Forest Hills Rangers sit atop

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If there’s a wild card team in Queens East A, it may be Forest Hills, which can make things very interesting this year.

That is, if they have a goalkeeper.

The Rangers, who finished 2-7-3 last year, have eight returning starters as well as a solid group of newcomers. But the question for coach Bob Sprance is is goal, as he is awaiting medical clearance for freshman Ilir Durakovic, a U.S. national pool keeper.

“Hopefully, our experienced players from last year can blend with the new players and we may be able to make the playoffs,” Sprance said.

Among the returning players are senior captain Michael Moncado, senior sweeper Adam Zafran, junior forward Oscar Yepes and junior midfielder Jose Batista, who missed last year because of injury.

A trio of freshmen strikers, Demba Gassoma, Helio Martins and Julio Pascoals, leads the group of newcomers

Jim DeSantis takes over as head coach at John Bowne, the Wildcats third coach in as many years. Bowne was 3-6-3 last year.

Rounding out Queens East A is Franklin K. Lane, coached by Luis Villada. The Knights were 1-9-2 last season.

Queens West A

Long Island City went 5-6-1 last year, but finished behind perennial city power Newtown, Newcomers and Aviation in Queens West A.

This year, coach Alex Bravo thinks he has the tools to make a playoff push.

Back is senior center midfielder Carlos Moncaleano, one of the best-kept secrets in Queens. Also returning are fellow captains Michael Rivera, a senior defender and senior sweeper Roberto Garnica.

Bravo also has a strong group of newcomers, as well as junior Pedro Lemus, who is back from a hand injury that sidelined him last season.

Rolando Figueroa is the only returning starter back from Bryant, who was 2-7-3 last year. The rest of the players, according to 14-year coach Byron Ortiz, “show some talent, but I don’t know how well we’ll be.”

John Adams, which dropped out of Queens West A last year when its coach, Reinaldo Palencia, suddenly resigned, is back after finishing 0-11-1.

Queens North B

Robert Wagner would have garnered all the praise in Queens North B, if not for the resurgence of Thomas Edison, which captured the division crown.

Last year, coached by Ignacio Accardi, the Panthers finished second with an 8-4-2 record and lost a heartbreaker, 3-2, to eventual PSAL ‘B’ champion Lehman. A return to the playoffs is not out of the question in this wide open division.

Hillcrest had a solid season last year, finishing 6-5-2 but missing the playoffs. Keelan Kellman was one of the top strikers in the ‘B’ last year and returns for his senior year as the Hawks could contend for a playoff berth.

Townsend Harris (5-6-2), Jamaica (4-8-2), Arts and Business (0-11-2) and newcomer Queens Vocational, coached by Anthony Ali, round out the division.

Queens South B

Springfield Gardens had another magical year last season, finishing 13-3 and losing to Brooklyn Tech in the ‘B’ semifinals last year.

But the Golden Eagles, a perennial playoff contender, were hit hard by graduation as TimesLedger All-Queens First Team members Andre Elphic and Damion Chambers are both gone, as is head coach Clifton Schultz, who is now coaching on Long Island.

Far Rockaway, coached by Bill Neylon, should again be a powerhouse. The SeaHorses were 10-4-1 last season. Rounding out the division are Van Buren (5-5-4), Richmond Hill (1-11-1) and Beach Channel (1-10-1).

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

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