Tornadoes soccer team takes it to finals

Tornadoes soccer team takes it to finals

The Harborfields boys’ soccer team celebrates its semifinal win over Islip. Photo from Beth Bertossi

The Harborfields boy’s soccer team is moving on to the Suffolk County Class A finals after the No. 2-seeded Tornadoes defeated No. 3 Islip in the semifinals on Tuesday, 2-1.

Almost 20 minutes into the first half, midfielder Brian Root scored on a header off a direct free kick taken by midfielder Ben Barnes.

In the second half, Islip scored the equalizer with a goal from Connor Sharpe.

With three minutes left in regulation, midfielder Owen Lamerson scored with a cross into the top right corner, after receiving a cross pass at the 20-yard line.

Harborfields head coach Daniel Greening said this win was a total team effort.

“The boys played well and won the 50/50 balls, which really determined the course of the game,” Greening said in an email. “I think that was the difference between yesterday and when we played them last. This time, we challenged them and didn’t let them get as many chances to turn on us and go to goal. The boys adjusted really well and it was a pleasure to watch.”

Most of Harborfields’ student body came out to support the boys — packing the stands.

“I really think we beat Islip this time because of the pack of over 150 fans shouting and supporting us,” Lamerson said.

The team had a two-week break between winning the League V title and its first playoff game, and Root said it made the team a bit nervous going in, “but we knew what we had to do,” he said.

Root added that a pregame speech given by goalkeeper Will Merhige hyped the team up.

The last time Harborfields played Islip, the Tornadoes came up very short, losing by four goals.

“We played the ball to feet and we were calm and smart on the ball,” midfielder Gerard Espinoza, said.

Espinoza also said his team played to its opponent’s weaknesses.

“We knew they were quick, so we passed with two to three touches max, and capitalized on their weaknesses, which were free kicks and corner kicks,” he said.

Root echoed the sentiment that the Tornadoes played much quicker this time around.

“We benefited from our fans,” Root said. “The fact that it was the last home game for the seniors made the game a lot more emotional. This game really demonstrated that we have what it takes to move further.”

Lamerson said he feels confident going forward.

“This team will accept nothing but a state title,” he said.

The Tornadoes will host No. 5 Amityville today at Dowling College at 4 p.m.