By Connor Beach
The Huntington Blue Devils varsity boys’ soccer team continued its undefeated campaign (6-0) through in Suffolk League III on Tuesday, when it defeated Copiague, 2-0.
However, the Eagles played Huntington tough as the two sides were deadlocked after the first half.
Huntington tried to find space down the wings, but the Eagles’ defense ultimately forced Huntington to play a lot of balls over the top, with little success.
Blue Devils head coach John Pagano said “it was a slow first half and Copiague played disciplined."
He added, “We found some space in the second half, but it was a really even game.”
The Blue Devils defense was also stout. Junior defender Johnny Tucker and defender Mike Abbondandelo made a number of quality clearances, stalling Copiague’s attacks.
Huntington mounted an attack of its own 11 minutes into the second half, when Luis Ortiz scored his third goal of the season off an assist from Freddie Amato, his fourth of the season.
Six minutes later the Blue Devils tacked on an insurance goal when Alex Rivera broke through the Eagles’ defense to find himself with only the keeper to beat. Rivera’s shot produced a rebound that Carlos Reyes buried in the back of the net. Rivera was credited with the assist.
With the second half winding down, the Blue Devils had a few good chances on the break as Copiague pushed hard to get back in the game. Huntington goalkeeper Nat Amato closed out the match with a clean sheet despite several Copiague efforts on goal.
After the game, Pagano said he would like to see his team continue its undefeated streak, but added that the competition in League III is strong.
“It’s not reasonable to think that we’re not going to lose games — the league is too strong,” Pagano said. “The hardest thing with a young group with a lot of juniors and sophomores is to not let them look past the next game in hand. It’s really the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far because they haven’t been down this road before.”