Northeast reigns

The Vik­ings over­came in­tense down­pours and Samuel Fels to earn their place in the league cham­pi­on­ship game.

Samuel Fels’ Dave McLean and North­east’s Chris Black battle over a loose ball dur­ing a Pub­lic League semi­final play­off soc­cer game on Thursday, Oc­to­ber 27, 2011. Kev­in Cook/for the Times

There was noth­ing routine about Thursday night’s semi­final soc­cer match between North­east High School and Samuel Fels. 

A per­sist­ent drizzle that fell on the field throughout the first half be­came a fierce down­pour by the second half. Play­ers slipped. They sprin­ted up and down the field, half-blinded by the rain in their eyes. 

But none of that seemed im­port­ant. 

All that mattered was the score. 

North­east soaked up a thrill­ing vic­tory, down­ing Fels, 4-1, for the Pub­lic League Class AAA semi­final win. With the tri­umph, the Vik­ings’ soc­cer team ex­ten­ded its over­all re­cord to 11-1-1. 

“I think we dug down deep to come up with that win,” said North­east coach Sam Feld­man. “When the weath­er got worse, we got more de­term­ined and got bet­ter.” 

North­east put four goals on the score­board cour­tesy of Sam Chen, Kev­in Kur­eta, Richard Laurent and Shav­ar Shep­herd. 

Seni­or goal­tender Howard Lynn had five saves for the Vik­ings. The only Pan­ther to get the ball past him was Samuel Fels cap­tain Musa Kamara. 

“I’m feel­ing so good right now,” said Lynn. “Our next step is Wash­ing­ton, and if we play like we did today, we’ll have no prob­lem beat­ing Wash­ing­ton.” 

(North­east battled long­time rival George Wash­ing­ton High School in the Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship. The game was played after the Times went to press this week.)

“I was very con­fid­ent today,” ad­ded Lynn. “We knew that Fels was a good team. They beat us in the reg­u­lar sea­son, 3-2 in double over­time, but I felt good about our team today be­cause we all went out there and played like a fam­ily. We have good coach­ing and good play­ers that play to­geth­er.” 

At the start of the sea­son, on Sept. 7, it was the Pan­thers cel­eb­rat­ing their vic­tory over North­east. It would be the Vik­ings’ only loss of the sea­son. The Pan­thers went on to com­pile a 10-3 over­all re­cord, in­clud­ing five shutouts. 

“It was a tough game. They played hard,” Lynn said of the Fels soc­cer squad. “It was so crazy with the rain. The first half wasn’t that bad, but the second half was ter­rible. That’s when every­one star­ted get­ting soaked. 

“Every time I kicked the ball, I would just see puddles com­ing off of my head. It was rain­ing so hard,” he ad­ded. “I ac­tu­ally couldn’t catch any­thing with my hands be­cause of the gloves, but it worked out for the best.”

Play­ing in dread­ful weath­er is noth­ing new for the tri-sport ath­lete. Lynn also has played for the North­east High School foot­ball and base­ball teams over the past three years — and has en­dured his share of rain-soaked games. 

“Howard has been do­ing everything I ex­pec­ted him to do. He’s a lead­er both on and off the field for a lot of our kids,” said Feld­man. “I’ve had him for four years of base­ball and four years of soc­cer. Howard is go­ing to give you 110 per­cent all the time. That’s what you ex­pect and that’s what you get.”

In ad­di­tion to guid­ing the Vik­ings’ soc­cer squad to the cham­pi­on­ship game this sea­son, he’s a kick­er for his school’s de­fend­ing cham­pi­on foot­ball team.

North­east went 3-3 in the Pub­lic League Gold Di­vi­sion this sea­son, good enough for a berth in­to the foot­ball post­season. But the Vik­ings’ dreams of an­oth­er title were dashed on Fri­day af­ter­noon — Cent­ral beat North­east, 28-20, in the first round of the play­offs. 

“Foot­ball is all right. We’re work­ing hard this sea­son,” said Lynn, who had 15 ex­tra-point kicks and three field goals.

Lynn first got a taste of cham­pi­on­ship glory last year, when he helped the Vik­ings win the Pub­lic League foot­ball crown for the first time since 1983.

Now he’s hungry for more. 

“I’m hop­ing this could be the next one,” said Lynn, as he looked to­ward the cham­pi­on­ship soc­cer game against Wash­ing­ton. “I got a jack­et last year and I’m hop­ing to get an­oth­er one for next year. I want the new jack­et for when I get out to col­lege, so I can rep­res­ent North­east.”

Lynn has ap­plied to vari­ous col­leges while mak­ing plans for his fu­ture. He wants to study in­dus­tri­al man­age­ment and con­tin­ue his ath­let­ic ca­reer.

ldquo;I want to play all three sports — that’s my life. That’s what I do,” said Lynn. “I want to play for my moth­er, Pa­tri­cia. That’s who I’m play­ing for. 

“I’m try­ing to make a good liv­ing for my­self so I can help my moth­er out when I grow up,” he ad­ded. “She was a single mom my whole life. She made sure everything was there for us no mat­ter what. She made sure there was al­ways food on the table and everything. This is all for her.” ••

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­

North­east faced George Wash­ing­ton in the Pub­lic League soc­cer cham­pi­on­ship on Tues­day even­ing. Vis­it on Wed­nes­day for all the game ac­tion. 

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