FIFTY YEARS AGO…
Monticello Booters Vied for Sectional Crown
by John Conway
It was November of 1971—50 years ago this month—and the soccer team at Monticello High School had high hopes of capturing the school’s first Section Nine championship since 1962.
The Monties had fielded some excellent teams over the years– including the 1967 team which had lost just one regular season game, recording six shutouts on the year– but had not come close to capturing a sectional title in nearly a decade when the 1971 squad recorded 12 regular season wins against a single defeat.
That 1971 team was led by high scoring forward Oscar Rendon, who, according to veteran head coach Ed Kennedy, had accounted for “16 or 18 goals” on the season and line mate Jeff Bulkin on offense and co-captain Vince Dollard and goalie Chris Cummings on defense. Dollard’s older brother, Patrick, had been a defensive standout on that aforementioned ultra-successful 1967 Monticello team.
Following the regular season, which saw the Monties lose an early encounter with Newburgh, and then go undefeated the rest of the way, the teams found itself matched up against perennial powerhouse—and defending sectional champ– Nyack High School in the sectional semi-finals. The game was played at a neutral site, Monroe-Woodbury High School, on what turned out to be a slippery field on a cold Tuesday afternoon, November 9, 1971. Washingtonville and Clarkstown North High Schools met in the other semi-final game, also played at a neutral site, in Nyack, that afternoon.
Prior to the game, Coach Kennedy gave his squad a good chance of advancing to the sectional finals, although he admitted that “Nyack always has a good club.” Recalling the 1962 sectional win, Kennedy told the Times Herald-Record newspaper, “I think it’s about that time again. The kids would really like to win this one.”
The less than ideal weather and the poor field conditions had a lot to do with the way the game was played that afternoon—if not with the ultimate outcome—as each team managed just four shots on goal. Monticello goalie Chris Cummings slipped and fell on one of the Nyack shots, and that proved to be the lone score in the game, which the Indians won 1-0, ending the Monticello season.
“Monticello Coach Ed kennedy was philosophical,” the Record reported the next day. “’What can I tell you? We got beat, that’s all. I can’t fault my team, not at all.’
“The poor field conditions? No, said Kennedy. ‘We both had to play on it, right? We just got beat.’”