SUFFERN – The timing for Luca Novaes couldn’t be any better.
Scarsdale’s junior forward has been on a scoring tear in the last few weeks, giving the Raiders the go-to option that they had been searching for throughout the regular season. He kept the hot streak going on Monday, scoring the winning goal and assisting on the other in fifth-seeded Scarsdale’s 2-1 win over fourth-seeded Suffern in the Class AA quarterfinals.
“It comes from the heart,” Novaes said. “It’s helped take my team to the next level. Five out of five (games) now (with a goal). I don’t know what happened, but I felt that the team needed it. I’m doing my part.”
Novaes helped the Raiders get off to a fast start, finding Chris Gaujean in the second minute for a 1-0 lead. The Mounties responded with a goal from Myles Solan to equalize in the 16th minute, but Novaes provided the fatal blow in the second half.
He received a pass from Owen Hall in the 65th minute and buried it, making it five consecutive games with a goal for the skilled striker.
“The ball was played wide, and then (Hall) just followed the principle with a low cross,” Novaes said. “The ball bounced my way and I just hit it.”
The win sets up a showdown with league rival New Rochelle in the semifinals on Wednesday after the eighth-seeded Huguenots upset top-seeded Mamaroneck.
Scarsdale beat New Rochelle once during the regular season and tied in the second meeting.
“It’s going to be a hard challenge we both know each other very well, so it’s going to be a battle,” Novaes said. “It should be a good game.”
Player of the game: Luca Novaes, Scarsdale — Even with the Suffern defense paying close attention to him, the junior showed his ability to hold the ball, find his teammates and finish.
“In the beginning of the year, he was playing well, he just wasn’t really finding the back of the net,” senior Michael Spiro said. “At the time that we really needed him to pick it up, he’s definitely been stepping it up. He’s had five goals in the last five games, and a bunch of assists.”
Turning point: Novaes’ goal was the decisive blow, and the Raiders followed it up by withstanding a big push from the Mounties for the equalizer. Senior goalkeeper Kyle Koslowsky made a few clutch saves down the stretch.
Stat line: Scarsdale (9-4-2) — Novaes had a goal and an assist, Gaujean scored and Hall had an assist. Koslowsky made seven saves. Suffern (12-3-2) — Solan scored and Matt Stuttman made six saves.
Quotable: “Suffern is a very a good attacking team, so I really felt that they were going to get another (goal) and we needed to keep pushing forward,” Spiro said. “We sat back a bit and they got one, but luckily in the end we were able to pull through and get a second.”