With the regular season quickly nearing its close, the Huntington boys’ soccer team needs to win as many games as it can if the Blue Devils want to qualify for the playoffs. The squad took a step in that direction by toppling visiting Centereach on Senior Day, 2-0.
The teams battled to first half standoff as neither could score over the first 40 minute period. Huntington head coach John Pagano gave his troops a long talk in the north goal at halftime and the Blue Devils responded by playing with greater intensity during the final frame.
Kevin Gulizio broke the stalemate when he scored on a bullet from 20 yards out about 10 minutes into the second half. Ronald Natavi added an insurance goal. Freddy Amador had an assist. Blue Devil goalie Nat Amato notched the shutout, recording two saves. Centereach goalkeeper Ryan McGovern stopped seven Huntington shots.
The Blue Devils honored five seniors before the game during a short ceremony that saw the players joined on the field by one or more of their parents. The teenagers presented one of their parents with a long stemmed red rose as they were introduced by Pagano. The group included Matt Gelb, Mark Rafuse, Robin Alfaro, Gulizio and Natavi.
Huntington enters the current week with an overall mark of 6-5-1. The Blue Devils have four remaining league games. “We have to come out strong and go hard to every ball,” said Amato about the remaining regular season contests. “We can’t sit back and watch, we have to set the tone of the game.”
As one of Huntington’s top players, Gulizio rarely comes off the field. He will be more important than ever to the Blue Devils as they embark on their playoff run. “The key to making the playoffs is just playing how we’ve been playing and focusing on working hard.”
Huntington coaches John Pagano and Jason Suarez are hopeful their squad will rise to the occasion and play with confidence over the final stretch of the regular season.