The Huntington boys’ soccer team won only its second outright league title in three decades this fall, but the Blue Devils still have plenty of other goals to accomplish beginning with Tuesday’s game at home against talented East Islip at 2 p.m.
Huntington comes into the Suffolk Class AA playoffs with a 13-2-1 record. The Blue Devils are seeded No. 3 in the county bracket. Coaches John Pagano and Jason Suarez and the team’s players aren’t taking Tuesday’s game for granted. East Islip is a skilled squad, which finished third in League IV with an 8-4 record (10-6 overall).
Huntington varsity boys' soccer captains Carmine De Ieso, Julien Rentsch and Brian Contreras)
“Tuesday’s game is a big one,” said tri-captain Brian Contreras, who has tallied five goals and four assists this fall. “We are all very excited, but we need to stay focused and humble as we are looking much further than just to win a playoff game.” We have a strong team representing the school and I believe we can achieve great things.”
Huntington has won seven consecutive games, but nothing is guaranteed on Tuesday against East Islip, a well-coached team that is just as hungry as the Blue Devils are for playoff success.
“Heart and determination will win us the game,” exceptional midfielder and tri-captain Carmine De Ieso said. “In the playoffs, it’s not about who has more skill; it’s about who wants it more and we have to prove it.”
There is no admission charge for Tuesday’s game. The Blue Devils are hoping for a big crowd. Students and teachers can just walk across the athletic field at the end of the school day at 2:20 p.m. and pick up the ongoing action.
“First things first; the game is at Blue Devil Stadium, which is a huge advantage, said Manny Reyes, who has four goals and two assists at forward. “I believe if we come out determined and focused, we could win Tuesday’s game. We just have to play our game and do what we need to do.”
Huntington is expecting East Islip to pose a very still challenge on Tuesday. Whichever team advances will play on Friday against the winner of No. 6 William Floyd vs. No. 11 Bay Shore.
“I’m very pumped for Tuesday,” said Carlos Reyes, who has six goals and five assists this season. “It’s going to be a great game. The team has been working very hard for Tuesday. We just have be focused and play our game. We can’t wait.”
The team will once again relay upon its defensive unit, including tri-captain Julien Rentsch, Nick Thompson, Jahmeer Sallet and goalkeeper Cole Pillion, who has recorded 66 saves and eight shutouts.
“Our game against East Islip looks promising, but as we have learned, you can never take any team for granted,” said Thompson, who is also the team’s reserve goalie. “We are the favorite team, but that doesn’t mean anything. We just have to keep working hard together like we have the whole season.”
Huntington has been waiting for the playoffs all season. Now they are here and the Blue Devils have a lot to prove.
“I personally believe we have what it takes to win it all,” said Jasson Garay, who leads the Blue Devils with 15 goals and six assists. “But, it’s just a matter of how bad we want it.”