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Athlete Spotlight – Chris Ciraco, Lakeland Boys Soccer
Lakeland keeper Chris Ciraco sends it up the field against John Jay.
By MIKE SABINI
SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – Lakeland goalie Chris Ciraco recently completed his third year playing varsity soccer for the Hornets.
That included making 7 saves and shutting out visiting No. 20 Pelham, 3-0, in the out-bracket round of the Section 1 Class A Tournament on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Ciraco spent this past season for the No. 13 Hornets as one of their three senior captains, along with David Pinkowsky and Bobby Hernandez.
What was it like to record a shutout in a sectional contest, a 3-0 victory against Pelham, which was your final home game as a Hornet?
It was a very special moment with my teammates. Our fans showed up and really rallied behind us, which got us motivated and helped us on to the win. It was my final home game as a Hornet and one that I will never forget.
How old were you when you started playing soccer and what got you started?
I was 5 years old when I first started playing. My family is very into soccer. We played a lot with kicking the ball around and decided to give it a try. I’ve been playing ever since.
What is your favorite thing about being on the soccer team at Lakeland?
Being a part of a team with great friends, lots of laughs, good memories, and family atmosphere.
What is your favorite team activity or pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?
To hype up my team before a game.
Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?
My parents are my biggest role models because they taught me to never give up, always stay humble, be respectful and to care about others.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know.
I almost decided to play football in high school over soccer, but I know I made the right choice.
Do you plan to continue to play soccer in college? Tell us about where you are going to school and why you chose it?
I am still deciding whether I will continue to play in college. I have a few colleges in mind but still researching the best option for me.
Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro (or college) sports team?
My favorite team is Roma and my favorite player is the goalie Gianluigi Buffon.
What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would want to be able to fly because I can get somewhere faster and also have a great view.
If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?
I would like to go to Greece because of the food and how beautiful it looks.
What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?
After a game I like to go to Salsa Fresca.
Best place to eat in Yorktown and why?
Peter Pratt’s Inn and not because I work there. The food and history of the restaurant is amazing.
What’s the go-to app on your phone and why?
Snapchat because it’s a good way to stay connected with my friends.
For a young athlete growing up in the Lakeland district, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the soccer team and why should they go out for the team?
I would tell them that it’s a great program, committed coaches (Tim Hourahan, Nick Jerussi and Tim O’Driscoll), and not only do you get to play competitively as a team but also for charity events like breast-cancer awareness. You also get to help develop younger players during summer-camp programs, which is a great way to get involved with the community.
SHRUB OAK – The exasperation was real.
Lakeland was in position to win a league title in the final week of the season, but suffered a pair of crushing losses to Peekskill and Lourdes before closing out the regular season with a maddening draw against Panas.
The Hornets were in no mood to be messed with Wednesday.
Some of the swagger returned late in the first half, propelling Lakeland to a 3-0 win over Pelham in a Section 1 Class A outbracket contest.
The season isn’t over yet.
“Last week left us a little broken,” Hornets winger Bryan Jaramillo said. “It also motivated us to keep pushing to just try harder and push forward.”
Lakeland forward Bryan Jaramillo got a step on the Pelham defense in the second half and provided an insurance goal for the Hornets with six minutes to play in a 3-0 victory in a Section 1 Class A out-bracket game on Oct. 20, 2021.
Scoreboard: Playoff schedule, picks and recaps for Oct. 20
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Playoffs: Here are the seeds for the 2021 Section 1 tournament
Kenny Nichols held the back line together when Pelicans began to apply pressure in the early going and Derek Jaramillo came off the bench and immediately changed the momentum, setting up a Connor Daly goal with 12 minutes to play in the half.
The Hornets leveled up once they had confidence and cushion.
“We had a captain who got a red card in our last game so that was motivating, too,” the Lakeland midfielder said. “I wanted him to be able to play tomorrow. And it was the last home game for our seniors and we all wanted to show out for them.”
Pelham defender Charlie Gutch (13) won the race to a through ball and sent it sailing out of bounds as Lakeland forward David Pinkowsky applies pressure. The Hornets won 3-0 on Oct. 20, 2021 and moved into the first round of the Class A tournament.
The Pelicans have dealt with adversity, too, but were in control for the first 20 minutes. A number of set plays were undone by pushing fouls in the box and before long, the Hornets were better organized and counter attacking.
“I’m going to give the credit to my cousin, Derek, because we were lacking in the middle until he came in,” Byran Jaramillo said. “We started to play through the wings, broke through their defense and got a few chances.”
