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Newtown locks up division crown with 3-0 win over Bryant

Newtown girls’ soccer coach Rob Kunkel had a slew of questions coming into the season.

Would the team be able to score without explosive forward Alba Carrasquero, who moved to live with her sister in Miami? Would the Pioneers’ newcomers be able to make an impact? And would some of the team’s injured players be effective?

Kunkel received a resounding “yes” to all his questions. And on Monday at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, thanks to a pair of goals by Carrasquero, who moved back to Jackson Heights to live with her mother at the start of the school year, the Pioneers clinched the Queens II title with a 3-0 win over Bryant.

“We lost some good players last year,” Carrasquero said. “The new girls made a tremendous improvement and we played great. To go through the [division] undefeated, I never thought we’d do that.”

Newtown improved to 13-1 overall, 13-0 in the division. Its lone loss was a non-league game against Townsend Harris. Playoff-bound Bryant fell to 12-3, 10-3 in the division. Two of the Owls’ losses have come against Newtown.

“We’re a decent team that can give anyone a run for their money,” said Bryant coach Ralph Montanaro. “Part of it is luck, anything can happen.”

If soccer was won or lost based on ball possession, it would have been the Owls celebrating Monday. But while Bryant had the better of play, it was Newtown that made the most of its few chances.

After Angelica Martinez put Newtown ahead in the 22nd minute, Bryant took the game to Newtown and dominated the rest of the first half. But without striker Siria Jones, who was ruled academically ineligible, the Owls struggled to finish their chances.

“We played well, we outplayed them and dominated them in the first and second half,” Montanaro said. “Breaks are part of the game, but you need an experienced person to take advantage of those breaks.”

That’s where Carrasquero makes the difference for Newtown. In one of the Pioneers’ first scoring chances in the second half, the sophomore striker stole the ball from the Bryant defense and dribbled in on substitute keeper Julie Abad — who replaced injured starting keeper Angelica Soria late in the first half — beating her low to the far post to put Newtown ahead, 2-0.

Two minutes later Carrasquero scored on a carbon copy setup, stealing the ball from the Owls’ defense and slotting it to the keeper’s right to give the Pioneers a commanding 3-0 lead in the 55th minute.

“We have kids who are hungry to score,” Kunkel said. “Alba made two nice plays today. I thought the second goal took away a lot of their steam.”

Added Carrasquero: “I tried to score on the few chances we had. We played hard and wanted to win. We want to get into the playoffs and maybe even get into the championship. You never know.”

If it wasn’t for the play of Bryant sophomore sweeper Eleni Petropoulos the score may have been more lopsided. She knocked away several of Newtown’s most dangerous opportunities — usually with her head.

Led by seniors Abena Osei and Camille Alexander, the Newtown defense also did its job, pushing away most of Bryant’s breaks. And when the Owls did get shots off, like Diana Botero’s two chances with 10 minutes left in the game, they were usually weak shots from long range, making it easy for senior Jennifer Sanchez to make the saves.

Bayside 3, Flushing 0. Emily Andricosky, Irene Guizado and Saba Debesu scored for the Commodores (11-4-1, 11-3-1 Queens I).

Jamaica 6, Van Buren 0. Freshman Kimone McLaughlin netted a hat trick and Claudia Galeano added two goals for the Beavers (9-6, 8-6 Queens III) who clinched a playoff berth.

Forest Hills 5, Beach Channel 0. Ana Borges had three goals, Angela Arbolado and Stafany Feliciano added a goal apiece for Forest Hills (10-8, 6-7 Queens II).

Newcomers 3, Jamaica 1. Zadaika Cantillo scored twice and Beata Borowik added another goal for the Lions in the first half. Keeper Vanessa Fondeur made five saves for Newcomers (10-2 Queens III).

Francis Lewis 3, Flushing 1. Julie Xie, Vanessa Molindo and Natalia Cortes scored for the Patriots (7-5 Queens I).

Bayside 1, Hillcrest 0. Andricosky’s first-half goal held up for Bayside, which was also aided by keeper Melitza Machuca’s five saves.

John Adams 3, Far Rockaway 0. Marja-Lisa Yee had two first-half goals and Jaclyn Francin added another goal while keeper Denise Austin made nine saves — including one on a penalty kick — to lead the Spartans (7-7 Queens II).

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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