Audrey Park, staff writer
Boys varsity soccer fell to Hawthorne High School, 4-1, in their first league game on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Hawthorne gained the lead quickly and held the Normans scoreless until the second half.
According to coach Steve Rappaport, Beverly had not played against Hawthorne this season; therefore, Beverly lacked extensive knowledge of the the opposing team.
“We’re going to have to come up with a better strategy for the next time we play them,” Rappaport said. “They’re a very big and fast team.”
Before the game began, senior Matthew Mokhtarzadeh demonstrated excitement in anticipation of taking part in the first league game of the year, yet remained cautious, with the knowledge of Hawthorne being a notable threat.
“Hawthorne is one of our toughest competitors. But I feel that we have a shot at doing well, and perhaps even winning,” Mokhtarzadeh said.
However, the game was not nearly as tight as the Normans had hoped, as Hawthorne jumped out ahead and never gave up their lead.
In the second half, though, there came a highlight in what seemed to be a dreary match. Mokhtarzadeh slid the ball to junior Sean McAlister, who then placed a cross into the goal box for senior Guy Mazar to head into the goal. Mazar has scored in consecutive games.
“I was focused on simply doing my best to get the team back into the game and get a win out of [the competition],” Mokhtarzadeh said.
After letting up four goals, Rappaport aims to not only create a better defensive plan, but also to help the team overcome its “intimidation of size.” Rapport believes that Hawthorne was successful due to its stature and its gameplan.
“Our big issue right now is that we have injuries that we are very concerned about. We’ll strengthen our defensive strategy to remain competitive in future competitions,” Rappaport said. “Three out of the four goals Hawthorne scored yesterday were because of our mistakes which need to be corrected.”
Although Mokhtarzadeh was upset with the team’s loss, he’s confident that the game was a solid learning experience. Mokhtarzadeh hopes that the team will be able to recover quickly and compete for the Ocean League Championship once again.
“It was a tough fight, but a loss is still a loss,” Mokhtarzadeh said. “It’s not an excuse and we have to pick it up. We came around in the second half, which is a positive sign for the next match.”
The team will face Morningside High School next in an away game this Friday at 2:30 p.m.