Alumni Use Experience To Continue Dominance

Edit: Thanks to “Shot Shanker” for giving the update on the goals on either side of halftime. If anyone wants to fill me in on that or any other detail I might have left out… feel free to leave a comment or contact me any other way.

On the warmest 40 degree morning you will ever experience, the Alumni and Academy soccer teams faced off for the eighth time in four years. It was not as easy as one might have expected giving the Alumni owned a 6-1 record against the current Academy team. Keeping true to Academy form, the 11:00 scheduled game time promptly started at 11:30 after some roster and starting position difficulties.

The game was only a matter of minutes old, when the Academy would get the first strike. Following an Alumni turnover on the opening possession, Academy calmly moved the ball down the field into attacking territory when Sami Abdisubhan fed the ball to Maksim Goryunov who brought it up on the near-side flank loosely marked. Max would eventually cross the ball into the box bypassing most defenders towards the far corner of the 6-yard box where it was essentially a one-on-on between alum Frank Levering and current Junior Daniel Hillman. The younger one would have his moment as a well timed leap and connecting on a header over Frank’s head inside the near-side post would put the current Academy squad up 1-0.

The lead would not last very long as only a few moments later, Kevin Scala and Chuck Andrejcisk would get the Alumni moving in the right direction. It would be a well timed pass from the former that beat two defenders and allowed to Chuck to take a couple of uncontested touches before drilling the ball in the back of the net to even up the score at 1.

Kevin would tack on another one a few moments after typing it up at one as the Alumni started to build some momentum. The half would end with the score 2-1 in favor of the Alumni as possession was evenly divided between the two squads with a couple of corners a piece on both sides.

A more resilient Alumni side took the field in the second half determined to the put the game away quickly and they showed it as they dominated ball possession and really controlled the tempo. About 10 minutes into the half, Alumni would strike again to build a 3-1 lead as Kevin received a pass from about 30-35 out and dribbled it to the top of the box before releasing a rocket passed the arms of Academy goalie into the side netting. 2 goals and an assist on a very productive day by the youngest Scala to be an Academy alum.

Half way through the second half, Anish Abuwala got into the mix of things as finally a penalty shot was called in favor of the Alumni following several close tackles inside the box. Anish would make no mistake on the shot as the ball just beat the outstretched feet of the goalkeeper who had incorrectly guessed leaning towards his left to score the final tally for the Alumni to make the score 4-1.

Four unanswered goals by the Alumni really put the game away that even careless goalkeeping would not allow the Academy back into the game. Following a goalkeeping punt that would go a mere 10 yards and a muffed pass backwards by two different keepers, the weak second half goalkeeping would come full circle as Shaban Hani tried to make a comeback for the Academy side as he dribbled into the box near side and would beat the keeper on a low, weak shot and momentarily brought life back into the game at 4-2.

Moments later, both Sami and Alyssa Milanese would attack again after picking up a turnover at midfield and moved the ball relatively easily down the near side. With Sami in the box alone, he had a strong shot but straight at the keeper which was knocked back out to a contested Alyssa who instead of shooting the ball, passed it back to an offsides-Sami and essentially ending the last threat the Academy team would put on the Alumni as the game would eventually finish at 4-2.

A closely contested game would end up being decided on a more disciplined (albeit out of shape) Alumni team which did well to employ the offsides trap on a couple of Academy strikers and using short passes in the middle of the field which allowed them to control possession for a vast majority of the second half. The Alumni had plenty more scoring opportunities but failed to capitalize on them and definitely allowed Academy to stay in the game much, much longer than they had anticipated.

The Academy: End Of An Era?

Well it wasn’t going to last forever and a Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies that has been led by Principal Glenn Methner will come to an end later next month. I had unofficially heard about the news a little while back and had it confirmed by people in the school earlier this week. What was disappointing in this whole ordeal was that I had waited to confirm it before approaching him, yet when I asked Mr. Methner whether he was leaving or not, he completely dismissed what I said as an unfounded rumor and even went out of his way to say “they would have to drag me out of here” for me to leave the Academy. It is a shame for an outgoing school principal to still resort to the same old smoke-and-mirror type political approach that some students became accustomed to while in school for their four years of high school.

Regardless of what you thought of him, coming in and being a principal of a school from inception is no easy task. There are growing pains on both the administration side and they exist on the part of the students as well but that is something you learn and adjust with over the years. From what I can tell, Mr. Methner did just that as an overwhelming number of current Academy students, if not all, were saddened to hear the news of his departure. On the other hand, I’m not sure you can state that same case with the older alumni although there seems to be a unanimous concern towards the next principal who comes and what their vision of this school may entail in the future.

As the soccer team now proudly wears apparel that states “Tradition Never Graduates”, you can make a convincing case that the former students never graduate completely from this school. Almost all students try to make a return trip post-graduation and that speaks volume to the sense of community being built in a high school that’s not even a decade old yet. That sense of community has definitely been built on trust, responsibility and accountability. Some of that which seems to be thrown into a little question with the way all this event has unfolded.

