Underclassmen’s Comeback Saves the Gray Bees’ Perfect Season


Gabriel Cuadrado

Senior Mickey George attempts a goal at the Chaminade game September 10. Benedict’s won 3-1.

Jamal Kareem, Staff Writer

For the second game in a row, the Gray Bee soccer team had to overcome a one-goal deficit to defeat the fifth-ranked team in the nation, Chaminade, in an early season showdown of two big-time high school teams on September 10

The ten-time national champions were in an early match tug-of-war, as both teams battled for possession and shots-on-goal. But twenty minutes in, the New York State Catholic School champions pulled one goal ahead, after the Gray Bees failed to clear a shot saved by UDII Igor Spleter. Chaminade then pounced on the rebound, leaving the Gray Bees down by one. But the Gray Bees never believed the game could not be salvaged.

“We knew that if we continued to play as team, and keep our cool, that we could still fight for the win,” said senior captain Joe Alba.

The Gray Bees did exactly that. With a minute left in the first half, UDII Felipe Lucas converted a cross from senior Louis Silva. The match was now 1-1 going into the halftime break, leaving the Gray Bees with the momentum.

“These are two big-time high school teams locked in horns,” coach Jim Wandling said. “We anticipated a back-and-forth game, and we felt the game would be decided by the side that made fewer mistakes.”

The Gray Bees indeed made fewer mistakes than the opposing team in the second half. It was

again with an assist from senior Matt Moreno, giving the Gray Bees a 2-1 lead they would not surrender. This was the second goal for the first-year varsity player.

UDII Felipe Lucas and his teammates celebrating with the crowd, after the win.
Gabriel Cuadrado
UDII Felipe Lucas and his teammates celebrate with the crowd after the win.

“The match started slow for me,” said Felipe, “but my teammates gave me all the confidence to go on and help the team win.”

Senior John Najarro sealed the win in the closing minutes with a cheeky finish past the goalkeeper.

Coach Wandling was impressed with how his Gray Bees, now 4-0 on the season, have improved from the previous two matches.

“As a coaching staff, we lead our team each match out to look for improvements and this is a very big improvement from our previous two matches, setting us up for a big game again on Wednesday.”

The Gray Bees will look for their fifth consecutive win at the start of the season as they travel to Hightstown, N.J, to take on NJSIAA Prep rivals, Peddie.