Lynbrook trying to find identity

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The 2018 season started on a positive note and ended strong, but it was a midseason goal-scoring drought that sealed Lynbrook’s fate on the soccer pitch. The Owls, who were unbeaten in their final three matches, finished with an overall record of 4-5-2 and again fell short of a postseason berth.

There’s talent on the roster, but the team is not deep. A lack of varsity experience at key positions will mean some growing pains, but Lynbrook should be in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs in a league that figures to be led by Lawrence and Mineola. The Owls are competing in Nassau Conference A3.

As it did in 2018, Lynbrook got its season off on the right foot with a victory over Locust Valley in the annual Mineola Mustang Cup tournament. Sophomore Conor Lynch scored twice as the Owls rolled to a 4-1 win. Unfortunately, Lynbrook fell short in the final as Mineola’s Jose Guerra, the county’s leading scorer, tallied all three goals to lead the hosts to a 3-0 victory.   

After a 2-0 loss to North Shore on Sept. 12, the Owls fell to 1-3. Coach Josh Berlin is hopeful that his team get back in the win column shortly. “We’re still trying to find our identity,” Berlin said. “We’ve been making mental mistakes or missing assignments and beating ourselves. I’m cautiously optimistic that adjustments we’re making will put us in a better place.”

Forward Alexander Schachinger is the team’s go-to player. Schachinger, who has committed to play at Molloy College, is skilled, passionate, and driven to succeed. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior has a goal and a pair of assists thus far for the season. Senior Nicholas Focarazzo, and juniors Josh Christian and Nayo Dos Santos hope to chip in at forward. Senior Inri Colo is also in the mix for time.

The backline is composed of players who are fast and quick on the ball. This unit should be a strength. The Owls return junior Thomas de Menezes, and a trio of three-year varsity players on defense in seniors Greg DeJoseph, Marco Vinceslao, and Ben Krcic. DeJoseph will be tasked with marking the opponent’s top scorer. 

Senior John Donnarumma, a first-year varsity player, takes over at keeper. Donnarumma is an intelligent player who is getting better every day. Freshman Joseph Patitucci is talented but raw. Patitucci serves as the backup netminder. 

Berlin has a mixed bag at midfield. Senior Samuel de Menezes and hard-working junior Anthony Campos lead the unit. Campos had a goal and a helper in the victory over Locust Valley. Lynch and sophomore Maximo Caseras round out the starting lineup. Junior Nico Cuenca, who is out with an injury, freshman Riley Fowler, and sophomore John Schachinger will all look to contribute at midfield.

“We have to play strong on the ball, and play to and accentuate our strengths,” Berlin said. “We’re yet to play a complete game.”

Lynbrook travels to Plainedge next Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m.