Fordham Prep boots Iona for Archdiocesan title
It was a familiar setting for Fordham Prep, taking on rival Iona Prep in the Archdiocesan final in front of friends, family and teachers cheering madly on the sideline at Murphy Field.
And the outcome, with the Rams prevailing 3-2 on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw, was even the same.
“Winning the Archdiocesan championship is always sweet,” Fordham Prep coach Pete McNamara said. “It’s always a great accomplishment. There are a lot of really good teams in the Archdiocese now.”
In a fairly even match, Iona Prep goalkeeper Alex Kapp made some magnificent saves, not allowing anything past him no matter where the ball came from. With six minutes left in regulation, the Boston College-bound Kapp even made a sliding save from outside of the net and sent the ball halfway across the field. Rams keeper Mark Rajovic also played very well, however he wasn’t tested as much.
Following 100 scoreless minutes, the championship would be decided by penalty kicks.
Sebastian Palomino, Mark Kramarchuk, and Greg McNamara scored for Fordham Prep (10-2-5), ranked No. 4 in the city by MSG Varsity.
Kyle Hughes and Humberto Lopes buried their PKs for Iona Prep (9-4-3), but Rajovic stopped Felix Abongo, Francesco Russo and Cesar Ceja, who has a broken orbital bone and didn’t play in regulation and overtime.
“No excuses, we lost,” the Marist-bound Ceja said. “I missed the PK because I had no time to really warm up, can’t take it back though. It didn’t go in and we lost. Being on the bench killed me.”
Rajovic’s final save clinched the title and sparked a wild celebration on the field with Fordham Prep’s large student supporters hoisting the sophomore goalkeeper on their shoulders.
“This is my first year as a varsity goalie,” Rajovic said. “This whole season we’ve wanted this, we wanted to win this game and to get it feels great. I think this win was good for us and I think we’ll get even stronger going forward in the playoffs.”
Both teams advance to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional quarterfinals Saturday at Maritime College, with Fordham Prep taking on rival Regis and defending champs Iona Prep facing Christ the King.
“Winning the championship is fantastic, it’s something they can always remember,” McNamara said. “I thought Kapp played very well and stopped a couple of really good chances. They’ve made mistakes, but they have learned from all of them. Our mindset is one game at a time.”
Iona coach Marcos Monteagudo isn’t discouraged despite another difficult defeat at Murphy Field in the Archdiocesan final. Last year, the Gaels were in the same position and claimed their first-ever intersectional title.
“Our team played well,” Monteagudo said. “I wish that this game could be at a more neutral site, the outcome may have been different. It was a great game. My boys have a lot of confidence going into the playoffs.”