Tags Posts tagged with "John Pagano"

John Pagano

by -
0 445
Huntington's Carlos Reyes attempts to settle a pass. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

All the Huntington boys soccer team needed to do was change its offensive strategy after a scoreless first 40 minutes of play to top Copiague, 2-0, on the road Sept. 26, to remain undefeated in League III.

Huntington’s Freddie Amato grabs the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

“You know this is a really good league, and quite honestly, we’ve been lucky in some instances,” Huntington head coach John Pagano said. “We’ve had close games, one-goal games, and any game, even against a team like Copiague [that hasn’t won yet] but are well-coached, we know that we could’ve fallen.”

Copiague spent most of the first half up field, pressing but managing just two shots on goal. Huntington senior goalkeeper Nat Amato was up for the challenge, and made a pair of pedestrian saves to keep Copiague off the board.

Copiague’s goalkeeper returned the favor on the other side, stopping Freddy Amador’s shot after the senior midfielder slipped past a defender on a pass from the middle and fired a shot to the left corner.

Luis Ortiz broke the ice for the Blue Devils in the second half, scoring off a pass from the crowd in front of the Copiague cage at the 29-minute mark. The score changed the tempo of the second half, and Huntington took advantage — spreading out the offense to look for cross opportunities.

Manny Reyes heads the ball over the Copiauge goalkeeper. Photo by Bill Landon

“We pressed more in the second half,” Pagano said. “[Copiague was] laying back with an extra defender, and that made it difficult for us. Once we shifted and stretched them out a little bit it gave us a little bit more passing and running space.”

Opportunity found sophomore forward Carlos Reyes soon after, when he drove in a rebound shot for insurance just over five minutes later.

“It began with the defense and it built from there,” Reyes said of the play. “I thought he was going to cross it in from the far, post but once I saw it start to curve in and then it got past the defender, I was able to get it.”

With the win, Huntington improves to 6-0. Five of the Blue Devil’s wins were one-goal games.

“Our strikers are really fast,” Amador said. “[Copiague is] a really good team. They played really hard for every 50-50 ball, so we have to step up and play hard in every game.”

Huntington is back in action Sept. 28 when the team travels to Smithtown West (4-2) for a 4:30 p.m. game.

by -
0 852
Northport’s Joseph Malico moves the ball while Huntington’s Kevin Gulizio attempts to steal. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Huntington’s Freddy Amador led the way for the Blue Devils Tuesday afternoon with a hat-trick performance that helped his team shut out visiting Northport, 6-0, in the final nonleague game of the season before both teams’ league openers today, Thursday.

Northport's Justin Carrano and Huntington's Kevin Gulizio leap up to head the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Northport’s Justin Carrano and Huntington’s Kevin Gulizio leap up to head the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

The junior midfielder hit the net first off an assist from senior midfielder Kevin Gulizio three minutes into the contest, and the duo paired up again six minutes later but this time Amador fed Gulizio for the 2-0 lead.

“The weather was a factor, it helped us,” Gulizio said. “We played hard, we came out strong and we finished well, but the key was how we started the first 10 minutes of the game.”

With rain that came down in sheets, along with gusty winds, the conditions on the field proved challenging for both teams. Throw-ins from the sideline blew out of bounds, long kicks stalled in the wind and both teams had trouble finding the net for much of the first half.

Despite the weather, Huntington head coach John Pagano expected it to be a tough matchup.

“We knocked them out of the quarterfinals in the playoffs last year, so we figured it would be a tough game,” he said. “But in fairness to Northport, everybody’s trying to see what they have, so you’re mixing and matching and you coach it a little different than you would in a league game.”

Gulizio’s foot gave his team a three-goal lead as the co-captain’s solo shot found the upper left corner of the goal less than 10 minutes into the second half.

Northport struggled to clear the ball and spent little time near Huntington’s goalkeeper, as the Blue Devils amped up the pressure.

“We didn’t come out here expecting to win 6-0,” Gulizio said. “We expected a hard game — they’re a good team — but we got some early goals and that made it hard for them the rest of the game.”

Huntington sophomore defender Edwin Garcia answered next off a cross from senior co-captain and defender Matt Gelb, to extend the Blue Devils’ advantage to 4-0 lead with 26 minutes left in the game.

Huntington's Josh Yanuck redirects the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Josh Yanuck redirects the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Amador drilled a shot unassisted past the keeper for his second goal of the evening, and then scored his hat-trick goal to put the game out of reach.

Unable to score a goal, Northport head coach Don Strasser wasn’t impressed by what he saw of his team.

“We just did not play our best soccer,” he said. “We had an off day — it’s the first time we’ve played on turf this season, but you don’t want to make excuses. And that’s what’s nice about nonleague games, you find your kinks, find what didn’t go right and you try to fix them for the league opener.”

Huntington senior co-captain Mark Rafuse, a defender, said he was surprised by the margin of victory.

“They’re a good team and they came out strong, but they didn’t have a set goalie,” the sweeper said. “So they struggled at that position,” which the Tigers capitalized on.

Northport will travel to Connetquot today, Thursday, for a 4:30 p.m. matchup, and Huntington will host North Babylon at 4 p.m.

Huntington's co-captains Carlos Rivera, Wilber Parada and Olvin Palma set up a play during the Blue Devils' 1-0 Class AA quarterfinal loss to Brentwood on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington's Jayvin Coto leaps up to head the ball in the No. 4-ranked Blue Devils' 1-0 loss to No. 1 Brentwood in the quarterfinal round of the Class AA playoffs on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington’s Jayvin Coto leaps up to head the ball in the No. 4-ranked Blue Devils’ 1-0 loss to No. 1 Brentwood in the quarterfinal round of the Class AA playoffs on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Huntington had several strategies to score a goal, but none of them paid off on Monday. The Blue Devils had difficulty getting shots early and often enough, and the No. 4-seeded boys’ soccer team fell to No. 1 Brentwood, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs.

