On a beautiful windy fall day, the East Hampton High School boys soccer team took Shoreham-Wading River to school here by a score of 4-0.
Saturday’s was as good a game as the team has played this season — smooth sailing for the entire 80 minutes, leaving only superlatives in its wake.
“We dominated today, playing our style,” said a very proud Rich King, East Hampton’s coach, afterward. “J.C. [Jean Carlos Barrientos] played a great game today.” The center midfielder had the ice-breaking goal in the first half and an assist in the second.
And so, for that matter, did everyone else. The Bonackers, who, as a result, clinched a playoff berth with four regular season games to play, were all over the ball, attacking relentlessly and marking their opponents closely whenever they had — however briefly — possession.
Shoreham, which had played East Hampton to a scoreless tie the first time around, had a strong wind at its back in the first half, enabling goal kicks to sail half the length of the field and throw-ins to float 25 or so yards, but, thanks to East Hampton’s spirited defense, the Wildcats could not take advantage.
Despite attacking repeatedly, the Bonackers couldn’t utterly penetrate the Wildcats’ defense until, with a minute left to play in the second half, Mario Olaya, presented with a free kick from the 15 yard mark, dished off to Jean Carlos Barrientos, who scissor-kicked a thrilling goal into Shoreham’s nets, the visitors’ goalie looking back helplessly as the ball zipped over the line into the nets.
“Now the goals will start to pour in,” a spectator said as the teams switched sides following the halftime break.
And indeed they did, as Bonac’s forwards found each other time and again with crisp give-and-go passing, working the ball rapidly down the field in groupings that frequently included Barrientos, Esteban Valverde, Milton Farez, and Olaya.
A perfect Valverde-to-Olaya-to-Farez exchange in the 46th minute resulted in East Hampton’s second goal of the afternoon, by Farez, who angled the ball in right to left.
In the 59th minute, it was Olaya’s turn, following a long goal kick by Bonac’s keeper, Esteban Aguilar, countering a Shoreham attack. The play began with a breakaway by Barrientos, whose cross found Olaya dashing in for the kill at the far post.
That made it 3-0, though East Hampton was not content to let it remain that way. The team continued to put the pressure on. With 7 minutes remaining, and with King having begun to substitute liberally in the final 18, Olaya stutter-stepped and shot just wide of the cage, and 30 seconds later, Valverde also shot wide, capping a play in which four players touched the ball.
But in the 76th minute, a throw-in in Shoreham’s end wound up on the feet of Farez, who, after juking a defender, crossed the ball into the far left corner of the nets to cap the rout.
As a result of the heady win, East Hampton’s record improved to 9-1-1. “We still have four games left,” said King, “and we need to win all of them if we want the number-one seed in the county tournament. . . . We’re happy with our performance, but we’re not satisfied yet.”
The tournament is to begin Nov. 3.
Earlier Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m., King and his assistants, Don McGovern and Steve Tseperkas, who is the 9-2 junior varsity’s coach, held a clinic for the area’s middle schoolers, attracting about 15 of them from Springs and the East Hampton Middle School.
“It went well,” said King, “though I’d like to get 40 when we do this next year. Maybe we should have gotten the word out sooner.”
A number of the clinic-takers stayed on to see the varsity play.