Missed chances doom Aviation


| zbraziller@queenscourier.com |

Some Aviation players sat, others stood, all motionless on the sideline at Alfred E. Smith High School Field in the Bronx.
The coach, Mario Cotumaccio, started to address his team, looking for the right words to soothe them after the devastating 1-0 PSAL Class A quarterfinal defeat to Evander Childs in penalty kicks.
Then he stopped and began slowly pacing around them. The Flyers were stunned, the coach was in disbelief. “I'm in shock,” he said. “I'm hurt, because I truly felt we were going to go all the way to the finals. I was looking forward to meeting MLK (Martin Luther King Jr., who've won eight of the last nine city titles).That was our goal.”
“I can't believe it,” said Aviation's star senior midfielder, Cedric Bouemboue. “I'm so angry I don't know what to say. We should have won this game.”
They had their opportunities. Junior forward Giorgio Ferrara, the top scorer in Queens A-West, had countless chances after halftime, going just wide with one strike, getting another shot that seemed destined for the far corner blocked by sweeper Dane Laing, and saw his bicycle kicked tipped away by a leaping Steve Salmon, a “flashlight save, “the goalie said, “it was mad quick.”
“I think we deserved to win,” Ferrara said. “But the bottom line is we didn't.”
Bouemboue had the best shot to push Aviation into the semifinals for the second time in three years, hitting the right post in the first minute of overtime with a header. “I saw it going in,” he said. “Out of nowhere it hits the post.”
So the Flyers were forced to try their luck in penalty kicks, an unpredictable event. Even after senior fullback David Brown went high to star the shootout, Cotumaccio said he remained confident. Ferrara and Chris Alesci beat Salmon to even the game at two when Delano Crooks shot high. But Salmon made a dive to his left, punching away Cesar Navarrete's attempt to swing the match back in the Tigers favor.
“I was nervous,” Salmon admitted. “There was a lot of pressure. I just wanted to save it for my team.”
When Christian Colmenares and Edison Mejia each snuck ones past goalkeeper Jonathan Martinez to earn the dramatic victory, Bouemboue, the Flyers' fifth shooter, was left at midfield, his brilliant high school career coming to an unfathomable end.
“I'm mad at myself that I couldn't bring one [title] back to Aviation,” he said. “Everybody was counting on us. Everybody supported us. I feel like I let everybody down.”