2015 Briarcliff Bears
Coach — Brandon Beck
How many years have you been coaching with your current team? This will be my 10th season at Briarcliff. I am very excited to begin!
What was your final record last season and where did you finish in the playoffs? Last year we ended 11-6-1. We were the No. 5 seed going into Class B sectionals. We finished in second place in our league (fourth consecutive year in top two of league). We lost to eventual sectional champion, Rye Neck, after leading game 1-0 in the quarterfinals. It was our seventh sectional quarterfinal appearance in eight seasons.
Who are your key returning players?
– Alex Jacobs, senior, midfielder, returning captain.
– Caleb Asamoah, senior, forward, All-Section
– Aaron Duke, senior, center back
– Two starting GKs: Matt Leon and Brendan Krupa (seniors)
Who are the key players that you lost to graduation?
– Barrett Gumina, center back, All-Section
– Phil Nasrallah, outside midfield, All-Section HM
– Max Kaufman, center back
– Rob Misuraca, forward
Did you gain or lose any players from the U.S. Academy system? Sophomore GK, Itai Rubin, playing for NYSC Academy team.
What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? We have the leadership of a returning captain in Alex Jacobs and only lost four starters to graduation. We have a large incoming junior class, which will provide plenty of competition in training, and hopefully make us deeper for those weeks where there are back-to-back (to back) games. Also, we return two goalkeepers, Brendan Krupa and Matt Leon, who split time last year and gained plenty of experience. However, it’s a long season, Class B is extremely competitive and wide open, so we will have to work hard, learn from our mistakes and be tactically prepared to play a tough schedule.
What are some areas of concern? We lost our two starting center backs from last year who played every minute. Right now, that is a big area of concern. Last year, we struggled with getting goals at times, and went four games without scoring a goal. This year, we have to be a stronger attacking team. So, the fact that we will have a brand new defensive back four to put together, and a need for establishing a better attacking presence really makes for a complicated task. Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do.
Who is the most skilled offensive player on your team? Caleb Asamoah led the league in scoring last year.
The best defender? Aaron Duke played every minute last season as a junior and in big games as a sophomore. Our keepers, Matt Leon and Brendan Krupa had six shutouts last season.
The fastest? Will let you know after pre-season testing.
The biggest hustler? Alex Jacobs is our playmaker and plays both sides of the ball best.
Which team is your biggest rival(s)? Briarcliff and Pleasantville is a long lasting school rival as both schools are minutes from each other. Also, Pleasantville coach Savvas Kyriakidis is my neighbor, so there is a little fun there. The Mount Pleasant Cup is always a fun competition and it includes ALL league games, so there is definitely important competition there. (Valhalla, Pleasantville and Westlake). We will be having our 31st annual tournament this year!
Up next: Pelham
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