For those of you who don’t know — and really, how could you? — I played defense in pretty much every sport throughout my time as a high school athlete. Therefore, I have a certain appreciation for the guys who do the dirty work but rarely get the recognition.
As Tappan Zee coach Jon Jacobs aptly pointed out, it’s been the offensive standouts who have gotten most of the Player of the Week love throughout the season. As such, I think it’s time to highlight one of the best defenders in Section 1, and TZ has just the right guy for the job.
The Dutchmen finished the regular season with a flurry, winning six straight to end up with a 12-2-2 record and a likely top three seed in Class A. And according to Jacobs, the player who has been the most instrumental to that success has been defender James Hennessy, who is the latest #lohudsoccer Player of the Week.
The senior led TZ to a 3-0 mark in the past week, with wins over Clarkstown South, Spring Valley and Albertus Magnus. The latter clinched a share of a league title, and it was Hennessy who had the winning assist with five seconds left in the match. He also scored the winning goal against South and had three assists in a win over Spring Valley. And as the pilot of the defense, Hennessy has led a unit that has allowed just four goals in its last eight games.
For the season, the Dutchmen are allowing 0.8 goals per game, and in a rare occurrence, it’s their top defender who leads the team in goals.
“James has led the way in every facet, but offensively and defensively for the league champions,” Jacobs said. “James will hopefully be in the front of the queue when it comes time to selecting both the league MVP and Rockland County’s Player of the Year.”
Others who were considered included Horace Greeley’s Matt Neuberger, Hamilton’s Capy Charles, Pelham’s Sam Teller, Valhalla’s Kaio DaSilva, Bronxville’s Ricardo Timoney, Scarsdale’s Fazl Shaikh, Arlington’s Vinny Colantuono, Clarkstown North’s Cole Spagnoli, North Rockland’s TJ Piscopiello, Riverside’s Esad Mackic, Rye’s Tommy Gates and Edgemont’s Drew Simon.