Sherman shines as Arlington Tops Ketcham

FREEDOM PLAINS – In those moments of candor, Jared Sanborn will admit that his team has surprised even him.

Arlington long has been among the better boys soccer programs in the area ― often able to rebuild almost seamlessly ― but there was some doubt, even internally, about how this group would fair.

The roster would be a blend of up-and-comers with seniors, most of whom hadn’t received significant playing time in previous years. This, essentially, would be a cluster of unknowns.

Arlington's Jared Sanborn leads the ball away from Roy C. Ketcham's Noah Schmalz during Wednesday's boys soccer game in Freedom Plains on September 28, 2022.

“I was concerned about us scoring goals,” said Jared Sanborn, a senior. “The build-up play on offense, I didn’t think we had that.”

They didn’t know exactly what they had in this midfield line and how well Michael Cocca would adjust to the “10” position. They also didn’t know how much of a revelation Robert Sherman would be at striker.

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That tandem continued to spark the offense and the Admirals continued to build steam with a 3-1 win over visiting Roy C. Ketcham on Wednesday.

Arlington's Benjamin Marks clears the ball away from Roy C. Ketcham's offense during Wednesday's boys soccer game in Freedom Plains on September 28, 2022.

“My midfield has been playing me good balls and a lot of the credit goes to them,” said Sherman, who scored twice in the first eight minutes. “The defense has been keeping us in games, so we’re not playing from behind a lot. The Chemistry is crazy and we’re moving.”

What it means

Arlington has won six straight since a 1-0 loss to Powerhouse Scarsdale, and that run included five consecutive shutouts with signature wins over John Jay-East Fishkill and Mamaroneck. The team has answered those offseason questions in the affirmative and nudged itself, legitimately, into discussions of the Section 1 title contenders.

“Our team at the beginning was not there, but we’ve gained chemistry and we’ve started to look pretty good,” said Jared Sanborn, one of the defensive anchors. “We’re playing well, and we’ve continuously gotten better.”

Arlington's Michael Cocca attempts a header on Robert Sherman's shot as Roy C. Ketcham's goalie, Ervin Cruz Rubio attempts a save during Wednesday's boys soccer game in Freedom Plains on September 28, 2022.

Cocca, who was among their leading scorers last season, was moved from forward to the midfield earlier this month. The shift allowed them to take advantage of his skills as a ball-handler and facilitator, and help create better spacing for Sherman, who is enjoying a breakout season as their go-to finisher.

“He’s able to create everything from there,” Jared Sanborn said of Cocca. “His movement is amazing and his left foot is something else.”

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