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Poly Prep rallies against Horace Mann

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Poly Prep completed a second-half comeback against Horace Man on the strength of three late goals.

The Blue Devils trailed by a goal at the half, but rallied for a 4–2 win over host Horace Mann in Ivy League boys’ soccer last Friday afternoon. It avenges Poly’s only league game they did not leave with a win when the Bay Ridge school tied Horace Mann 1–1 in the clubs’ first meeting.

“I thought it showed a lot of character,” Poly Prep coach Gerry Stone said of the come-from-behind victory.

Speeding up the game was the key for Poly Prep, according to Stone.

“We picked up the pace, then picked it up a bit more, then a bit more, and finally it was enough,” he said.

More impressive was the fact that all four of the team’s goals were scored by four different players.

“We have a lot of kids who like to get forward and score,” Stone said. “We have a good team where a lot of kids can contribute, that’s been the theme all year. There are a lot of kids out here that can score goals.”

Thomas Clark scored in the 14th minute, Jake Berry in the 52nd, Austin Sansone in the 60th and Will Griffo in the 72nd. Horace Man (3–2–4), which was missing four starters, did lead 1-0 after a score from Michael Byfield three minutes in and 2–1 after a tally from Michael Stier midway through the first half. But Poly (7–0–1) eventually responded.

Sansone and Griffo’s goals were especially spectacular, as Sansone took the ball at midfield and navigated through three Horace Mann defenders before beating the keeper, who had left the net in an attempt to stem off Sansone. Griffo scored by sweeping in and heading a corner kick into the top third of the net.

“Things starting going in our direction because of a little bit of hustle, and that got us more chances, then we finished off a couple,” Stone said.

The key for Poly Prep was not getting down on themselves after the early goal and first-half deficit.

“We’ve been there before,” Blue Devils captain Alden von Ziegesar said. “We know that in the Ivy League it’s whoever works the hardest that’s going to win, and we worked the hardest in the second half.”

Decisively defeating a high-quality opponent has Poly Prep feeling good about its chances down the road in the playoffs.

“To beat a team like [Horace Mann] feels good,” von Ziegesar said. “It means that we’re definitely contenders for the state championsh­ip.”

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