The Mamaroneck Panthers, a U-18 all-star team composed mostly of players from Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye, Rye Neck and Somers, competed in the finals of the New York East State Cup on Sunday, June 14. Ranked #15 nationally by gotsoccer.com, the Panthers went head-to-head with the Albertson Fury, ranked #5.
The Fury had taken the cup every year since 2004, and this year was no different. The Long Island team won 4-2.
But the final score was in no way indicative of the battle put up by the Panthers. Just 6 seconds after the opening kickoff, the Panthers scored. Steph Velez beat the Albertson defender, sprinted with the ball to the right corner and crossed the ball to Rosina Callisto, who put it in the back of the net.
About 11 minutes later, it was Steph’s turn as she put it into the net.
The Panthers midfield and defense held the Fury at bay until the final minutes of the first half, when a Fury corner kick managed to find the goal for a 2-1 Panther lead at the half.
The Panthers and Fury traded several scoring opportunities in the second half, and Albertson was able to convert on one and tie the score. The regulation length game of 45 minute halves ended in a tie.
The overtime period was two more 15 minute halves with no golden goal. Albertson was able to score twice in the overtime and take their 5th consecutive championship.
Despite the loss, the Panthers were proud to have scored against a team that has shut out their opponents in the last three state cups.
Panthers End Ten Year Run
This was the last game for the Panthers. Most of the players graduate this year after having played together since they were 8 years old. Their coach for all those years has been a parent, Michael Callisto.
Earlier in the season, the Panthers played in the Westchester Youth Soccer League, winning all seven of their games. In addition, they participated in a number of tournaments. They were co-champs of the Columbia Invitational Memorial Day Tournament in Maryland (the final was rained out). They won the Jefferson Cup in Virginia in March. And they were semifinalists in the Florida Orange Classic in December.
Steph Velez, a Mamaroneck High School senior named All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association, will play soccer at the University of Buffalo next year. Goalie Phoebe Hanley, also from Mamaroneck, will play soccer at Tufts.