Both times that Irvington was awarded a penalty kick in the second half of its 2-1 win over three-time defending Class B champ Blind Brook on Wednesday, the Bulldogs summoned Max Kandler from his defensive position to take the kick.
And on both occasions, the senior — who spent the previous two years playing football — delivered.
“I think I’m better under pressure, as opposed to practice,” Kandler said. “I like the responsibility. I work well under pressure. I’m just grateful to my teammates for getting in those positions and handing it over to me, and letting me knock it away.”
Irvington (2-0-1) had a handful of close calls towards the end of the first half, but couldn’t convert until after the break.
“We definitely had a bunch of opportunities that we should have finished,” senior striker Matt Casadei said. “Everybody knew at halftime that we had a good chance of winning this game. We thought we had made the chances, and we knew it was just a matter of time before we put them away.”
Less than three minutes into the second half, a foul inside of the box gave Kandler his first opportunity, and he buried it.
In the 56th minute, Casadei shook loose on a breakaway before being upended by Blind Brook goalkeeper Noah Lubin, setting up Kandler’s second penalty-kick goal.
“I just saw the opening, took one touch, and the keeper was out,” Casadei said. “Before I knew it, I was on my face, right on the ground. I was trying to score. I wasn’t even thinking about trying to draw a penalty kick.”
In the 78th minute, Joao Souza scored on a penalty kick for the Trojans, who dropped to 1-3-1.
At the moment, the Bulldogs are looking like more of a contender in Class B.
“We had a rough start with (a tie against) Sleepy (Hollow), but moving forward, I think we have a strong group of guys,” Kandler said. “I think we have the possibility of going all the way.”
Best of the rest: Coach Ron Hendrie picked up his 300th career victory in North Salem’s 3-0 win over visiting Putnam Valley. Miguel Tunas recorded a hat trick. … Liam Pettit scored twice and Victor Cruz had three assists in host Yonkers’ 3-1 win over Lincoln. … Thomas Shalvey had a goal and an assist in Tappan Zee’s 3-1 win over visiting Spring Valley. … Diego Arias and Dann Quezada each scored for host Sleepy Hollow and Shon Taniuchi and Kenta Wakimoto each scored for Keio in a 2-2 tie. … Alexander Goldman had two goals and two assists in Edgemont’s 6-2 win over visiting Ardsley. … JoseGuzman scored twice in host Port Chester’s 6-0 win over Harrison. … Hector Sandoval had a hat trick in Nyack’s 3-0 win over visiting Albertus Magnus. … Jonathan Kyriakidis had a goal and an assist on his birthday in host Pleasantville’s 2-1 win over Westlake. … Takuno Nishimura had a goal and an assist in Rye Neck’s 3-1 win over host Dobbs Ferry. … Ari Leffell scored twice in Solomon Schechter’s 2-0 win at Hamilton. … Brian Barrenechea, Javier Valencia and Edgar Zepeda each had a goal and an assist in New Rochelle’s 6-2 win over visiting Mount Vernon. … Ciaran Bennett and Miles Robertson each scored in host Pelham’s 2-0 win over Eastchester. … Miguel Perez scored in Hen Hud’s 1-0 win over visiting Panas.