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Sep 5, 2017 12:01 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Soccer Preview: Boys League VII Will Be Daunting; A Few East End Girls Soccer Teams Return

Dylan Flores is entering his senior season.  DREW BUDD DREW BUDD
Sep 5, 2017 12:01 PM

Another realignment in boys soccer has once again stretched out schools across Suffolk County into eight leagues as compared to the seven from last season.

East Hampton is the only team that remains in League VI, with Hampton Bays and Southampton both dropping down to League VII, which is now a mixed classification league with Class A and B schools, and it will be a daunting league—every single team made the playoffs last season. Westhampton Beach remains in League V and Pierson/Bridgehampton will now play in the new League VIII, along with fellow Class C schools and the lone D school, Smithtown Christian.

There were some changes with girls soccer as well. After its one-season partnership with East Hampton, Pierson/Bridgehampton will have its own team once again and will play in Class C/League VII. Hampton Bays, after dropping its varsity program for a season due to low numbers, returns as well and will play in League VI along with cross-town rival Southampton. East Hampton and Westhampton Beach remain in League V.

Southampton

Each League VII coach will attest that the league is impressive, and Mariners head coach Dave Riley is no different. Babylon, Center Moriches, Elwood/John Glenn, Hampton Bays, Mattituck and Wyandanch, along with Southampton, all saw different levels of success last year and they will be all expected to do the same this year.

The Mariners graduated some of their top players in Jacob Villalobos, Hunter West, Fabian Elizondo and Timmy Alejo, to name a few, who all had a helping hand in clinching the program’s first ever Class A postseason berth, where it lost in the first round to Sayville.

While some may see this season as a rebuilding year for Southampton, Riley is holding his expectations high as usual. Southampton was ranked third in the preseason behind Center Moriches and Glenn.

“I like to believe good coaching is being able to reload talent rather than rebuild it,” he said. “Winning might seem to be in the [team’s] DNA, but we’ll need it. If we qualify for playoffs in this league, then anything is possible.”

A handful of sophomores who were on varsity as freshmen will be looking to take a step forward. They include midfielder Logan Whitall, defender/midfielder Parker West, defender Ben Luss, left wing back James Malone and forward/midfielder Diego Trujillo. Riley said another handful of players were left on junior varsity last season to give them increased playing time and are now on varsity. They include Saul Ochoa, Oscar Molina, Bruno Flores, Angel Guevara and Tony Lezama. Senior goalie David Nichols also returns for his third season on varsity. Senior Sebastian Pereira, who is arguably the team’s best player, is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered just before playoffs last season. Riley is unsure when he’ll be back.

The Mariners opened the season on Wednesday against Babylon and will play at Hampton Bays this Friday, September 8, at 4 p.m. The Mariners also have a non-league game on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Walt Whitman.

Information on the Southampton girls soccer team was not provided.

Hampton Bays

The Southampton and Hampton Bays programs almost mirror themselves. They both reached the playoffs for the first time ever in Class A last season and they will both compete in a tough League VII this season. And just like Riley, Baymen head coach Scott Garofola is interested, to say the least, to see how the league turns out. Of course there will be a few teams that finish at the bottom of the league standings and won’t qualify for the postseason, but Hampton Bays has been trending upwards the past few seasons, clinching its first ever Class A playoff spot last season and losing its outbracket game at Rocky Point.

Adding to the similarities between the Baymen and Mariners are the losses to graduation. Cristian Loaiza, a four-year varsity starter, graduated, along with one of the top goal scorers in the county in Roberto Orellana. Kaheem Amos is now playing at Farmingdale State and starting goalie Josue Jara also graduated.

But there are number of players returning and a strong group that will make the jump to varsity this season.

Dylan Flores leads the Baymen this season. It will be his fourth season on varsity and he scored a dozen goals last year, a few of which were game-winners. Senior Oscar Vasquez was injured much of the second half last season and is back healthy, as is senior Daniel Brenes. Bryan Rivera, a junior, also returns.

Garofola is excited about what he has coming up from under the varsity program as well. Freshman Chris Lanigan is making the jump from middle school to varsity and already started in the Baymen’s season opener, a 1-0 non-league loss to Lindenhurst at home on Friday. Junior Raymond Carrillo is also on varsity for the first time and Garofola likes the athleticism of sophomore Milan Moraga.

Hampton Bays played its first league game at Center Moriches on Wednesday and will host Southampton on Friday at 4 p.m.

The Lady Baymen are back in the varsity ranks, led by head coach Teresa Loewenthal, who says numbers are back up, with about 18 players on each varsity and JV. Hampton Bays will have a number of seniors on the field this season, led by captains Colette Levine (goalie), Jennifer Andres (sweeper) and Jaline Zhagui (center mid). Other seniors include Geidy Ayavaca (mid), Michelle Torres (defense) and Jessica Velez (forward).