“They played hard,” Huntington head coach John Pagano said of his team. “They played with the No. 2 team in the state and the difference was one shot.”

Blue Devils sophomore goalkeeper Nat Amato made most of his seven saves in the first half to keep the teams in a stalemate heading into halftime, but Brentwood only needed to make two stops on their end to record the Indians’ 14th shutout of the season.

With 16 minutes remaining in the game, Brentwood scored off a through ball. With the Indians forward in the corner, Amato came to the right side of the box and a Huntington defender dove but missed redirecting the ball. The Brentwood player then crossed it between Amato and another Huntington defender, who was guarding the opposite corner of the net, to break the draw.

Huntington's Marlon Licona regains possession of the ball in the Blue Devils' zone during the team's 1-0 Class AA semifinal loss to Brentwood on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington’s Marlon Licona regains possession of the ball in the Blue Devils’ zone during the team’s 1-0 Class AA semifinal loss to Brentwood on Nov. 2. Photo by Desirée Keegan

In the last 10 minutes, the Blue Devils continued to pressure and push into the Indians’ zone, leaving it all out on the field, but they couldn’t get a good attempt at a goal.

With 5:20 remaining, senior midfielder and co-captain Wilber Parada rushed the ball from the corner to the box, but no one could knock it in — it floated across the front of the net.

“There was no quit,” Pagano said. “They played until the last whistle. We had several scoring chances at the end and the game could’ve easily gone either way. I’m very proud of them.”

Huntington ended the season with a 15-2-2 overall record and a 10-2-2 mark in League III. The Blue Devils will graduate 18 seniors from the roster at the end of this school year, including co-captains Carlos Rivera, a forward, and Olvin Palma, a midfielder.

“It’s been gratifying,” Pagano said of coaching his departing leaders. “It was a pleasure coaching these boys, but it’s going to be sad to see them leave.”

Drops Centereach, 4-1, in enemy territory

Huntington junior defender Mark Rafuse heads the ball away from the net. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

We’ll be seeing the Huntington Blue Devils this postseason.

With a 4-1 win over Centereach Tuesday, the Huntington boys’ soccer team sealed its fate as the team moved to 7-1-1 in League II, guaranteeing them a spot in the playoffs.

Huntington senior forward Carlos Rivera stops the ball to change direction. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Huntington senior forward Carlos Rivera stops the ball to change direction. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Clinching playoffs is nice,” Huntington head coach John Pagano said. “The score makes it look as if we won by a big margin, but I still don’t feel we played the way I think we could.”

Huntington senior forward and co-captain Carlos Rivera put the first point on the scoreboard after taking a short pass off a corner kick and up to goal and shooting the ball into the right corner of the net.

With 5:02 remaining in the first half, senior midfielder and co-captain Wilber Parada scored on the inside left corner off a serve into the box from the right side, for the 2-0 point advantage.

Centereach wouldn’t go down quietly though, and with 1:30 left in the half, junior forward Elmer Alfaro scored on a straight shot up the center, to cut Huntington’s lead, 2-1.

“They played hard,” Centereach head coach Jon Galfano said of his Cougars. “There were a couple of mistakes on the field, but you have to give Huntington credit, too. They set up some beautiful plays.”

Centereach opened the second half with several attempts, but it was Huntington’s Rivera who scored the next goal, off another short pass off the corner kick.

“I have to be proud of my guys, because they never give up, they never quit,” Galfano said. “As a coach, especially at the high school level, that’s all you can hope for, because the kids keep fighting.”

The game grew physical between the two teams, and Pagano said he was pleased with how his team handled the situation.

Centereach defender and co-captain Nick Gennardo tries to get the ball out of Cougars territory. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Centereach defender Nick Gennardo tries to get the ball out of Cougars territory. Huntington midfielder Wilber Parada fights him. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“The game got very physical and actually could have gotten out of hand, but my guys were able to keep their composure,” Pagano said. “They realized the importance of all of these games down the stretch and how we can’t afford to have a player thrown out because of a fit of anger, so I liked that, and our finishing was good. We scored four good goals.”

Centereach junior goalkeeper Jared Steiger made several diving saves to keep the score close, but with the net being pounded, seven saves were not enough.

“I felt good,” Steiger said of his work between the pipes. “There were a few I think I could’ve got, though. As a team, I think we played alright, but we could’ve played better. I think we need to control the middle of the field better.”

With 10:35 left to play, Huntington senior midfielder and co-captain Olvin Palma scored after rocketing a shot on net from nearly 30 yards out, which surprised Centereach’s defense, leaving it with little time to react.

On the opposite side of the field, sophomore goalkeeper Nat Amato, who is in his first year with the team, made some key saves. He made a total of five.

“I felt pretty confident,” he said of being in net, adding that the players have been warm and welcoming to the new addition. “This team has great chemistry, since they’ve all been playing together since they were young. It’s a great team.”

While the Blue Devils are excited for another postseason appearance, the team’s main goal is having a home playoff game.

“We haven’t had a home playoff game in a real long time,” Pagano said. “I think we’re on track to do it. This is a really, really good group of kids, and as you continue to win games, you start to think that maybe a county final run isn’t out of the question. So right now, the way we’re playing, I think we have as good a shot as anybody.”

Social

9,201FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,133FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe