Boys soccer: Lions lose out to Presidents in finale

The scoring chances kept piling up for Foran High’s boys soccer team but, in the end, host Harding of Bridgeport walked away with a 2-1 victory at John L. Lewis Memorial Field on Wednesday.

“In the first half we had chance after chance — after chance — and we couldn’t get one,” Foran coach Rick DiStefano said.

Until Tyler Cook hooked in a corner kick from the left wing flag.

“It was really nice. I’m not sure anybody saves that one,” DiStefano said of the first-half goal.

That was all they could muster.

Harding tied it and went ahead on a penalty kick late in regulation, despite a valiant effort by diving Foran goalkeeper Luca Marinelli, who got a piece of the ball.

Marinelli also made a nice play to charge and break up a Harding chance near the top of the 18-yard box.

Harding’s chances were limited thanks to strong defensive play from Caleb Tondora and Ben Carlson.

Midfielder Thomas Kummer helped the Lions possess the ball and move it in transition.

The Lions pressured late, but shots went wide or were corralled by the Harding keeper.

“This is like a microcosm of our season. If you look at possession on the field it was 60 percent and the chances were all ours,” DiStefano said. “We were having trouble finishing and that’s what’s killing us. The kids are working hard. They’re a great bunch of boys.”

Foran concludes the season with a record of 3-10-2; Harding improved to 6-8-2 with one to play.

DiStefano, adding that the Lions will lose a lot in terms of numbers and quality of players with 13 players graduating.

“It’s a great group,” DiStefano said of his 13 seniors. “They’re a great class so we’ll definitely miss them. This is probably the best team in possession we’ve ever had. We’re just struggling in that one final piece. We’ve played great games all year long.”

Seven of the team’s defeats were by one or two goals, including a deceptive 2-0 setback to Xavier of Middletown, the top team in Class LL on Monday.

Locked in a scoreless battle with Xavier, Foran had a chance to take a late lead but the opportunity went by the boards. Xavier countered then added another goal with the Lions pressing to try and get the equalizer.

“We were ten minutes away from a great win,” DiStefano said.

The Lions were not far removed from being a state playoff qualifier.

“We should be in the tournament,” DiStefano said. “We’re good enough to be in the tournament — so disappointed on that standpoint. But I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”

Players who will graduate and leave shoes to fill are Riyad Brikie, Mark McGeehan, Owen Schmidt, Daniel House, Brandon Park, Tyler Cook, Lucas Tuozzola, Caleb Tondora, Maximillian Saltus, Evan Broderick, Dean Vogel, Logan Zahariades and Jack Greenspan.