By PAUL GOTHAM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — For the Greece Olympia Spartans boys soccer team it was a matter of finding their playmakers.
Noah Mohamed connected from just outside the box in the 67th minute as Greece Olympia rallied to defeat the Aquinas Li’l Irish, 2-1 in non-league action Tuesday night.
“Noah Mohamed is a heckuva player,” Olympia head coach Rob DuPrau said. “That upper 90 shot right there is kind of a testament to the kind of player he is. He’s been exciting to watch. He’s been doing a lot of good things for us.”
Mohamed’s goal came after Aquinas took control of the game midway through the second half.
“The second half they started to control the play,” DuPrau said of the Li’l Irish. “We made a couple of moves. We talked about having a little bit more of a penetrating pass trying to find our forwards. It might look a little bit like a counter-attack at times. It’s something that we’ve been working a lot on. Finding our playmakers.”
Moments before the game-winner, Olympia’s Saeed Shaibi was stopped in front of the goal. An Aquinas attempt to clear the ball did not elude Mohammed who capitalized in what was his third game-winner in as many games.
“It feels good,” Mohamed said. “The team worked hard. Everybody deserves it. It’s not all about who gets the chance. It’s all about the win.”
The loss was the fourth of the season by one goal for Aquinas which fell to 1-5.
“Their two best players got it done today,” said Aquinas coach Josh Gleason. “They had two guys that we had to keep our eyes on. Both scored goals.”
Senior Dom Chiarella gave Aquinas a lead in the 23rd minute when Mike Theodorou beat a defender off the dribble and fed Chiarella for his first varsity goal.
Olympia took advantage of a give away in the midfield and tied the score moments later. Shagar Jogi found the net for the Spartans. Mohamed assisted on the play.
“Doesn’t matter who possessed the ball or who had more shots,” Gleason stated. “They had two shots that went in the goal. That’s happened to us. That seems to be the AQ curse for a while. We’ll possess it, possess it and then if a team works hard enough against us, they’ll find a way to steal the game.”
Olympia overcame some early struggles and improved to 4-1 with its third straight win.
“This is our first time playing on turf,” DuPrau noted. “We knew there would be some sloppiness out here. We’re used to playing on grass all the time. Kids played hard. We got a long ways to go. We got a lot of room for improvement, but they’re starting to believe which is exciting. I got some playmakers out there which is fun to watch.”
Aquinas had several chances late in the game including a Justin Pumputis header off a corner kick in the 76th minute that Olympia keeper Joey Carlson turned away.
Olympia hosts Greece Odyssey on Thursday. A 4:30 p.m. kickoff is scheduled.
Aquinas hosts Bishop Kearny on Friday as part of the annual Catholic Cup. A 5:45 p.m start is slated.