last year’s playoff squad, and is also joined by senior Nick Tunic who played the 2012 season with the U.S. Soccer Academy. Goalie Tom Orgielewicz, also a first-time starter, has fared well so far this season, especially against Massapequa.
“Really, it’s always a surprise to be playing so well as a team. But the play of Nick Tunic has been a great addition for us,” said Becker. “And [Orgielewicz] is doing a great job in goal and made some big saves late in the game on Saturday.”
The Tigers get back into the bulk of their league play this week as they host Mount Vernon and Scarsdale, and Becker feels that—despite their past success—the squad will need to play a little better, especially on the defensive end of the field.
“If we’re going to be as good as we can be, we have to be good at defending,” he said.
On Oct. 14, the Tigers will travel to Lakeland to take part in the Westchester-Rockland Challenge, an event that is held each year to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Their opponent will be North Rockland, the team that sent them packing in the 2012 postseason. Although the
squad might be looking forward to the game, said Savage, they are too mentally tough to be looking past anyone.
“We’re not thinking about it yet, we take it one game at a time,” said Savage. “But I don’t think getting ready for that game is going to be a problem at all.”