Alex Rivera celebrates goal

Blue Devil Boys’ Soccer Shows it’s for Real

Huntington's Alex Rivera celebrates another goal. (Mike Connell photo.)

September 18, 2017

They just keep winning. The Huntington varsity boys’ soccer team won for the fifth time in six tries, using two second half goals to top Smithtown East, 2-1.

The Blue Devils have come out of nowhere and stunned Suffolk. Huntington is 5-1 entering the week and the team isn’t about to ease up on the proverbial gas pedal. The squad features a remarkable balance. Almost any player can score or assist on a goal on any given day.

In a pre-season poll of Suffolk Class AA squads, Huntington wasn’t even ranked in the top 15, but they have quickly made believers of the doubters. The Blue Devils are 3-0 in League III and seem to be gaining more confidence by the hour.

Playing on its home field, Smithtown East struck first, as Joseph DiPalmi put a shot past Huntington’s All-County goalie Nat Amato. The Bulls carried the 1-0 lead into halftime. Blue Devil head coach John Pagano gave one of his patented talks during the intermission and when play resumed his team cranked it up a few notches.

About 15 minutes into the second frame, Alex Rivera took a pass from Freddie Amato and blasted it by Smithtown East goalie Mike Gasparino to knot the score at 1-1. Ten minutes later, Oscar Cordova scored what proved to be the game winner when he found the back of the net off Eren Aydin’s rebound.

Huntington’s defense was stellar over the final 15 minutes, holding off Smithtown East’s frantic efforts to tie the game. Amato and Gasparino both made eight saves for their respective team.

“I feel we’ve been putting in a lot of work when it comes to conditioning in practice and that seems to have paid off a lot in games,” Rivera said. “We’re playing for each other on the field and everyone is getting their fair share when it comes to scoring and creating goals. Overall, we’re in great form and we’re just focusing on one game at a time. The player with the biggest impact on the field would have to be our keeper, Nat. He saves us every game. We couldn’t do anything without him.”

The Blue Devils play Half Hollow Hills East and Centereach this week. Hills East is particularly strong having won its first six games of the season.

Nine Huntington players have scored goals in the first six games. Amador has two goals and three assists and Eren Aydin has three goals and an assist. Freddie Amato (1g, 3a), Alex Rivera (2g, 1a), Luis Ortiz (1g, 1a), Jose Turcios (1g), John Tucker (1g), Oscar Cordova (1g), Julien Rentch (1a) and Aidan Forbes (1a) have also notched points for the Blue Devils. Goalie Nat Amato has stopped 39 shots.

Freddy Amador chases after the ball
Freddy Amador chases after the ball for Huntington. (Mike Connell photo.)
goalie Nat Amato
Huntington goalie Nat Amato has been sensational this fall. (Mike Connell photo.)