Let me preface this paragraph by saying that technically he does not owe anybody, anything given his years of service to this school. However, knowing what Mr. Methner knew, I think it is inexcusable for someone who is well aware of the impact this transition will have to take such a passive approach towards informing the student population and their families. It is a cowardly step to avoid addressing the issue straight on with your students and a blatant attempt to try and dampen any reaction someone may have by releasing the news on the eve of an extended holiday break. From what I have been informed, he is leaving prior to the end of this calendar year and that is quite a letdown to the current senior class which has obviously grown close to him to be abandoned mid-Senior year prior to graduation without much notice.

You hate to end a respectable tenure on such a bitter note but sometimes things just need to be said… and the sooner the better in most situations.

I look forward to seeing him appropriately attend his first Academy Alumni game during his final days and hope that things work out for the best in the future on all ends — especially for The Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies and those that pass through its two glass doors.

The Blind Side: Don’t Call Him ‘Big Mike’


I finally got around to seeing ‘The Blind Side’ today and I can definitely say that this movie did not disappoint. It stayed very much true to the story that I had heard about and read in the 2006 New York Times piece called ‘The Ballad of Big Mike‘.

The New York Times article, the movie and the book all follow his story really well. For those that have not heard much about the story, it is about a kid named Michael Oher who was taken in by the Tuohy family at the age of 16 when he had a GPA of 0.6. A white couple with a daughter and a son at the school, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, allowed Oher to move in with them and began taking care of his needs after becoming familiar with his difficult personal circumstances. They also connected him with a tutor, who worked with him for twenty hours a week. He eventually brought his grade point average up to 2.52 which made him eligible to receive a scholarship and play Division-I football at the University of Mississippi.

I had initially read this story when it was first published some three years back and followed him somewhat during his collegiate career but it was not until the end of his junior year when he first declared for the NFL draft did I start to follow him again. He would withdraw from the draft and returned to Ole Miss for his senior year and improve on his accolades. He goes on to get drafted by the Baltimore Ravens (for those of you local fans here — it is the same team as Rutgers alum Ray Rice).

So if you get a chance, go see this movie, read the NYT article and even read the book if you get a chance.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

My Unreleased Stevens’ Legal Woes Piece

I wrote this piece the night it was announced that Stevens was being sued by the state’s Attorney General regarding financial improprieties. I don’t really know why I did not publish it that night but I was doing some house-cleaning in my writing folder and stumbled upon it. Keep in mind that this document has not changed since then so clearly more stuff has come out since I wrote it but I just wanted this out there.

Stevens Legal Woes

As a fifth year senior from the Stevens Institute of Technology, last night’s news of the legal proceedings of the misappropriation of endowment funds and excessive compensation were eye opening but should not have been very surprising to anyone within the Stevens’ community.

Stevens Institute of Technology has gone out of its way to try to ensure academic integrity on its campus with seminars and instructional exhibits on the consequences of academic dishonesty. In virtually every single classroom, there hangs up a sign stating the Stevens Honor Code with the quote, “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.” One would think that an institution that has invested significant resources towards its Honor System would at the least be willing to open up its books in the face of these widespread allegations of improprieties.

I have a feeling Stevens doesn’t want this to be a prolonged, dragged out process as they have already highlighted in their briefing earlier for a private, confidential arbitration — which would be a huge win for the Institution but makes you wonder what they have to hide? It could just be a case of hiding bad PR for a private school that has developed international reaches over the past decade and the longer this is out in the media, the more it hurts their standing.

Anyways, here is an email that was just sent out the entire Stevens’ community regarding the legal action that was filed by the Stevens Institute of Technology Board of Trustees. Stevens definitely tries to make a very legitimate case that the Attorney General has overstepped her boundaries but is that enough justification to try and cover up their financial misappropriation of endowment funds and excessive compensation to people like President Hal Raveche.

I love how the following line appears in the first few pages describing Stevens. “It has forged relationships with foreign educational institutes which span the world, and it has become recognized as a significant partner to the United States government in the war on terrorism.” There is nothing more despicable than trying to imply a little fear of terrorism in lawsuits to try to win a case.

I really wonder how much this is political gamesmanship but you have to think this was a long time coming with the financial problems Stevens Institute of Technology has had in the past. It is a little ironic this was announced on the day that Stevens held a humanities forum on the corruption of Jersey politicians and politics.

Plenty of angry sentiments amongst the students from what I have gathered so far but I cannot say it is all one sided. Some people definitely do not like the timing of this announcement with an election coming up in about a month or so but we will see what kind of impact this really ends up having when all is said and done.

I would not expect this to be a speedy process but this certainly livens up senior year as if Hoboken did not already have enough going on.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]