Class AA final preview
No. 1 Arlington (18-1) vs. No. 7 Yorktown (11-4-4)
When: Saturday at noon
Where: Arlington HS
Key players: Arl — Dillon Ashong, Sr., F; Vinny Colantuono, Sr., MF; Max Giancarlo, Sr., D; George Pogyo, Sr., F; Ryan Wilson, Sr., GK. Yk — Alex Kaczor, So., F; Joey Landicino, Jr., F; Adam Romanski, Jr., MF; Enzo Sangiacomo, Jr., MF; Giuliano Santucci, Jr., GK.
Outlook: Yorktown has built a reputation in the last two seasons as a team that comes up big in the playoffs. The Huskers made it to the Class A final as the No. 11 seed last season and are now in the AA final as the No. 7 seed, so it’s about time that we stop looking at them as the underdog. They’ve proven that they can compete with – and beat – any team in Section 1. And they’ve done it all in these playoffs without Marcello Spiniello, who was expected to be their top scorer but has been out due to a broken foot. In his absence, Yorktown has had several players step up, most notably midfielder Enzo Sangiacomo. He’s a very creative player who controls things from the middle of the field and takes most of the Huskers’ set pieces. He played for New York Soccer Club’s under-14 Academy team last year, as did Yorktown goalkeeper Giuliano Santucci. They’ve provided a huge lift for the Huskers this season. Santucci made some big saves to preserve the shutout against Scarsdale in the semis, and he’ll be opposed by another one of the best goalies in the section, Arlington’s Ryan Wilson. This stat sums up how good Wilson has been: He hasn’t allowed a goal in 16 of the Admirals’ 19 games. Granted, the Arlington defense is so good that Wilson rarely has to make more than five or six saves, but he’s been up to the task when the pressure is on. We’ve talked a lot about how good Arlington is this season, and there are several reasons for that. Wilson and the defense are certainly a big part of it, but it’s the explosive attack that gives the Admirals the ability to bury teams. They’ve outscored opponents 12-0 in these playoffs. Dillon Ashong and George Pogyo are proven finishers up top, while Vinny Colantuono can be counted among the best midfielders in the section. But it’s so much more than three players. No team has as much depth, with very little drop-off for coach Craig Sanborn when he goes to his second unit. Santucci has the ability to keep Yorktown in the game, and we know that the Huskers have a knack for big upsets, but I picked Arlington before the tournament started and I’m not backing off now.
Coach speak: “I think the only way to beat them is to try and be the more aggressive team and keep the pressure on them. Do not make mistakes, if that is possible against them, and hope to put one in first.” — Yorktown coach Ed Polchinski
Prediction: Arlington 2, Yorktown 0