Coming off their best season in 57 years, the Huntington varsity boys’ soccer team is going into battle with an almost entirely new cast. But after winning two-of-three games to open the 2022 campaign, the Blue Devils are confident they have enough horsepower to compete in perhaps the toughest league in New York State.
Huntington is a work in progress. Just ask head coach John Pagano. He’s been trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle to fit perfectly. The process has involved some experimentation.
The Blue Devils host William Floyd today (Tuesday, September 6) at 4:30 p.m. Huntington has outscored its opponents in the past two games, 5-0 and Pagano wants to keep that going.
The Blue Devils staked out a 2-0 lead against highly regarded Patchogue-Medford on goals by junior Bryan Lizama and senior Kevin Velez in the season opener last week only to surrender three consecutive goals, including the game winner in overtime as Huntington fell, 3-2. Sophomore Joe Ramirez assisted on both goals. Senior goalie Dylan Hayden made six saves.
The first victory came in a night game at Rocky Point with Huntington sophomores Carlos Guitierez and Alex Merlos scoring in the 2-0 win. Sophomore Jerson Contreras had an assist. Hayden made five save in the net.
The Blue Devils topped Riverhead at home last Friday, 3-0. Guitierez and Velez scored along with sophomore Justin Villatoro. Velez added a pair of assists. Senior Kieran Husselbeck also had an assist. Hayden tallied four saves.
Huntington is generally playing well, especially considering all the new faces on the field. There are many wrinkles to iron out, but Pagano is well on his way to doing just that. The Blue Devils play in a league that is unforgiving so mistakes will need to be kept to a minimum if the team is to achieve any degree of success this fall.
The Husselbeck twin brothers and Velez are this year’s captains and their leadership will be vital in getting the team to come together on and off the field.
The Blue Devils have their work cut out for them, but one gets the sense the team once again has some exquisitely talented players capable of carrying Huntington far.