Home Sports Finney boys soccer makes charge to Class D semifinals

Finney boys soccer makes charge to Class D semifinals


Zachary Memmott, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle USA TODAY Network
Published 1:27 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2018

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C. G. Finney soccer practicing shooting ahead of state semifinals
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Although it’s so small that kindergarten through 12th grade is housed in one building, the Charles Finney School is sending its boys soccer team to the Class D state semifinals.

“We have a group of good guys and we have a humble group,” coach Steven Merritt. “No one is trying to showboat and they have been putting in the work and it’s great. All are very talented and believe this team can win.”

Of the 24 players on the roster, 11 are seniors, with eight of them starting.

“The experience absolutely helps and we have guys that have been through something like this before,” Merritt added. “We knew we had a good team last year. I’ve been working with these kids for about four years now and we all know each other very well.”

Many of the players are multi-sport athletes, a benefit of a small school.

“We are very athletic and since a lot of these kids are multi-sport athletes, they have other skills and conditioning,” Merritt  said. “It’s not all soccer. They are strong in other areas, which is always a benefit.”

It also helps that they have Ian Lau Atencio, who scored 35 goals this season for the 21-1 Falcons.

“The entire season was about how we can help him out and get him free but other teams noticed and so then we showcase our other weapons. The work other guys put in to help him get open is amazing,” Merritt explained. 

Other options include Connor Torrell, only a sophomore, who had a hat trick in Finney’s 5-0 win over North Collins in the state quarterfinals.

“He has grown in leadership ability,” Merritt said. “He used to be rather quiet, but he is one of the guys who isn’t afraid, good IQ and knows where to find the space,” 

Merritt’s playing style is a factor in this team’s success, too.

“I like the ball on the ground, possession-style football. We try to replicate Barcelona, attack quick and defend from the front,” he said. “We do have fast guys that could track down a deep kick, but almost always we try to move the ball up the field.”

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Finney soccer practice
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Finney has outscored opponents 15-1 in its last five games.

It’s the first time in the school’s 27-year history that it has made it this far.

To the team, though, there is still no pressure. 

“We take pride in this whole thing, enjoying the moment and time we are in, so it’s not a matter of feeling too much pressure,” Merritt. We have a lot to thank God for this season,”

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Finney will play Mount Academy at Middletown High School at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 10.

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