Ray losses home, leads Molloy to semifinal win

Property on Beach 129th Street in Belle Harbor were destroyed by fire during Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Chris Ray received a sobering reminder of how lucky he felt before scoring the biggest goal of his career. In the morning the Archbishop Molloy sophomore worked on his flooded house on 130th Street in Belle Harbor, which saw many homes burn down during Hurricane Sandy. It added some emotion as he headed to Belson Stadium later that night for the team’s semifinal game.

“I’m one of the only houses [on the block] that is still there,” Ray said. “I feel really fortunate.”

He felt that way again following the Stanners’ 2-0 win over Regis in CHSAA Class AA intersectional boys’ soccer Sunday. Ray had been tentative at times during the season. This time, he charged a beautiful pass from behind the goal from Zach Zayas and hammered it home for the game’s first goal in the 27th minute.

“I was surprised I put it away,” Ray said. “It’s a big game. I didn’t think I’d be able to score. After that, I got my confidence back.

It was a score from a player outside of usual suspects Denes Kostel, who added the second goal of a feed from Mike Mendez in the 69th minute, and Nick Matusewicz. When Ray, who is now living in Brewster, N.Y., is going well, he give Molloy (16-1-0) another scoring threat and an aggressive presence on 50/50 balls.

“It was something he didn’t do at the beginning of the season, Molloy Coach Andy Kostel said. “He really ran to that ball and hit it correctly.”

The Stanners’ defense never let Regis gain momentum and allowed few scoring chances. Kostel praised goalies John Young and Nick Dorcean because of their ability to keep things better organized. Regis (9-9-1) had two scoring shots on goal early in the second half and two more after Molloy already lead 2-0.

“I was pretty happy,” Kostel said. “There were only a couple of occasions where things started to break down.”

With the win, Molloy advances to the final for the first time since it won back-to-back crowns in 2008 and 2009. Its depth and defense are expected to be keys.

“We have a lot of kids that are really good, who always do well for the team,” Mendez said. “We have an advantage because of that.”

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