Post’s All-Bronx boys soccer honors

Horace Mann striker Max Fikke (l.) is The Post’s All-Bronx Player of the Year. Photo by Damion Reid

The Bronx was home to plenty of phenomenal performances, on an individual basis and in a team setting.

Columbus and Lehman were neck-and-neck all year, and both were knocked off in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals. The Explorers claimed the PSAL Bronx A crown after an early-season loss to the Lions. Bronx Science won an opening-round playoff game before the Wolverines faced eventual runner-up Francis Lewis, and in Bronx B, James Monroe made it all the way to the semifinals before running into Thomas Edison.

Horace Mann, meanwhile, was eliminated by Poly Prep in the opening round of the NYSAISAA playoffs, a disappointing result that saw its two-year run atop the Ivy League come to a close.

In the CHSAA, the story of the year was Fordham Prep. The young Rams were supposed to be in the midst of a rebuilding season, but led by seniors Nick Paganelli and Christian Quinttus, Fordham Prep upset Archdiocesan champion Iona Prep and advanced to the Class A intersectional semifinals where Molloy won in overtime. Meanwhile, both Mount St. Michael and Cardinal Spellman enjoyed stellar seasons in the ‘B’ division.

All-Bronx Boys Soccer Player of the Year: F Max Fikke, Horace Mann: The senior striker was a rarity at Horace Mann – a four-year starter and two-year captain. His specialty was finding the back of the net – he scored 20 goals as a junior and 16 as a senior – but Fikke was also an exemplary playmaker and team leader. The Amherst-bound dynamo faced constant double teams, yet somehow continued to excel.

He led the Lions to consecutive Ivy League crowns his sophomore and junior seasons and got them back to the NYSAISAA state tournament this fall.

“He was a dominant player from the get-go, someone we knew we could count on, someone we could look for,” Horace Mann coach Neil Berniker said. “He was a great player and a great individual. He made his mark and really helped us get to where we are as a soccer program. He’s one of the best players I ever coached.”

All-Bronx Boys Soccer Coach of the Year: Pete McNamara, Fordham Prep: With a host of sophomores playing on his team, McNamara knew he’d have to be more patient this year. He took the emphasis off winning and instead stressed improvement from game to game and practice to practice. It took some time, but the Rams responded and matured into one of the top teams in the CHSAA. The early-season ties turned to wins and Fordham Prep battled eventual champion Molloy, a senior-laden squad, to a draw through regulation before falling in overtime in the semifinals.

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