Keeping sharp during the summer before the 2014 season commences in early September, the Union boys’ soccer team excelled in a weekend tournament earlier this month and hopes to play well in another one this coming weekend.
Union won three of four games in the Poconos Cup Premier Tournament held in the Poconos, Pa. on July 12-13 to win the under-18 championship.
This weekend the squad will be participating in the Maps 2014 Summer Showcase in Hammonton. It’s a tournament that includes teams from Canada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and Virginia.
In the Poconos Cup Premier Tournament, Union defeated a team from Berks, Pa. called Ajax FC 1-0 in the championship game played on July 13.
In that victory, midfielder Phillip Lopes scored just five minutes into the match – a shot he kicked in from 18 yards out – for the game’s only goal. Earning an assist on the score was substitute Gabriel Silveira.
Outstanding in goal was keeper Izzy Maldonado, who made 12 saves in recording the shutout.
“He was awesome,” assistant coach Roger Novoa said. “He maintained the post and was solid. He’s every coach’s dream for a goalie.”
Union defeated a team from New Jersey called Greater Flemington 2-1 in its first game.
Union then downed a squad from Pa. called Tess Mana 3-1.
Next came a 1-0 loss to the RTSA Mhmk Eagles of New Jersey, which left Union with a 2-1 record that was good enough to qualify it for the championship game in its division.
Union outscored four foes by a 6-3 margin.
“Our defense was solid,” Novoa said. “The team played very well overall, moving the ball left to right.”
The defenders included Achim Younker, Darrell Martin, Oscar Lazo and Ryan Robinson.
Manning the midfield were Phillip Lopes, Joey Novoa, Josh Cunha, Christian Avila and Austin Lopes.
Playing up front as the team’s striker was Adeoluwa Adesanya.
“The midfielders and front line combined to take 15 shots on goal, some of the well-saved,” Novoa said.
All of the players are returning for the high school season. They played on the junior varsity and varsity teams a year ago.
Phillip Lopes and Maldanodo will be juniors.
Other team members include Alex Brito, Kevin Bonnet, Blessing Ogunyinka, Brian Araujo, David Sabrosa, Nicolas Fernandes and Jason Sabrosa.
The team is guided by head coach Manny Lopes.