Boys Soccer Advances to Sectional Semis

By Nolan Sanders

Yesterday the Bobcats established themselves as a team to be reckoned with on the path to states after their dominating 3-1 win against Pelham. Last year with huge expectations the Bobcats lost in this round of sectional play, but this year they never gave Pelham a chance from the opening kick-off.

Photos by Justin Schmalholz

After just six minutes, senior forward Danny Friedman scored on a breakaway with just the goalie to beat. He showed immense composure and technique when he perfectly placed the ball into the back left corner of the net, giving the goalie no chance to stop the ball. An ex-football player, Danny Friedman has made a huge impact on the Bobcats season, scoring 12 goals in the past 11 games for Byram. Danny articulates, “It felt great to secure a win on our home turf against Pelham. It was critical to get a goal early and set the tempo for the rest of the game. We handled our business, and we played our hardest until the final whistle. This game is our benchmark for how we want to play every game throughout the remainder of playoffs.”

Byram held off Pelham from any sort of offense attack, making solid defensive plays whenever the ball went near our goal. Seniors Max Matza and Leo Wagensteen had key headers preventing Pelham from penetrating through. Towards the end of the half, an excellent corner kick from captain Ryan Noel made it to junior Michael Kalian who was able to skillfully fire a ball into the back of the net. The half ended with Byram up 2-1, with a few more opportunities from the Bobcats.

When the second half started a gritty Pelham team changed their formation from the first half. This change initially worked and allowed the Pelicans to score an impressive goal that put them right back in the game. Just after Pelham tied the game 2-1, a defender took out Danny Friedman as he broke away towards the goal. Senior Ryan Noel scored a perfect penalty kick that Friedman caused, and this regained the two-goal lead Byram would keep for the rest of the game. Hopefully, the Bobcats can keep their 10-game winning streak going as they square off against Beacon High School tomorrow. Junior Sebastien Sampere reflected on the win by saying, “The fans presence helped us to play at our best and capitalize on every opportunity we got. Tomorrow we need all our fans to come out so we can keep the momentum rolling.” Danny adds, “The Beacon game will be a very exciting sectional semifinals matchup between two very talented teams both losing only one game. We have a plan set in stone, and if we execute our strategy and play our game, we expect to come out victorious and move onto Saturday’s sectional championship.”

Come support the boys this Thursday at 3 pm on the turf! Special thanks to senior Justin Schmalholz, who has photographed the Boys’ games this season and has created amazing videos capturing their wins.