PLEASANTVILLE – The dam had only a small leak. Then in little more than a three-minute period, it was like the Johnstown Flood – or, more accurately, the Pleasantville Flood.
Leading only by a goal at the half, No. 6 seed Pleasantville routed No. 11 Albertus Magnus 5-1 in the first round of the boys Class B soccer playoffs Thursday at Pleasantville High.
It might have been a different game if not for a 3:21 span in the second half during which the Panthers scored three times.
Panthers senior Jon Kyriakidis had promised his grandfather Paul a goal for his 77th birthday.
But his grandfather had said, “I don’t know if I just want one.”
Kyriakidis responded with a hat trick, scoring Pleasantville’s first, third and fourth goals.
“We definitely stole the momentum after our second goal,” Kyriakidis said. “Our coach (Kyriakidis’ dad, Savvas) told us if we get the second goal it will be much easier for us but if they get a goal and it’s 1-1, it would be a war for us.”
The 9-4-3 Panthers will play at No. 3 Bronxville in Monday’s quarterfinals.
Albertus Magnus’ season ended at 6-11.
The Falcons nearly tied the score with 17:05 left in the first half. But Panthers sophomore goalie Jan Becerra, making his first sectional start, made a great diving save off a header.
His counterpart, Steven Travaglini, was also strong early.
His diving save robbed Liam Perrine with 3:47 left in the first half.
But, by that time, Pleasantville had already been enjoying a 20-minute lead courtesy of Kyriakidis’ first score off an assist from his brother Marc.
Player of the game: Jon Kyriakidis. It was his assist on a Perrine goal that went in off a defender with Travaglini down that changed the game.
Turning point: That goal, with 33:43 left, gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead and seemed to completely deflate the Falcons.
After that, Jon Kyriakidis scored with 31:55 left and then again with 30:22 left.
Jeremy Stone’s header off a Devin Juros corner kick with 21:30 left made it 5-0.
Stat line: Joe Michalak scored the Falcons’ goal on a free kick with 14:12 to play.
Nolan McAndrew had the assist on Pleasantville’s third goal, Zach Braverman on its fourth and James Grom on its fifth.
Both goalies were officially credited with four saves but snagged multiple loose balls with opposing players on top of them.
Quotables: Albertus Magnus coach Brian Fitzpatrick credited Travaglini with keeping his club in the game in the first half. But he was unhappy with his team’s response to Perrine’s goal.
“The first five minutes (of the second half) we had our chances and showed a little life. But that second goal we didn’t handle it well,” Fitzpatrick said. “You’ve got to be able to get over it.”