Written by Record Pilot Staff Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
With grit, determination and all-out teamwork, the Friends Academy Boys Varsity Soccer team completed their quest for a third state soccer championship, defeating a tough Lansing High School, 1-0, in the New York Class C State Championships.
Both teams kept the game at a tight 0-0, until 20 minutes into the second half, when a throw-in from senior Patrick Moodhe (Manhasset) connected with the head of senior Jon Nierenberg (Sands Point) for the game’s only goal.
The day before Friends defeated Lake George HS with a convincing 3-0 victory in the semifinals. “Lansing came out with an excellent defensive game plan,” said head coach Marshall Lindner. “They saw us play a very strong game against
Lake George and they made a major commitment to team defense.”
Lansing also double-teamed Nierenberg, but was unable to contain his game-winning goal. “Their strategy was a brilliant move, but we continued to push hard for a game-winning goal,” remarked Lindner.
While Friends enjoyed a successful season with 11 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties, Lindner admits that the team was still not ready for championship play. “We had an excellent regular season, but I think we understood that we really weren’t yet a real serious playoff contender. And if you look at our season at the beginning, we were not a championship team,” said Lindner. “We lost to an outstanding Carle Place team; tied another strong team, CSH, and only squeaked by Wheatley,” he added.
Lindner credits the team’s seniors as pivotal in changing both the mindset and ability of the team. “The senior leadership was fantastic. These guys were driving everyone else,” recounted Lindner. “They pushed everybody to do the drills better and they constantly said to the younger players, ‘We have to play for each other.’ They would say, ‘You can’t play for a trophy or a title -- you need to play for each other.’ There was this ethic that you went out there and played, not only team offense, but also team defense. We made the commitment to being an elite team,” said Lindner.
For Lindner, this level of teamwork is what defined the 2013-14 Quaker championship team. “The championship teams of 2009 and 2010 had four Division I players on the field at once. We’re not a school of 2,000 kids. To have four at the same time... that doesn’t always happen. We have some very fine players, but this was a team that was much more team-oriented. We passed the ball beautifully. And while we didn’t have four D-I players, we made up for it by playing like a team.”
In the end, playing for each other is what made the difference and turned this start-of-the-season okay team into a team that will forever be a state champion. “If guys are willing to sacrifice for each other and play as a team, you can achieve a tremendous amount,” finished Lindner.
Friends Academy is now accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year and will hold a Lower School Open House on Monday, Dec. 9 at 8:30 a.m. and a Middle/Upper School Open House on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 8:30 a.m. Call 516-676-0393 for more information and to schedule a tour of the campus. Enrolling 779 students from age 3 through grade 12, Friends Academy is guided by its Quaker heritage and the principles of integrity, simplicity, patience, moderation and a peaceful resolution of conflict. The school is located on 65 acres at the intersection of Piping Rock and Duck Pond roads in Locust Valley/Glen Cove.