HHS Boys Soccer Season Wrap Up

Jesse Dorfman, Contributing Writer

The 2012 HHS Bears varsity soccer season was nothing short of incredible and inspiring.  Head Coach James Clementi summarized the season saying, “In my first season, I can honestly say it was a crazy one.  After getting off to a poor start, going 2-7, we managed to completely turn it around and go unbeaten in October (5-0-2).  I’ve never seen anything like that happen before in high school soccer.  It’s a testament to our players’ hard work and dedication.  They never lost focus. They strived to be better players. Most importantly, they stuck together through the bad times and the good times… and that’s what good teams do.”

As Clementi acknowledged, when the boys soccer season started, things didn’t look so hot for the HHS Bears varsity team.  Key players like Jimmy Soder and Hakan Sadik were disabled with unfortunate injuries. And on top of all, the junior varsity team made varsity look bad by going on an undefeated streak for about a month. Things couldn’t look worse.

But then, slowly but surely, the team started to pick up and get back on track.  JV player Jake Grootenboer was called up to varsity as an important component to team success, and Hakan Sadik made a fast and healthy recovery. The result was that the Bears were unbeaten in October with 5 wins and 2 ties.  The Bears just made the state playoffs as one of the last seeds.

The first game at Elmwood Park was a shocker.  Elmwood Park took an early 1-0 lead.  The game was then tied with a flying header from JV superstar Ariton Mimini.  “I brought him up to varsity in the state tournament game, and he score a goal in the limited time he was on the field.  I look for him to continue to get better and make some key contributions next season,” said Clementi. The Bears then took a 2-0 lead when Oliver Lantigua scored a penalty kick after a dirty play by Elmwood Park in the goal box.  When it seemed like the Bears had the win,Elmwood Park scored with just moments left in the game to tie it 2-2.  The game then went into a “Golden Goal” overtime.  (The first team to score in overtime wins.)  Very early in, Elmwood Park scored an upsetting, winning goal.  Although it was a hard way for the season to end, the Bears got there in a terrific way and really showed themselves and the school that with hard work, nothing is impossible.

The school and the team are already looking forward to next year.  When Coach Clementi was asked about next year’s team potential he said, “We definitely need to improve everywhere if we want to get back to states next year.  We lose a lot of seniors [Juan Guido, Jose Salazar, Trey Miller, Tom Bushnauskas, Armando Dominguez, George Rodriguez, Ian Cabello, Steve Corralles, Tyler Conlon, Hakan Sadik] that will be difficult to replace.  We will need some upperclassmen to step up into bigger leadership roles next season.”