After a long two-week break for the Pesach holiday, the Flatbush Boys Varsity Soccer Team showed no ill effects from the layoff, using a second half surge to blow past the visiting Ramaz Rams, then providing an equally powerful response to a late game push from the visitors to take the pivotal contest by a score of 7-4 on Thursday night (4/20) at the Falcons Nest in Brooklyn, NY.
It was a very even game for for the first half of the opening period, with each team getting a flurry of rushes, and each defense coming up solid – as well as lucky. Then, with just under 6 minutes left, after Marvin Azrak heavily pressured the defense, Ohad Reichman let fly a rip of a shot that blew past the Ramaz keeper for giving the hosts the early lead. Meanwhile, Flatbush keeper Edie Sabbagh was sharp and lucky, giving a great effort on the floor to keep the ball from slipping under his grasp and across the goal line. Ramaz nearly beat the Falcon goalie a few times, but with under 2 minutes in the period, they finally squeaked one by – literally – to tie the game 1-1, which is where it stood heading into period two.
Five minutes in to the second period, Sabbagh came up with a great two-fisted block save. And in front of Sabbagh, Yossi Ojalvo was masterful in slowing down the Ram attack. It was a tactical period of play from both teams, all about attack and counterattack, with each team pressing while the respective defenses responded. In the waning seconds, Flatbush looked to have a good chance off a Ramaz hand ball, but the buzzer sounded before Sam Laniado could get it and put it in play. At the half, the game was still knotted at 1-1.
At the outset of the second half, the falcons looked infused with energy, and Reichman nearly put one in, but it was fellow Falcon Junior Yaron Sternberg that lifted one from just over midcoourt past the Ram goalie – who got caught in an inbetween position – to give Flatbush back the lead. Reichman got his own, though, a few minutes later when he took a pass from Laniado and touched it home for the 3-1 advantage. Ojalvo continued to fortify the Falcon defense, giving his offense-minded teammates opportunities, and Sternberg took advantage, converting another one from range for a 3-goal cushion and prompting a Ram timeout with 8 minutes left in the third. Reichman then hit for another, and Sternberg nearly added to the total, denied only by the crossbar. The four-goal outburst in the period left the Falcons with a 5-1 lead and only 15 minutes left to play in the game.
The Flatbush defense continued to challenge the Ram attackers, and Brian Fuks nearly added to the Falcon lead, but it was Ramaz – at the 9:45 mark – that scored next, shaving the lead to 3 goals. And 4 minutes later, shortly after Azrak left the game after brising his hip and turning his ankle all on the same hit from the Ramaz players, the Rams beat a sluggish-looking Falcon defense another time, and it was once again a ballgame. Instead of salting the game away, it was now a dogfight with six minutes left to play. One minute later, though, and Ramaz scored again! The Rams were rolling. Who would get the next goal? The answer was emphatic, and it was Flatbush’s Laniado that provided it! The score stood 6-4 with under 4 minutes to play! Laniado was feeling it, and at 2:32 he took the ball on the side, worked it free and then found Reichman on the doorstep. Reichman tapped it home, reclaiming the three-goal edge. It was all over but the shouting. And, when the final buzzer sounded, Flatbush had lifted it’s record to 6-1, with one game left to play in the regular season.
The coaches were in great spirits after the contest. “Tonight’s ‘W’ made us so proud of the players because this was far from an easy game,” opined Co-Head coach Yoni Skolnick. “Ramaz’s players were skillful and hard working, and our players gave everything for the whole game in order to get this win. Marvin Azrak, who was substituted with a sprained ankle, could hardly move and he was begging to come back on to help secure the victory.
This takes us to 6-1, our best ever record, and we’re now fully focused on preparing for our next game.”
NEST NOTES: Ohad Reichman recorded another hat trick, tallying three goals on the night.
The Falcons have one game remaining on the regular season, a rematch with rival Magen David. The first time around, the Falcons won by a score of 5-2. But it was a very close contest, and this time it will be played on the Warriors home court. The game is set for Tuesday, 5/2, and is the second game of a JV/Varsity Doubleheader. the JV game has a 6:30 pm start, with the varsity to get underway approximately 10 minutes after the end of the JV game.