POISED FOR PLAYOFF TRIUMPH
The Beacon Demons have their Manhattan A League title sewn up, and a No. 1 seed for the playoffs is assured. Pictured are Peter Poulos (above) and Pascal Louis (above right). Photos By: Andrew Schwartz "They've played together on the team for four years now, and their one goal is to win," Mahrer said. "There's no selfish play, and they're all very experienced and strong players. They provide really valuable leadership. We came into this year feeling we had as good a shot at the championship as anyone else." It was Sanchez who started the scoring against Stuyvesant last week. Despite several excellent opportunities, including an incredible shot by Congdon that clanked against the crossbar, Beacon did not break through offensively until late in the first half. That's when a misplayed clear by the opposing goalie left the ball at Sanchez's feet. He lifted a feathery 40-yard lob that fluttered into the net. He now has 11 goals and eight assists on the year. At the end of the second half, Freeman made the 2-0 score final with another goal. A classic striker, equal parts blinding speed and muscular determination, he spent most of the game blanketed by defenders, clawing forward against near constant tackles and shoves. Finally, with a few minutes to go, he beat the keeper to a long pass and managed to nudge the ball just hard enough to cross the goal line. "They were running interference on me so I couldn't get the ball and run," Freeman said. "They were doing a good job of crowding me, but we're Beacon. We're just about finding a way to win and a way to score, and that's what we did today." Freeman has tallied seven scores this fall. On the defensive side, Toporek has surrendered only three goals, while making 44 saves-a big part of why Beacon is the new top dog in the city. "It's leadership and hard work," Freeman explained. "We have a really good coach. We started our preseason on Aug. 20 and been working hard ever since. Everyone works together. We emphasize always going after the ball, and that provides motivation to everyone. I'm proud of all the guys. We're doing pretty well." Last year, Beacon lost in the semifinals on penalty kicks. This season, no one will be happy with anything short of a championship trophy. The playoffs begin in about a week. "It'll take a lot of discipline, a lot of character, a lot of stepping up from our younger players," Congdon said. "In the playoffs, you win or go home. We need to show more consistency. If we do that and play the way we know we can play, I think we have a good shot."
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