The varsity boys soccer team looks primed for a return to glory. The Panthers — off to a 3-1 start following Wednesday's 6-0 victory over visiting Long Island Lutheran (LuHi) — appear to have all the ingredients to make a deep postseason run.
After suffering a hard-fought 3-2 loss at Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) rival Hopkins School on Saturday, September 18, Masters has reeled off three consecutive home victories.
"The key to our three-game winning streak is our collective desire," said Demi Oni ’23, a standout striker who noted the season-opening loss to Hopkins acted as a motivator. "This is the first time in two years that we are playing competitive games again and everybody on the team wants to go as far as possible and win as many games as possible."
The unbeaten stretch began with a convincing 7-1 win over The Browning School on Tuesday, September 21. The Panthers then defeated Brunswick School (JV), 3-1, on Monday, September 27, and capped it off by blanking LuHi.
"If we are all determined to succeed, then we as a team can be unstoppable,” center back David Ferrando ’23 said. “We are all very talented players, so all we have to do is believe we can succeed and work collectively as a team."
All told, Masters outscored its last three opponents by a combined total of 16-2, showcasing its multifaceted offensive firepower and stingy defensive acumen.
Daniel Heller ’22 (4 goals, 1 assist), Oni (3 goals, 1 assist), Daniel Medina ’22 (3 goals, 1 assist) and Kyle Benson ’22 (1 goal, 1 assist) all made their mark on the scoresheet during the three-game run.
“The team has been working hard in training to be a lot more efficient in front of goal,” Oni said. “Our goal-scoring exploits so far have been a direct result of that work. This also links back to the strong team desire. We want to not only win games, but win comfortably (scoring goals).”
Ferrando has been a rock for the defense and cited the unit's communication, familiarity and cohesion as reasons for its success.
"As a junior, I strive to try my hardest on and off the field so that the team — and especially the seniors — can finish off the soccer season with a great ending," Ferrando said. "The FAA tournament is not going to be easy, but I do see our team succeeding if we work hard as a team and believe in each other."
Masters — which captured FAA championships in 2014 and 2016 and finished as the runner-up in 2017 — hopes to keep trending in a positive direction. The Panthers will get a stiff test against unbeaten Wooster School on Saturday, October 2. The two squads will square off on Greene Family Field at 3:30 p.m.