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Oct 25, 2018 11:23 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Rivera's OT Goal Sends Hampton Bays Boys Soccer To County Championship

Bayman Reymond Carillo and a Babylon player tussle for the ball. DREW BUDD
Oct 30, 2018 9:43 AM

Sometimes taking the bumpy road to a destination is the best way to get there. Just ask the Hampton Bays boys soccer team.

The Baymen needed to petition to reach the Suffolk County Class B playoffs after finishing with a 4-7-1 record in League VI, which featured both Class A and B teams. Their petition was granted and the Baymen were awarded the fourth seed and the right to play at top-seeded Babylon on October 24 in the Class B opener. Along the way, Hampton Bays had to deal with injuries and a host of other issues, but after all the ups and downs, the Baymen still had the opportunity to reach the county final right in front of them, and they seized it.

Debin Rivera’s second goal of the game came 7:44 into the first sudden victory overtime to give Hampton Bays its first postseason victory in 18 years, 2-1, over a Babylon team that was 12-0 in League VII and was ranked 11th in the state. Hampton Bays advanced to the Suffolk County Class C Championship against Center Moriches on Sunday night and lost, 1-0 (see separate story).

“The boys deserve good things. They’ve worked hard,” Hampton Bays head coach Scott Garofola said after the big win. “It’s not the easy way. We’ve got Milan [Moraga] in a cast not available to us. Edwin [Valenzuela], our best center midfielder, was not eligible for the playoffs due to not having played in enough games, but like I said, we’re playing with house money. We petitioned in—and we’re in because we deserve to be in—but I said there’s no pressure on us and I know we’re an even team. The beauty of that, in an even match and you’re supposed to lose, there’s no pressure.”

The overtime goal was set up nicely by the Baymen defense. Senior Daniel Grisales cleared the ball out of the defensive end and fellow senior Brayan Rivera took the ball and sent a nice outlet pass to Yasui Jimenez. The senior midfielder brought the ball deep to the right side of the field, pulling in both the defenders and goalie, before crossing it to a wide open Rivera, who booted it into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Both Brayan Rivera and Grisales knew that once Jimenez pulled the defenders in, that Debin Rivera was open, and when a scorer like that is open—he was, at the time, only one of two in the county who has scored 20 goals or more with 22—the game was effectively over.

“I saw Debin making that deep run and I just knew it was over,” Grisales said. “We had great execution throughout the whole game and we were dominating the whole game. We had possession of the ball, we were playing good. Both teams played a great game. It was a great fight.”

Garofola liked everything about that final play.

“We talk about having the right touch into the right space. Sometimes you can clog yourself up. The touch was forward and to the right space, away from the defender. And then the composure, not just to put the ball across, not to put the ball at the keeper, to head-up, find the man. There was one man in there, [Jimenez] found him. That’s what he’s done all season. Debin finishes.”

Debin Rivera opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Babylon tried to clear the ball out of its defensive end but the ball found Rivera instead. He turned and used his left foot to go upper left corner and give Hampton Bays a 1-0 lead. It remained that way until the 37th minute when Jack Hoffman tied the game for the Panthers. Both teams were tied, 1-1, at halftime, and the Baymen certainly had more scoring chances than Babylon in the second half, but couldn’t convert.

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By C Law (339), Water Mill on Oct 25, 18 12:06 PM