League III's No. 1-ranked Bulls tally fourth shutout in last five games
By Desirée Keegan
Brandon Erny has now scored the game-winning goal in four of the last five games for Smithtown West boys’ soccer team.
In the Bulls’ 2-0 victory over Huntington Oct. 10, Erny knocked in Smithtown West’s first goal with 22 minutes left in the first half.
A senior co-captain, Erny made his way through midfield and passed the ball to junior Andrew McDonnell at his left. Erny then booked his way to the top of the box, grabbed the ball back from McDonnell and tapped it into the far left corner for the early advantage, and ultimately his team’s six straight win.
“I just wanted to get the ball up top,” he said. “I made the quick pass to Andrew and wanted to get the ball back as quick as possible. This was an important win today.”
Senior co-captain Aaron Siegel made multiple leaping grabs throughout the first half to preserve his clean sheet.
“I felt good today,” he said. “I was vocal; did really good in the air. All of their chances were basically long throw-ins, which I came out collecting. I was good on the line today and the back row did pretty well too, so that helped a lot.”
Huntington senior defender Matthew Gelb, with his mighty throw-ins, gave his team much of their chances at a goal, but the forwards had trouble capitalizing on any opportunities at the net. Huntington junior goalkeeper Nat Amato was also strong between the pipes.
Less than three minutes into the second half, McDonnell received the ball in the first half of Huntington’s zone, and moved it toward Amato — who started coming out of the box — and failed to beat him out as the goalkeeper made the stop. Amato did the same on a rebound opportunity. A minute later after a corner-kick send in, McDonnell got his head on the ball for the 2-0 lead.
Siegel said he knew Huntington was going to be a formidable opponent.
“It’s a tough win every year,” he said. “Huntington is really tough; always challenging. They have a coach over there who gets them energized. They always come at us full speed.”
He said his team stayed focused on Friday during practice to earn the win, his fifth shutout of the season and third at home, and will hope to do the same this Friday when his 10-1 top-seeded team takes on No. 2 Newfield (9-1-1 League III).
Siegel said the game will help them prepare for a postseason push. The co-captains are aiming for the county finals.
“We’re going to get playoff ready — playoff-speed ready — because there’s nothing like playoffs,” Siegel said. “Whether you’re the No. 16 team or the top seed, every team is coming at you, everything team is good and every team is fired up.”
Erny said heading into the matchup that the team will work on its defense against the closely-ranked Wolverines in the hopes that the Bulls can hold it down in the remaining two games against West Islip and Centereach to claim the League III title.
Newfield handed the Bulls their only loss this year. A 2-0 defeat Sep. 17.
“I’m looking for revenge,” Siegel said. “They took one from us on our own field and that’s the only time I’ve ever lost in three years playing here. It’s not going to happen again.”