The Mineola Mischief U-10 travel soccer team may study at Jackson Avenue, Corpus Christi, St. Aidan's, Cross or Hampton Street but found their education at the School of Hard Knocks over the last two weeks of the fall season. Injuries to team members and shorthanded squads led to tough losses to elite competition in their final games. Despite the setbacks, the boys completed their divisional schedule with a 5-2-1 record and an overall mark of 7-3-2 for their first season of the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
In windy and rainy conditions on the third of November the boys met up with the archrival Albertson Soccer Club. The Albertson team used their nickname, the Assault, to dominate a downtrodden Mineola bunch. Playing with only two substitutes at Harbor Links, the Mischief failed to achieve any offensive momentum but were down by only two goals at the break. Andre Covas was tremendous in the twine stopping an onslaught and preventing the deficit from getting worse. The team played with a heavy heart concerned about their center midfielder, TJ Winters, who had been hospitalized overnight with surgery from a fractured elbow. The second half could generate no firepower as the Mischief were held to two shots for the entire game in an outstanding display of disciplined play by the Assault. As the minutes shrunk, Coaches Liam Wachter and TJ Czubakowski used the time to rotate players as a reward for the season's successes to date. Defend-aholics Theo Czubakowski and Nicky Franzini became forwards as Frankie Teixeira and Nicky Ricciardi swapped over to the sweeper roles.
The following week was the season ending climax against the Jericho Tigers. The boys came out inspired and managed to forge a scoreless tie at halftime. Ricciardi, Mike Castellana and Scott Mogavero all had chances to convert in the first twenty five minutes. Covas equally bested the opposing netminder behind four first half saves. Early in the second half, the Tigers took advantage of a three on one surge with the goal that would decide the match. James Pastoressa and Danny McAree attempted to close the gap before another Jericho tally. Sparkplugs Andrew Ines, Brendan Maloney and Danny Stagnari were inserted for goal scoring potential as the final minutes of the season ticked down. Bryan Lopes spent his first game of the season as a field rat instead of assuming his customary goalkeeper's spot.
The team may have been somewhat disappointed with the conclusion of the season but should be very satisfied with the progress made from the summer's early practices. The Mischief will probably find themselves in third place in the final standings leaving them in a position to remain in their current division for the spring campaign. Stay tuned to the Mineola American for a season ending recap of the Mischief's talents in a few weeks.