Derek Jaramillo got banged up in practice 24 hours earlier so he wasn’t in the starting lineup.
It was a 2-0 game less than a minute after the intermission when Michael Rodriguez scored in transition.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy the whole game,” Pelham center back Charlie Gutch said. “We struggled winning balls in the air and 50-50 balls most of the game. Once we fell behind we kind of put our heads down for a minute. We started to fight in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. Our spirits dropped when they scored after halftime, but I thought we played better in the second half.”
Lakeland defender Spencer Maja (17) redirects a ball upfield during a 3-0 win over Pelham on Oct. 20, 2021.
Players of the game
The Hornets managed only two shutouts this season, which made the clean sheet kind of a big deal. Nichols covered extra ground on the back line and keeper Chris Ciraco finished with seven saves and one assist.
By the numbers
No. 20 Pelham (5-9-2): Nolan Profitt made two saves and Jake Fellner made one save.
No. 13 Lakeland (9-7-1): Arjun Parambath set up the Rodriguez goal immediately after halftime. … Ciraco punted the ball deep to Bryan Jaramillo, who made a move and scored with six minutes remaining.
Lakeland Ranked #13 in Class A
*RECAP LAKELAND BOYS SOCCER
Monday, Oct. 11: Lakeland High School participates in Section 1 v Section 9 Challenge
In the nightcap of the seventh annual Section 1 vs. Section 9 challenge, which raised $2,850 for the American Cancer Society, Lakeland fell to Goshen 1-0 with Ciraco making 7 saves.
“My teammates, they really helped me all the way,” Ciraco said. “Even when I got hurt later in the game, they were pushing me to play, pushing me to be better. We push ourselves to be better all the time and that makes me want to play better.”
Goshen scored with 14:25 left in the first half.
“Chris had a good game, he made some big saves for us,” said Lakeland coach Tim Hourahan. “We really did not put enough pressure on Goshen or the Goshen defense or the Goshen goalie to get the tying goal.”
Ciraco said it was “amazing” to be part of an event like this.
“I can’t even express how I am feeling right now,” Ciraco said. “Even though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, it was all worth it, playing for a great cause.”
Hourahan said he was proud to be part of this event at Lakeland.
“College coaches are here, it’s bigger than just one game,” Hourahan said. “There were six games. There were really, really good teams in New York State and this region here all for a great cause, as we raised some money for breast cancer awareness.”
Lakeland 4, Lourdes 3 (OT)
Thursday, Oct. 7 (Lakeland High School)
Trailing 3-0 with 25 minutes left in game, Lakeland rallied to beat Our Lady of Lourdes on a Michael Rodriguez goal in overtime, his fourth game-winner of the season, 4-3.
Rodriguez also had an assist, with Bryan Jaramillo (1G, 1A),
David Rodriguez (1G, 1A), David Pinkowsky (1G), and Chris Ciraco (7 saves) doing damage as well on senior night.
Ciraco, Kevin Nichols, Ayden Wisner-Magee, Myles Orf, David Pinkowsky, Robert Hernandez, Spencer Maja, Liam Norris, and Kevin Peralta were the seniors honored.
Lakeland 6, Yonkers 1
Saturday, Oct. 9 (Lakeland High School)
Up 1-0 at halftime, Lakeland defeated Yonkers, 6-1, led by Michael Rodriguez (3G), Connor Daly (1G, 1A), Wisner-Magee (1G),
Anthony Abbondanza (1G), Bryan Jaramillo (1A), Arjun Parambath (1A), Yusuf Elzogolby (1A), Max Sarassutha (1A), and Oban Rader (4 saves).
Goshen 1, Lakeland 0
Lakeland 2, Hen Hud 1 (OT)
Saturday, Sept. 11 (Hendrick Hudson High School)
By: Mike Sabini
Mike Rodriguez tallied the game-winning goal in the 84th minute, to give the Hornets a 2-1 overtime victory against Hendrick Hudson.
“We were fighting all game and looking for a goal to bring us back into the game,” Rodriguez said. “My teammate Bryan Jaramillo gets us a tying goal with around 20 minutes left in the second half and after he scored, I knew we could win the game. Then in overtime we got the penalty and I stepped up and wanted that goal. It felt unbelievable when that ball hit the back of the net. It still feels unreal but we fought and we got the win.”
Rodriguez assisted on Jaramillo’s goal with Ciraco making 5 saves.