Boys Soccer Earns Page in the History Books


Pascack Hills Boys Soccer celebrates first ever North 1 Group 2 Sectional Championship

A sea of orange flooded the Ramsey High School bleachers trickling their fingers and ceased their roaring cheers in a nervous anticipation as a Ramsey player stepped up to take the a shot in the second round of penalty kicks. The crowd was silent enough just to hear the concerned breathing and heart palpitations of the Cowboy Crazies as they wondered if their amazing season was going to end. The Ramsey kicker stepped up to the penalty kick spot to shoot on senior goalie Evan Lazarus. The crowd’s palpable nervousness exploded into thrilled cheers as Lazarus blocked the last penalty kick by diving to his right and saved the game for Hills, securing their first ever North 1, Group 2 Boys Soccer sectional title.

An enormous Cowboy Crazy crowd stormed the field as they excitedly screamed for their victorious friends. Over 250 students left school at 1:30 to witness history and motivate the boys against a strong, top-seeded Ramsey team. Lazarus and Coach Soltmann both noted how helpful and supportive the fans were at the game.

“In my 20 plus years of coaching high school soccer I have never had such a fan support as we had today,” Coach Soltmann said.

The boys came back from a quick two goals scored in the first half with two critical scores by the Pascack Hills Greek duo of Stephano Gikas and Panos Logothetis. Panos scored a penalty kick to get Hills on the scoreboard. Before suffering a disappointing season-ending injury, Stephano Gikas scored right inside the 18-yard box to tie the game.

The game remained scoreless after the two Hills goals just before halftime. After two overtime periods, the game went to penalty kicks. Lazarus exhibited one of his most impressive performances this year blocking two of ten penalty kicks. His fantastic save in the tenth round of PKs secured their 7-6 victory against their Big North Patriot Division rivals. This was the second time they beat their rivals Ramsey, who outplayed Hills to win their divisional title.

After an exuberant weekend celebrating their historic victory, the team prepared to face Garfield in to win the North 2 Boys Soccer title. Clad in orange and shivering in the cold breeze coming through the Indian Hills’ bleachers, the dedicated Cowboy Crazies showed immense support again.

Despite losing one of their best strikers, Stephano to an ankle injury, Hills played a great game against a powerful Garfield team that beat them 4-1 earlier in the season during the county tournament.

Noah Rak’s penalty kick in the 28th minute gave Hills a 1-0 lead going into halftime. However, Garfield played a dominant second half scoring a goal with 30 minutes left. Again the Boilermakers of Garfield High School scored within the final 3 minutes on a direct kick handing hills a heartbreaking 2-1 loss that they couldn’t rally back from. The team was clearly and understandably disappointed by the loss, but they had a great season led by captains Right back Chris Souflis, Sweeper Joe Henni, Forward TJ Calderone, and Goalie Evan Lazarus.

After cementing themselves in Pascack Hills history, the soccer team is losing a lot of seniors. In addition to the four captains, the team is saying goodbye to Alex Scatena, Logan Gross, Omar Maamoun, Bobby Deganaars, Michael Bartel, Dylan Nikol, Griffin Marella, and Stephano Gikas.

When asked for his thoughts on the season, Gikas commented, “This year was a tremendous year for the boys soccer team. Although we didn’t get the league title, we beat our rivals Ramey when it mattered to win the State Sectionals. It’s the first Hills team to do that in 30-40 years. Unfortunately, we lost to a good Garfield team and I was unable to play with my foot injury. I’m really proud of my teammates and myself for leaving a mark on Hills history. I would never want to be a part of another team; definitely the best team I have ever shared the field with.”

Big congratulations to boy’s soccer on a historic and tremendous season.