The Archbishop Molloy Stanners head into this year's Catholic High School Athletic Association playoffs coming off their best run through the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan in 16 years, the last time coach Andy Kostell's team completed its league season perfect, undefeated and untied.
The Stanners completed that run last Thursday with a 4-1 win over St. Francis Prep, getting two goals from Sean Eduoard and one each from Danny Montano and Johan Obegan. The win capped the team's 11-0 season.
"It's a very good team," Kostell said. "What happens from now on depends on how well they play in the playoffs."
The team has received steady contributions from forwards Eduoard and James Papazis and tri-captains Dylan Howell, Montano and Brian Campbell. The Stanners have also benefited from the strong play of goalkeepers James Papazis and John Kelly, who have shared the duties in net all season.
As the No. 1 seed out of Brooklyn/Queens, Molloy was scheduled to take on the team that ousted the club from the playoffs last year, Fordham Prep, Wednesday. The two teams met earlier in the season, with the Stanners walking away with a 3-0 victory, but Kostell is not about to take that for granted.
"Any team we play now has to be considered a good team," he said. "I would say we're definitely contenders."
Molloy last won the title in 1997, the last team to capture the crown since Monsignor Farrell, which has won it three years running. Farrell, the No. 1 seed from Bronx/Manhattan/Staten Island, will face the Xaverian Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.
The No. 2 seed from Brooklyn/Queens, Holy Cross, was slated to face Stepinac in the first round, a game Cross coach Paul Gilvary and his club have been waiting for all year.
"I'm looking forward to [the playoffs]," said Gilvary of his team, which finished the league season 9-2. "This is what you work for for the whole season. We have to play well over the next two weeks. I think that when we play well we can beat anybody."
Brooklyn/Queens No. 3 St. Francis Prep will take on Iona Prep, rounding out the CHSAA 'A' quarterfinals.
The winner will advance to the semifinals on Sunday, most likely at Lehman College, Kostell said. The CHSAA city finals will be played Tuesday at King's Point, L.I.
The CHSAA state title game will be next weekend, starting Friday, Nov. 10, and culminating Sunday, Nov. 12. Last year the state championship was held prior to the city championship, something the CHSAA went out of its way to avoid this season.
"It's better to have the city before the state," said Gilvary, whose team won the state crown last year, but lost to Farrell in the city semis. "It's a more natural progression. All in all it's the best they could come up with. It's the same for every team. You still have to go out and win and advance."
In the CHSAA 'B' city championship playoffs, Monsignor McClancy will be the No. 1 seed out of Brooklyn/Queens, hosting LaSalle in the first round. Cathedral Prep also garnered a home game and will face Salesian. St. John's Prep will travel to face St. Joseph's by the Sea in Staten Island at St. Edmund's will take on Spellman. All first round games will be played Thursday, Nov. 2.
The semifinals will be played Monday and the 'B' city championship will be contested on Friday, Nov. 10.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.