Bryan Lizama emerged as a top player. (Darin Reed photo)

H-ton Boys’ Soccer Wraps-up Rebuilding Season

Bryan Lizama emerged as a top player. (Darin Reed photo)

November 28 , 2022

The Huntington varsity boys’ soccer team wrapped up a rebuilding season with a trip to the Suffolk playoffs where the Blue Devils dropped a close decision to rival Commack, one of the top teams in the county.

Coached by John Pagano and Jason Suarez, Huntington was captained by seniors Kevin Velez, Ian Husselbeck and Kieran Husselbeck.

The team consisted of 27 players, including 16 who qualified for first year varsity letters. There were eight second year varsity players and three others that have been on the varsity for three years.

The Blue Devils finished with an overall record of 8-7-2. Seeded No. 14 in the Class AA Suffolk playoff bracket, Huntington drew No. 3 Commack, which after topping the Blue Devils, 2-1 went on to advance to the county Final Four.

Velez captured All-League honors with Ian Husselbeck being named All-Conference. Kieran Husselbeck was recognized as All-Conference and All-County. Goalie Nicholas Plachta garnered Academic All-County honors.

Sophomore forward Carlos Gutierrez scored a team-high seven goals. Junior midfield Bryan Lizama added six goals. Goalie Dylan Hayden tallied five shutouts before a late season injury sidelined him for the remaining games on the schedule.

“Carlos was a pleasant surprise in his first year with the team,” Pagano said. “He added quickness and is very dangerous on the field. Bryan is a very skilled player who should lead us next year.”

Despite losing eight starters from last year’s county finalist team, Huntington once again reached the playoffs for the twelfth time in the past 13 seasons. “We played in the toughest league on Long Island and competed in every game,” Pagano said.

A solid nucleus of 17 players is set to return next fall. Pagano’s goal is to win the Suffolk championship. The coach hopes a 20-goal scorer emerges. He plans to develop the team through periodic intramurals, summer league play and summer camp.