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Bayside sails to ‘B’ soccer crown

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The Commodores finished the season with an unblemished 19-0 record to win their first city crown since capturing the 'A' title in 1986.

"This was a dream season and today just tops off the dream," said Bayside first-year coach Joe Corrado.

It was extra special for Corrado, who replaced his former coach at Bayside, Jerry Pannel, who retired after 40 years.

"It was a privilege to be able to come in and take over for a coach who coached me," said Corrado, who played for Bayside in 1985 and 1987. "It's an awesome feeling."

Bayside took control of the game from the opening kickoff and had several quality scoring chances. In the 5th minute sophomore Gerald Prophete settled a loose a ball on the far side of the box and blasted a ball from 15 yards out that rolled just wide of the far post.

Four minutes later junior Max Tai dished to sophomore Alex Beltran who cut outside of a defender and narrowly missed the near post from 12 yards out.

Tai passed to Prophete, whose shot was stopped by Monroe (13-1-2) sophomore keeper Emil Ljestanin in the 12th minute as the keeper corralled the rebound.

In the 17th minute Emre Asku's corner kick was tapped by Andrew Colucci, forcing Ljestanin to make a diving save.

The Commodores finally broke through in the 20th minute as the combination of Tai and Beltran, the two most explosive players on the team, found the back of the net. Tai led Beltran free into the box and the sophomore forward tipped the ball past Ljestanin from 10 yards out to give the Commodores a 1-0 lead.

"I actually thought I was offside on the play," Beltran said. "But I just kept running and tipped it in with my right foot."

Bayside went ahead 2-0 in the 53rd minute when Tai got to a loose ball and slid it past Ljestanin for his 33rd goal of the year.

"That was just a hope goal," Tai said. "It was all hustle. I didn't have a spot picked out, I just got a foot on it."

But Monroe refused to go away, and made things interesting less than a minute later when senior Jose Calix beat Bayside junior keeper Tallin Lamonaca on a free kick from 25 yards out to cut the Commodores' lead to 2-1.

It looked like Monroe might tie the game in the 65th minute when senior Kentish Dawson ran in on Lamonaca, but Bayside junior defender Jason Knese's slide tackle pushed the ball over the endline and out of danger.

"Coach always tells us that offense wins games, but defense wins championships," said junior defender Jeremy O' Brien. "The offense gets a lot of the glory, but we just try and balance the team out on defense."

In addition to winning the 'B' crown, the Commodores will be promoted to the 'A' division next year with all but three players returning.

"I know for a fact we have a lot of good kids coming in next year as well so maybe this is the beginning of a dynasty," Tai said. "We'll see what we can do for my senior year and hopefully we can bring another championship to Bayside."

Taft 2, Newtown 1. Any hope of a rematch of last year's PSAL 'A' championship ended last Wednesday when the upstart Blue Devils shocked the Pioneers in the PSAL 'A' semifinals at Francis Lewis.

Taft (16-0) advanced to take on Martin Luther King (17-0) in the 'A' final where it lost, 4-1.

After a handball in the box, the Blue Devils went up 1-0 in the 6th minute when Issa Kulateh beat Newtown keeper Willie Cuzco.

In the 63rd minute Taft went ahead by two goals when Abdulah Konon headed the ball to Wedieu Cole, who headed the ball past Cuzco.

Newtown (10-2-4), the defending city champions, cut the Blue Devils' lead in the half in the 67th minute when Jonathan Figueroa found the back of the net.

MLK 3, Cleveland 1. Ramone Baily, Christopher Richards and Ian James scored for the Knights, ranked 12th in the country, in the 3-1 win over the Indians in the PSAL 'A' semifinal at the Metropolitan Oval Nov. 15. Drazen Bajcer scored the lone goal for Cleveland, which ended its season at 13-1-2.

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