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Sep 3, 2019 3:37 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

The Sky Is The Limit For Both Southampton Soccer Teams This Fall

Diego Trujillo led the Mariners with 14 goals last season. FILE PHOTO
Sep 3, 2019 3:37 PM

When Dave Riley started coaching within the Southampton School District 20 years ago, there were about a dozen kids or so coming out for the soccer teams. Last week, Riley, entering his 14th season as head coach of the varsity team, had 70 players try out for varsity and junior varsity. Eight of those players were goalies, and there will be at least 16 seniors that make up this year’s varsity squad.

It’s a measure of how far the program has come over that span, from an afterthought when compared to what was then a successful football program, to one of the more consistently successful fall programs at the school.

And that success should ring true again this season.

“I predict the fine young men of Southampton will do notable work on the pitch, and often make it look easy,” Riley wrote to players and parents earlier this summer. “The fall of 2019 for Southampton [High School] promises to be exciting.”

After missing out on the playoffs the past couple of years, the Mariners are expecting to garner a postseason berth, and beyond, thanks in large part, to a senior-laden group. Heading up that group is a trio of players that will be tough for many teams to match in Diego Trujillo, Parker West and Logan Whitall, all entering their fourth years on varsity. West was just named in Newsday’s Top 100 Players to Watch this season, while Trujillo and Whitall went to Nationals with their club teams within the past year. Trujillo is also returning as the team’s leading scorer with 14 goals last season.

Joey Avallone, Ben Luss, James Malone, Max Ochoa and Brian Solano are all three-year varsity players who are also returning and will provide the team with some good depth.

Southampton will play in League VII this season in a mixed-classification league of fellow Class B teams along with Class C teams. Defending county champion Center Moriches will also play in the league along with county finalist Hampton Bays. Babylon, a playoff team a year ago, and an improved Mattituck team, also play in the league along with Port Jefferson and ‘C’ teams Pierson, Southold and Greenport.

The Mariners start the season at Greenport on Thursday, September 5, at 4:30 p.m. and will host Pierson this Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Girls

With nearly its entire team returning, the Lady Mariners, coming off of their very first playoff game in program history last season, should add to the buzz surrounding both varsity clubs this season. The only big change came at the top, as Rossely Nava stepped down at the end of last season and was replaced by Sean Zay, a longtime coach within the district. Zay has coached the girls junior varsity soccer team the past few seasons, but he’s also spent time coaching boys soccer and wrestling within his 16 years at the district. He’s excited to be inheriting a team with so much potential.

“If we play up to our ability, I really do think we can be in the county final and become the first Southampton girls team to win a county title,” he said. “We should really give it a go, and I think we can do it, as long as health and luck is on our side. As far as skill goes, we have a lot of girls on the team who can go and make things happen. A lot of these girls work all year on this. They play travel soccer and it’s their number one sport.”

The team will look very similar to last season as eight of the 10 players in the starting lineup were freshmen and all are returning. Southampton’s front line will be led by Fifth Team All-State player Carli Cameron, Taylor Zukosky and Ellie Avallone. Isabel Palumbo and Hallie Beeker will continue to man the midfield, while All-County defender Charlotte Cardel will lead the defense once again along with Gabriella Arnold and Caroline Luss. Senior forward Kyla Camacho and senior goalie Angie Ramirez, who was fifth in saves in the county last season, are also returning and are team captains.

Southampton will continue to play in a power-ranked division system that the county switched to last season, allowing it to play against teams with equal or close to equal ability. Mattituck/Southold/Greenport, which defeated Southampton in the playoffs last season, will continue as a Class B team this season, along with Babylon, Port Jefferson, Center Moriches and Hampton Bays.

The Lady Mariners open the season at home against Westhampton Beach on September 10 at 6 p.m.

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