MAMARONECK – Throughout the 2013 regular season, it looked as if no team in Section 1 could touch Mamaroneck.
The Tigers led the section in goals and were the only team to finish the regular season with an unblemished record at 16-0, but perhaps they peaked too soon. Midseason blowouts turned into tightly contested games by the time the Class AA playoffs rolled around, and in the semifinals against Horace Greeley they finally succumbed to the pressure of chasing perfection with a shocking loss.
Senior Juan Giraldo, one of three captains of the Mamaroneck boys soccer team plays the ball during a practice at Flint Park in Mamaroneck Aug. 21, 2014.
“It was a heartbreaker being our only loss,” senior defender Jack Green said on Thursday. “It’s obviously motivation to just keep going forward and don’t let it happen again.”
Fueled by an offense that routinely put up four and five goals per game, Mamaroneck was led by the dynamic duo of forwards Nick Tunic and Juan Giraldo.
Tunic, who was named The Journal News Westchester/Putnam player of the year, is now playing at Central Connecticut State, but Giraldo is back, along with goalkeeper Thomas Orgielewicz and five other returning starters.
No one will be sleeping on the Tigers in ’14, but they believe that they have the firepower to weather the storm.
“I have a bunch of friends from outside — every other team in the section — and they’re always like, ‘We’re coming for you. You’re not going to beat us this year,’ ” senior midfielder Jonhy Maldonado said. “They’re coming for us, and it’s going to be tough.”
Ultimately, Mamaroneck knows that regular-season victories will be overshadowed if it has another postseason disappointment, so the focus is on finishing strong.
“We kind of got cocky at the end of the season because we thought no one could beat us, but that’s a new experience,” Giraldo said. “We learned from that, and we have to learn from our mistakes.”