ILS Boys Soccer Looking For Home Win vs Doral

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Anthony Yero, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Coming off their first victory of the season, the Immaculata La-Salle boys soccer team looks to repeat in the win column once again.

The Royal Lions (1-2) host Doral Academy (1-0-1) Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Lion’s Den.

ILS saw a slow start to the unprecedented season, as they dropped their first two matches — 1-0 Miami Country Day, 4-1 Belen Jesuit — after having no real offseason conditioning and training program. But they turned things around last Thursday, notching a 4-1 home win over Archbishop Carrol.

“The team didn’t get that early time together to work out and build team chemistry,” said Athletic Director Nicholas Fernandez. “I think as the season progresses they will continue to improve and show what they are capable of.”

ILS has accomplished a load of postseason success in past seasons — reaching the State Championship Game in 2018-19 and Regional Semi-final in 2019-20. And while the record may not show it just yet, the team has changed its attitude following their loss at Belen.

“After that game, we knew that that was unacceptable and we knew that we had to turn things around and go in harder the next game,” said senior Franco Paffumi.

The Royal Lions, which finished 5-3-7 last season, hoist a roster that consists of seven seniors, eight juniors, 14 sophomores and 15 freshmen. With a load of youth, inexperienced will serve as an obstacle early in the season. Nonetheless, the goal remains to win a state title.

“We have a lot of young talented athletes, combined with the right amount of seniors,” said Fernandez. “The young players have really held their own, they just need the time to mesh and become a complete team.”

ILS takes on a Firebirds team that finished a perfect 16-0 in the regular season last year and reached the Class 6A Regional Final. Doral defeated ILS 5-2 at home last year. In 2020, they’ve already registered an impressive 3-2 win over Gulliver Prep, and tied 0-0 versus Archbishop McCarthy.

“We’re expecting a hard-fought game but I truly believe we have the ability to come out on top of we all perform at our potential,” said Paffumi, who has scored one goal this season.

After Friday’s contest, the Royal Lions will prepare for a three-game road stand versus Archbishop Carroll on Dec. 9, Ransom Everglades on Dec. 11 and Archbishop McCarthy on Dec. 15. They’ll return to the Lions Den on Dec. 17 to face SLAM Academy before preparing their final five-game stretch of the season in 2021.

“We are excited about what this year could bring,” said Fernandez.