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NY City Soccer Crown Fits Fordham Prep Just Right

Varsity - 2007 Season
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2007 by NY Daily News

City soccer crown fits Fordham Prep just right


 
Fordham Prep celebrates first city championship in 16 seasons as Ryan Meara (gray shirt) shuts out Terriers.

Fordham Prep celebrates first city championship in 16 seasons as Ryan Meara (gray shirt) shuts out Terriers.


Who says you can't use your hands in soccer? Fordham Prep's Nick Perich and St. Francis Prep's Connor Coffey clutch and grab at whatever they can for control of ball in Rams' 1-0 victory.

Who says you can't use your hands in soccer? Fordham Prep's Nick Perich and St. Francis Prep's Connor Coffey clutch and grab at whatever they can for control of ball in Rams' 1-0 victory.

Fordham Prep captured its first CHSAA city championship in 16 years on Saturday, knocking off St. Francis Prep, 1-0, in a rematch of last year's final at Belson Stadium.

"A couple guys weren't even born yet when we last won it," Fordham Prep coach Peter McNamara said. "We've had a lot of shutouts this year and our defense has been very strong."

Brendan Cullinan scored in the 19th minute, settling a crossing pass from Bradley Reid on the left wing and blasting a low shot inside the near post from 17 yards out.

"It's always good to get the lead. It builds confidence and takes it out of your opponent," Cullinan said. "We lost in penalty kicks last year, and that's the worst way to go. To meet them again in the finals is just fate, really, and it felt awesome to come back and beat them."

St. Francis Prep (11-2-4) nearly tied the game in the final minute. Coming off the right wing, Kevin Garcia collided with keeper Ryan Meara as his shot trickled toward the net, a possible goal until Mike Mazzullo came out of nowhere and cleared the play.

"Instinctively I went back to the goal to cover for him, and I was surprised because Ryan always gets the ball when he goes out. This time he got hit on the play and I just cleared it out," Mazzullo said. "They were just pressing, and pressing, and pressing … it was ball after ball that we had to clear away, head away. They were in full offensive mode."

It was the second straight game in which Mazzullo came up big in the final minutes. Last Tuesday, he scored the game-winning goal in the Rams' 1-0 semifinal victory over Molloy on the same pitch at St. John's University, heading the ball off a corner in the 79th minute.

"He's awesome. He never stops running and he's a good leader … one of the best," Meara (5 saves) said of fellow captain Mazzullo. "I thought it was going to be a couple goals back and forth (in the finals), but the defense came up really big. The last 20 minutes I kept checking the clock and time couldn't have gone any slower. It's nerve-wracking."

St. Francis Prep will represent the Brooklyn/Queens Diocese, and Fordham Prep the New York Archdiocese, in the CHSAA state tournament at Fordham University on Friday.

The Terriers (11-2-4) will play the Diocese of Buffalo representative in the first semifinal at 5 p.m., and the Rams (14-2-1) face Nassau-Suffolk representative Chaminade at 7 p.m. Winners advance to Sunday's championship at 3 p.m.

"It's satisfying to win the city championship," McNamara said. "Hopefully, we'll meet them again in the state finals."

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