By Connor Beach
Elwood-John Glenn forward Christian Velasquez netted a hat trick and the Knights improved to 9-1 on the season with a 5-0 shutout of Babylon on Monday.
Velasquez, who scored his 15th, 16th and 17th goals of the season, good for third on Suffolk’s leaderboard as of Wednesday, has helped lead the Knights to a playoff spot, which they clinched with the win.
Head coach Lou Hanner said he’s proud of the team, which extended its streak of playoff appearances to 10 straight. However, they need to continue their winning ways in order to clinch a league title, he added.
Hanner continued, “I think the season is going along, and we are doing what we are expected to do.”
As for Velasquez, “We are really happy with the way he has been playing,” Hanner said. Velasquez is also second in Suffolk County in points this season with 25.
His striker partner, sophomore Julian Castellanos, also made his mark on the stat sheet against Babylon. Castellanos scored one goal and added an assist to establish the Knights dominance in the final third of the pitch. Senior forward Edwin Licona added an assist to the victory, bringing his season total to nine.
Midfielder Adam Astarita played well, box-to-box, in the victory. The junior distributed the ball well with an assist and scored a goal to show his skill in front of net.
Senior goalkeeper and team captain Chris Spalding was the rock for a sturdy John Glenn defense. He made three saves, and senior goalie Steven DeVerteuil made one, to secure Glenn’s sixth shutout of the season.
Spalding also added an assist, showing off his awareness on the counter attack.
Hanner said the Knights must dig deep and remain focused in order to continue their march toward a league title on Friday, 6 p.m., when they’re slated to make a trip to Sayville to face the Flashes.