It isn’t too often you see a team captain asked to run down loose balls and bring in the water jug after a convincing win. That’s exactly what Poly Prep coach Brooks Sweet made senior Anthony Reyes do following his team beating Collegiate on Wednesday.
"It's my punishment for missing three weeks,” Reyes said with a smile. “I’ll take it as long as I’m not doing anything else, as a long as this is the last punishment.”
The midfielder was off in Puerto Rico trying out for the Puerto Rican U18 National basketball team. He missed Poly Prep’s preseason trip over spring break to Disney World for games and training. Reyes returned Wednesday to pick up a goal and an assist in a home win over Collegiate. Sweet and his teammates were supportive, but he still felt torn.
Poly Prep's Anthony Reyes scored a goal and had an assist against Collegiate in his first game of the season.
“I’m the captain of my team,” he said. “I felt like I was letting my team down.”
Added Sweet: “He doesn’t hesitate to go for the ball. He’ll run by anybody.”
Reyes wasn’t exactly sure how he got the opportunity. A Puerto Rican national team representative contacted Poly Prep coach Bill McNally about Reyes after his name was in the news for scoring the 1,000th point of his career back in February.
“Next thing you know, I’m in Puerto Rico,” Reyes said.
He called the experience unforgettable. It took him some time to get used to the style of play and no one speaking English in the city. The game is really slowed down and methodical compared to New York’s transition game played with a shot clock. He finds out if he makes the team in the next couple of days. Reyes would then go back to Puerto Rico in June and play in the FIBA Americas Championships.
“Hopefully it works out, but if I don’t I always have this,” he said.
Reyes admitted to shaking off a little rust after only practicing the opening weeks of the season. He misfired on his first few shots, but hit his stride as the game went on. It’s his energy and athletic ability that they missed the most. Poly lost its first game to Riverdale without him. Reyes scored seven goals and dished out 19 assists last season as Poly won the NYSAISAA title.
“It’s great to have Anthony back,” junior midfielder Sam Bernstein said. “Anthony is a hard-working player. He is one of our best three midfielders, one of our seniors, one of our leaders, one of our go-to guys. There is no way to measure how good it is to have anything back.”
LIC succeeding minus home field advantage: Long Island City will be road warriors the rest of the season.
The Bulldogs played one game on the school’s home field before it was deemed unfit for competition because of the turf being too ripped up on the north and south ends, according to girls lacrosse coach Kristen Sherlock. They are allowed to practice on certain parts of it, but cannot play games. Her players have embraced the challenge.
“They love it,” Sherlock said. “In the beginning of the season we thought it was going to be hard. We’ve won four games and lost one right now, so I think we have done a great job embracing any challenge that’s come at us.”
A year after finishing 5-7 in the PSAL Bowl Division, LIC is one of the favorites to claim the title. Its only loss is to division leader James Madison 14-13 at its new home site on Randall’s Island. LIC missed the playoffs by one goal last year in a tiebreaker with A.P. Randolph, who outscored them by that margin during the season.
The Bulldogs feature the PSAL’s top scorer in Chantell Chimbo, who has 31 goals in five games. The senior is also a member of the school’s soccer team, which earned its first quarterfinals berth last fall. She’s helped LIC mesh its experience with a group of players that have been thrust into bigger roles. Chimbo is part of a strong midfield with Lindsay Hennessy and Brenda Vergaray that love to be aggressive.
"She is a real leader on and off the field,” Sherlock said of Chimbo. The girls look up to her. I definitely rely on her a lot.”
Curtis finding its groove: Matt Gonzalez understands one regular-season win means little in a long season, but a win over defending PSAL girls lacrosse Class A city champion Tottenville is something to build off of.
“We got to keep that momentum going,” the Curtis coach said. “We still have a lot of tough games coming up. We are hitting our stride now.”
The 11-9 home victory on April 5 followed defeats to fellow contenders Midwood and Beach Channel by a combined three goals. Star Taylor O’Gara scored five goals and dished out two assists and Acacia Metz added three goals. Curtis, which lost the Pirates in last year’s final, won without three starters who were away on a school trip.
“From a team standpoint it was nice for everybody’s confidence,” the coach said.
Gonzalez felt it took a couple games for the team’s new girls to get comfortable. He pointed to defenders Nora Restrepo and Caterina Cusenza, who are both playing for the first times and will only gotten better with more experience.
Anthony Reyes, Reyes, Poly Prep, Puerto Rico, Collegiate, Kristen Sherlock, Puerto Rican national team representative, LIC, Chantell Chimbo