Pali High Boys Soccer Kicks at Winter Classic

Palisades’ Maliq Cheka (right) avoids a slide tackle in last Thursday’s Winter Classic opener against Roosevelt at Marquez High. The Dolphins won 8-1.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

For the past several years, the South East Winter Classic has been a measuring stick for the Palisades High boys soccer team.    

That was the case again last weekend and the Dolphins learned that while they possess the talent to win the City Section championship, there are some areas they need to shore up first. Palisades beat Roosevelt and Animo Robinson in pool play last Thursday at Marquez High, but was eliminated by Jefferson in the quarterfinals of the top division Friday night at Huntington Park.

Palisades won four straight games before suffering a 5-0 setback to Sotomayor in the finals last year—equaling the Dolphins’ worst loss in 11 seasons under Coach Dave Suarez—after finishing the shortened tournament 3-0 in 2016-17. The year before, Palisades advanced to the finals, where it lost to Granada Hills on penalty kicks, but the Dolphins got their revenge two months later when they edged the Highlanders 2-1 for their first-ever City title.

This year’s Winter Classic field included many of the City’s elite teams and Palisades wasted little time proving it merits mention among them, scoring early and often to build a 6-0 halftime lead en route to an 8-1 blowout of the Roughriders.     

Gabe Palomares started the onslaught of goals two minutes into the game, Shane Thomas scored in the fourth minute and again in the eighth and Josh Barad scored on a breakway in the 15th minute to make it 4-0. Taylor Strijdveen bent a shot into the corner of the cage in the 25th minute and Luke Amiel scored on a rebound in the 30th minute.

In the second half, Thomas scored on two breakaways to give him four goals before Roosevelt got one back.   

On Thursday night, Palisades took on Animo Robinson and Barad scored the game’s only goal on a header off a corner kick in the 10th minute.

Friday night’s contest was nip and tuck, but Jefferson scored in the 20th minute on a  well-placed shot from 20 yards out and made its lead stand up.

Palisades (5-1-1-) returned to Western League action Wednesday at Westchester.