How Defeat Led To Triumph For Boys Soccer

The Varsity Boys Soccer Team saw major victories this year, how did they do it?


Photo Courtesy of @MURDAFUT on Instagram

The MHS varsity soccer team is Section 1 champion.

Jonah Baron

If you were to ask any student at Mamaroneck High School which school they would consider their biggest rival, it would be Scarsdale. With the league title on the line, both teams played their hearts out. The game did not go as planned for the Tigers, who lost 2-1 in heartbreaking fashion. This game would spark a run that would lead to history. “That was the basis that helped us get our playoff run off the ground,” said Phil Kousaftis (‘22). “Losing the league to them gave us a drive and really motivated us the entire playoffs,” said Milton Mancias-Magana (‘22).
The Tigers ended up as the 5th seed in the Section 1 Class AA Playoffs and the seeding was not in their favor. The first test was against Suffern in the Round of 16 in which two goals by Taiga Shitara (‘22) and Alix Masse (‘22) by the 9th minute helped the Tigers easily cruise to victory 7-0.
After beating the 12th seed Suffern, the battle was all uphill. The path to win became very difficult with the next game against number 4 seed Carmel. Led by Koutsaftis’ two goal game, the Tigers prevailed 3-0.
The semi-finals were set to be their hardest game yet and it came against the number one seed the John Jay East Fishkill Patriots who came into the game with just one loss. Both teams fought extremely hard as throughout the game Tigers goalkeeper Vincent Repoulis (‘22) made timely save after timely save. He would end up finishing the game with an incredible 14 saves. But with 5 minutes to go, John Jay finally scored the goal that broke the tie. John Jay thought they had done the job, but the Tigers refused to go down that easy. With 26 seconds left in the game, Stephen Moore (‘22) scored the game tying goal with a header off a free kick by Wilman Miranda (‘22). The game would eventually go to overtime. During overtime, Manny Vidal (‘24) was taken down inside the box which led to a penalty kick. Alejandro Londono (‘22) took the penalty kick and delivered, sending the Tigers to the Section 1 championship.
Who would Mamaroneck end up facing in that championship game? It was the same team that won the league title- the Scarsdale Raiders. “When we found out we were playing Scarsdale I felt it helped us lock in,” said Koutsaftis on the preparation before the game. “We tried to build up our own fuel before the Section Final against them. We were not going to lose that final,” said Londono. Fans from both teams made the trip to create a fantastic environment for the game. Everyone knew that this was going to be a hard fought game. After one half of play, the game was still deadlocked. With 18 minutes left in the second half, Masse scored the go ahead goal off a corner kick to put Mamaroneck up 1-0. The lead would hold as Mamaroneck clinched back to back Section 1 titles. “It was the best feeling. Bringing the first Section title to the program, and beating our biggest rivals at the same time,” said Londono after defeating Scarsdale in the Section Finals.
“Beating our arch-rivals to do that was incredible,” said Masse who scored the game winning goal for Mamaroneck.
“We’ll always be remembered to them (Scarsdale) as the team who beat them in the finals,” said Milton Mancias-Magana.
Mamaroneck would then move on to the State and Regional tournament where they would first play Warwick. Milton Mancias-Magana would score eight minutes into the game and that would pave the way for Mamaroneck. They would end up cruising by Warwick 3-0 with Mancias-Magana tacking on another goal and with Vidal scoring the third.
The Regional finals were up next against the Section 4 winners Corning Painted-Post. A regional win would lead Mamaroneck to its first ever state final four run. After a tight first half, neither team was yet to score but with 22 minutes left in the game, Mancias-Magana scored his first of two goals. Koustafis would tack on a goal three minutes later with Mancias Magana scoring his second goal two minutes after that. Miranda would put the game away as his goal with five minutes to go sealed the 4-0 victory and a regional championship. This run by the Tigers was the farthest they have ever gone in history. It would sadly end after losing to Hilton 3-2 in overtime in the Final 4 after a controversial goal in which the ball was on its way out of the field but had suddenly held up at the line. A Hilton ball boy threw a new ball at Tigers Defenseman Justin Gjnaij. He caught the ball as the original ball went out of bounds, but it was ruled a free kick for Hilton rather than a throw-in for Mamaroneck. Hilton would score off the set piece. A missed call by the referees that was costly.
“This team was so special for so many reasons. All of us got along great, we would spend a lot of time together outside of school, and it truly felt like a family,” said Masse. It was an amazing run that inspired many along the way.