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Joseph Nikic - November 09, 2010

In the Nikic of time: Senior scores hat trick in Beacon quarterfinal win

Last Updated: 11:57 PM, November 9, 2010

Joe Nikic wasn't trying to fill the void left by Peter Poulos when Beacon's leading scorer went to live with his mother on Long Island last week. But in the Blue Devils biggest game of the year, no one stepped up bigger than the senior forward.

The captain scored a hat trick to lead fourth-seeded Beacon to a 3-2 win against fifth-seeded John Adams in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals Monday at Randall's Island. "You never know who is going to rise in any given game, but I could tell from the beginning that Joe was focused and Joe's our leader in that position," Beacon coach Alec Maher said. "He stepped up at the best possible moment for us."

Beacon's Joseph Nikic looks to settle the ball during Monday's 3-2 victory over John Adams.

Beacon (14-2-1), ranked No. 7 in the city by The Post, advances to the Class A semifinals for the seventh consecutive year and will meet archrival No. 1 Martin Luther King Thursday afternoon. The Knights edged Curtis, 2-1, in another quarterfinal Monday.

"We're very proud of that," Maher said. "We're always running into great opponents like Adams was today. It's an accomplishment for these guys to get back to that point." And the Blue Devils have Nikic to thank for that. He put Beacon in front 35 seconds into the match, taking a pass from Ryan Cupolo and slotting a low shot from the top of the 18-yard box past John Adams goalkeeper Willian Benitez.

"It's definitely a great way to start, especially so early in the game it gets the momentum flowing," Cupolo said. "That's what we needed. We kept the momentum up all game. Even when we they scored on us, we had it in our heads that we weren't giving up, that we were going to keep going until the end." No. 10 John Adams (13-2-2) leveled on a goal from from Bruno Ramirez in the 29th minute and then took a lead in the 37th minute when Rodolfo Paguada was tripped in the box by Beacon defender Jesse White and the Spartans leading scorer converted the penalty kick.

While some on Beacon were starting to get nervous, Nikic was relaxed. "Other people when we went down were screaming a little bit, but Joey really kept his composure and he keeps everyone else calm around him," Maher said. "He was very focused on what he had needed to do." What he did was score the tying goal and the eventual winning tally five minutes apart midway through the second half. His second goal was assisted by freshman Theo Miller, while Cupolo's cross set up Nikic's third goal. "If I didn't put that away, I don't know what I would have done," Nikic said.

Nikic scored a hat trick against Manhattan Center during the regular season, but this was the first time in a varsity playoff game he scored three goals. "I've been thinking about this since preseason, taking our team deep into the playoffs, scoring goals," he said. "But it wasn't just me, it was a team effort." And now Nikic and his teammates get a third crack at Martin Luther King this season. Beacon's only two losses this season came against MLK and the two teams always seem to meet late in the postseason. "It should be a classic," Maher said.

© By DYLAN BUTLER | Thursday, Nov 09, 2010 | Photo: Beacon-John Adams | The NY Post