Just like their male counterparts, the Lady Baymen lost their season opener, 1-0, at home to Miller Place on Friday. They will play at Elwood/John Glenn on Thursday, September 7, at 4:30 p.m. and will host Shoreham/Wading River on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Westhampton Beach

The Hurricanes return after suffering a tough loss to Wyandanch in a shootout in the opening round of the playoffs last season. A strong core of players graduated following that loss, including Jay Brezinski, who is now playing at Assumption, Riley Smith and Phil Daleo.

Westhampton Beach does return a number of juniors who got ample playing time last season including third-year varsity player Will Tucker, Matt Canavan, Alex Slover and Cole Hempel. There are a pair of players battling for the starting goalie position in senior Diego Martinez and junior Simon Brathwaite.

League V did see a few teams drop down from League IV. East Islip, Hauppauge and Kings Park are all strong programs that saw success last season. Harborfields, Islip and Rocky Point remain in the league.

Westhampton Beach played its season opener on Friday and played to a scoreless tie in a non-league game with Babylon. The Canes played another non-league game at Comsewogue the very next day. John Felice scored on a penalty kick 1:17 in to overtime to lead the Warriors to the 2-1 victory. Canavan gave the Canes a 1-0 lead in the first half. Brathwaite made eight saves in goal.

Westhampton Beach opened up its league schedule on Wednesday at Harborfields and is scheduled to play at Kings Park on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

The Westhampton Beach girls soccer team finished 4-8 in League V last season, 5-9 overall, and head coach Erika Habersaat is hoping that her young group will improve upon those records. They will have to do so against three new teams in the league with East Islip, Hauppauge and Kings Park. East Hampton, Islip, Harborfields and Rocky Point are back in the league.

All-State selection Jill Mapley leads the Lady Hurricanes this season, along with a pair of All-Conference players in McKinley Skala and Cassidy Canberg. Senior Hailey Daleo is entering her fifth year on varsity and Habersaat expects her to be an impact player. Dianna Glaser, Jemma Spitaleri and Madison Steedman, all juniors, have been on varsity since ninth grade and are all expected to take a step up this season. Freshman Giana Murphy is entering her second season on varsity. Junior Yordi Slover and sophomore Jade Merrell are new faces in goal.

Westhampton Beach opened its season on Tuesday in a non-league game with Riverhead. It hosts Islip on Thursday, September 7, at 4 p.m. and will play at Kings Park on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

East Hampton

The Bonackers are restocked and loaded for another season, with last year’s assistant coach Don McGovern taking over for Rich King as head coach. After last year’s 1-0 loss at home to Harborfields in the opening round of the playoffs, East Hampton is champing at the bit to return to the postseason.

It will have a number of returning players at its disposal, including senior forwards J.P. Palacios and Marco Guatama, senior midfielders Justin Carpio and Manfred Barros, senior defenders Noah Gualtieri and Cristian Chumbi and junior midfielder Zane Musnicki. Kurt Matthews, a junior, missed all of last season with a broken foot, but is back and will start in goal. McGovern expects juniors Keith Quihuiri, Aubrey Tulp and Brian Gonzalez to contribute this season.

“Overall, we have a great group of guys who are working hard and coming together nicely,” McGovern said.

While League VI has seen its changes over the years, East Hampton has remained a constant fixture. This year’s league is made up of Amityville, Bayport/Blue Point, Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Sayville and Shoreham/Wading River.

The East Hampton girls soccer team will have a different look to it as Pierson and Bridgehampton have broken off to become a separate team once again. Cara Nelson also takes over for Mike Vitulli as head coach. She was the middle school head coach the past four seasons.

The Lady Bonackers went 5-11 last season and graduated more than three-quarters of the team, while also losing the handful of Pierson and Bridgehampton players, leaving only five returning players, led by senior Sophia Ledda.

Sophomore Alden Powers is new to varsity and will control East Hampton’s midfield at center mid. Paige Cordone and Asha Hokanson, both freshmen, are new additions as well.

East Hampton will play in League V this season with East Islip, Hauppauge, Kings Park, Islip, Harborfields, Rocky Point and Westhampton Beach. The Lady Bonackers were scheduled to play Bellport in a non-league game this past Saturday and will open league play at East Islip on Thursday, September 7, at 4:30 p.m. before returning home on Saturday to host Rocky Point at 2 p.m.

Pierson/Bridgehampton

The Lady Whalers return to the field this season after playing alongside East Hampton last season. Haley Luzim is back to lead the team as head coach and is excited about a handful of players, including senior center mids Isabella DiRusso and Ava Kiss. Junior sweeper Kelly Kinsella, junior goalie Katie Kneeland and her younger sister Halle Kneeland, a sophomore, will play forward/midfield.

Pierson will play in League VII this season that has Class B and C schools, and a D school in Smithtown Christian. The Lady Whalers opened up with a Mattituck on Friday and lost 4-0 but Luzim liked the way her team played in the first half; the game was scoreless until two minutes before halftime.

“If the girls continue to play with that much heart, we will have a successful season,” Luzim said.

Pierson is scheduled to play at Stony Brook this Friday at 6:30 p.m. and will host Babylon on Tuesday, September 12, at 4:30 p.m.

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Good Luck to all of the Southampton Mariner Girls & Boys soccer teams!
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