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Oct 29, 2018 12:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Falls In Overtime To Center Moriches In Boys Soccer Class B County Championship

Hampton Bays senior co-captain Brayan Rivera was strong on defense in Sunday night's county final. DREW BUDD
Oct 30, 2018 1:25 PM

The Hampton Bays boys soccer team stood tall for more than 90 minutes against Center Moriches in the Suffolk County Class B Championship at Diamond in the Pines in Coram on Sunday night. After both teams went scoreless through 80 minutes of regulation time, they went to a 15-minute sudden victory overtime.

The defending state champion Red Devils pressed the Baymen early and often throughout the overtime period, and with 3:20 remaining, a header by senior co-captain Jack Mahoney, off of a corner kick from junior Liam O’Brien, gave Center Moriches the 1-0 victory over Hampton Bays. The win advanced Center Moriches to the Long Island Championship against Nassau County Class B Champion Carle Place at Berner Middle School in Massapequa on Tuesday.

Sunday night marked the first time the Baymen had appeared in a county championship game in 18 years, but with how even they played with a perennially successful program such as Center Moriches, no one would have realized their lack of playoff experience. While the Red Devils possessed the ball longer than the Baymen, the number of scoring opportunities were practically even leading up to overtime. Even when Center Moriches was pressing in the extra frame, Hampton Bays sophomore goalie Matt Arroyo made two crucial saves about eight minutes in between each other to keep it a scoreless game.

O’Brien’s corner kick, though, was well placed, and then Mahoney headed the ball in a spot where Arroyo, or any of the Baymen defenders for that matter, could not get to it.

“All you need is that one chance in golden goal and they finished,” Hampton Bays senior midfielder Tajay Dallas said. “We had our chances but they capitalized.”

Hampton Bays head coach Scott Garofola gave the Red Devils their due on that final play and said his team did basically everything it was supposed to.

“[Mahoney] is a tall kid, he can jump. He went up and won a great head ball. Sometimes those things happen and unfortunately it happened to us with 3:20 left in the first overtime,” he said.

Hampton Bays defeated Babylon, 2-1, in overtime in the county semifinal on October 24 to reach the county final in what was considered an upset by many. In fact, after finishing with a 4-7-1 record playing in a mixed classification League VI, Hampton Bays had to petition to get into the Class B postseason.

Garofola and his players remarked after the game on what they said was an up and down season. Garofola was hoping that by the time the postseason rolled around he would have a consistent lineup, but that never happened. He was missing a starting midfielder who was away and out of the country on Sunday night, and due to injuries and eligibility issues, Hampton Bays, despite reaching the county championship, simply never had its full complement of players.

“Our hope was to be at a place where we were consistent with the lineup at this point. That hasn’t been the case most of the season,” he said. “It’s been an up-and-down, trying-to-adapt type of season, and I think the boys have done an amazing job considering that’s not an easy situation to put high school kids in, where there always seems to be something shifting, something changing within the lineup for lots of different reasons.”

The players called it an up-and-down season as well but were proud of what they were able to accomplish.

“The season started off a little rough. We got some new guys over the season and there weren’t a lot of guys at the start because they had work and stuff,” Dallas explained. “But as we got going, we started to build chemistry, we started working. We all were seen as the underdogs so we kept fighting.

“I’m just proud that we made it here,” he added. “We gave it everything we got and left it on the field.”

“We’re a great team,” senior co-captain Reymond Carillo said. “We gave the school some hope. We showed that it doesn’t matter how the team is made up, it’s all about how we work together.”

Carillo and Dallas will lead what was a very talented senior group of Baymen at graduation. Brayan Rivera and Daniel Grisales were co-captains, along with Carillo, and Debin Rivera was one of the three players in all of Suffolk County with 20 goals or more, with 22. Yesui Jimenez had the assist on the game-winning goal over Babylon, and Brian Lopez, Kevin Osorio, Edwin Valenzuela, Gustavo Rivera and Christian Sanchez will all be graduating as well.

Despite all of those losses, Garofola is excited with what he has coming back. The team started multiple freshmen in the midfield throughout the season and their experience this season will only help. Sophomore Darwin Fernandez has panned out to be a lethal scorer up top, Milan Moraga will hopefully be healthy as a senior next season after an injury-riddled junior year this fall, and both of the team’s goalies are only sophomores, so they’ll have two more years on the team.

But for the departing seniors, they’ll have this season to think back on years from now and say they were able to break an 18-year absence from the county final for the program.

“I’m just happy,” Dallas said. “Being a senior and getting to be here for my last year, that’s all I could ever ask for,” he said.

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