By PAUL GOTHAM
Winners of three straight Section V Class C1 titles, the World of Inquiry boys soccer team stepped into the starting blocks of the 2017 season with their sights set on the postseason. The Griffins return just five starters from last year’s squad which made the school’s second state finals appearance in three years.
The faces may have changed a little. The outcome didn’t.
Ayub Jeylani tallied three goals, including two in the opening minutes, and added an assist as the WOI Griffins defeated the East High Eagles, 9-1 in RCAC boys soccer action Monday.
“We’re excited,” WOI head coach Rich Paufler said. “We’re in it for the long haul. It’s a good way to open the season.”
Jeylani received a through ball from Emmanuel Nsengiyuma and found the back of the net in the match’s sixth minute. The senior attacker took a lead from Ehlermoo Tong and converted one minute later to give WOI all the offense it needed.
“That’s what we wanted to see today,” Paufler added. “That’s what a game like this can do for us. We’ve got so many new players. It’s hard to know exactly where everyone fits; who plays well with each other. A game like can show the young players that.”
Jeylani scored with an assist from his brother, Suheil Jeylani as WOI took an 8-0 advantage into halftime.
Along with their third brother, Yusuf Jeylani, Ayub and Suheil helped the Griffins control the middle third of the field.
“We want to be able to use the width of the field as well,” Paufler explained. “You’ll see me moving those guys around. They won’t always be in the middle. Absolutely, you get strength in the middle and it opens up field, so we can move back into the middle.”
Dagan Merkley capped the first-half outburst when he one-timed a volley in the area. Frankie Santiago took the ball to the end line and found Merkley for the point blank conversion. Santiago collected two assists in the game.
Tong added a goal as did Suheil Jeylani. Joe Mohammed tallied twice for the Griffins, and Isaac Hakizimana rounded to the scoring. Jean Kennedy and Mohamed Kowa chipped in with assists.
Edi Muka converted a Musa Mutombo cross in the 50th minute for East’s lone goal.
The Eagles (0-2) host Pal-Mac on Friday. A 4:30 p.m. kickoff is scheduled.
WOI and Wilson Magnet have a 4:15 start time on Friday.