About a year ago, Sebastian Fuquen and his family moved into the East Hampton School District from Colombia. Growing up playing soccer, or fùtbol, in his native country, it was no surprise that one of the first things Fuquen wanted to do was join the Bonac soccer team.
Without the proper amount of practice, or even playing time, Fuquen was forced to watch last season on the sidelines, including East Hampton’s outbracket playoff loss at Wyandanch. He was, however, with the team through offseason practices in the winter, spring and summer, and when the team opened this season, Fuquen was raring to go.
The Bonackers welcomed Fuquen with open arms, and for that, he rewarded them handsomely when it mattered most. The now senior scored what wound up being the game-winning goal 15 minutes into Monday’s Suffolk County Class A playoff game at Kings Park in a 1-0 victory. Senior goalie Kurt Matthews made six saves to record his eighth shutout of the season, and the 11th-seeded Bonackers (7-7 League V, 9-8 overall) earned their first playoff victory in two years over the sixth-seeded Kingsmen (5-4-3 League IV, 6-5-3 overall).
East Hampton advanced to the quarterfinals where it will play at longtime rival and third-seeded Elwood/John Glenn on Thursday, October 25, at 2 p.m.
Fuquen scored his goal off of a corner kick that Kings Park was unable to fully clear. East Hampton head coach Don McGovern said Fuquen, like many of the upperclassmen, have stepped up in the second half of the season which has led to Bonac’s recent upswing. East Hampton is 5-1 this month, with its only loss coming to undefeated top-seed Amityville in the regular-season finale on October 17. Because of that success, McGovern said, he didn’t change much in terms of strategy or personnel, and just brushed up on some of the top players Kings Park had to offer, since his team hadn’t faced the Kingsmen this season.
“Today was a good, really strong team effort. The boys realized the magnitude of the game and that they had to be successful or their season was over,” he said. “We were able to create, I think, the better scoring opportunities, and when [Kings Park] created some for themselves, Kurt came up big.”
It’s been a while since East Hampton and John Glenn (12-0 League VI, 16-0 overall) have faced each other, having played in separate leagues the past few years, but there is a storied history between the two schools, especially in the postseason. In 2013, a year before going to the state tournament, the Bonackers lost a heartbreaking game to the Knights in penalty kicks in the county semis. McGovern also noted that for a good six-year span, from about 2009-2014, both teams would go back and forth on winning league titles.
“That tells you a lot about the rivalry and what it was like during that span, and since it’s a rivalry game, you can throw some things out the window,” he said. “We’re going in there and we’re going to work hard and try to be successful.”