Boys Off on Right Foot

The players appeared as if they meant business, but their fitness level could be improved, according to their coach. Jack Graves

    East Hampton High’s boys soccer team got its season off on the right foot, besting Mattituck, the defending Long Island Class B champion, 4-0 in a nonleaguer played at the North Fork school’s field Saturday.
    The game was East Hampton’s first in the Bridgehampton National Bank East End Cup tournament, a tourney contested by 10 teams that Mattituck won last year (as it had the previous two years as well).
    East Hampton, which was to have played two other nonleague tournament games at home this week — with Hampton Bays Tuesday and with Center Moriches this afternoon — ostensibly won the East End Cup last year, but the realization that it was carrying an ineligible player on the roster resulted in its forfeiting the team’s three wins, including a 4-3 overtime one over Mattituck.
    On Saturday, however, it was pretty much all East Hampton, though after taking a 1-0 lead on Milton Farez’s header in the 11th minute, the Bonackers slacked off for a while, a period of desultory play that Nick West rendered more palatable with a diving header in the 18th minute — the prettiest goal of the day.
    (Later, when asked about the slack period, Rich King, Bonac’s coach, said the level of his players’ fitness was not yet what it should be.)
    Esteban Aguilar, East Hampton’s goalkeeper, was called on to make his first genuine save in the 30th minute, and three minutes later Mario Olaya, who orchestrates Bonac’s offense, made it 3-0 with an assist from Juan Carlos Barrientos.
    In the minutes leading up to halftime, Esteban Valverde, who, like West, is a talented freshman, blew a point-blank shot, and a blast by Olaya from the left side bounced off the upper-right post.
    Every now and then, as it did early in the second half, Mattituck would launch a counteroffensive following an unconverted East Hampton corner kick, but invariably Angel Garces, the stopper, and Denis Espana, a fellow defender, were up to the task.
    Farez scored Bonac’s fourth goal in the 54th minute, easily pushing in the ball that Alex Serna had passed him following the rebound of a shot that Donte Donega, a sophomore forward, had taken from about 12 yards out.
    And that was it scoring-wise for East Hampton, though it took a great diving, one-handed save by Mattituck’s keeper, Austin Scoggin, to prevent  Esteban Vargas from making it 5-0 near the game’s end.
    King told his charges in the huddle afterward that while it was “a good start,” there was “a lot of work to do . . . there were some good things, but there are some things we have to work on.”
    Losing Brandon West to graduation (he’s going to Division III-power Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.) had obviously hurt, but Aguilar, who had been the junior varsity’s goalie for two years before he understudied West last season, was, said King, “more than capable.”
    “I would hope we’ll get to the playoffs, but that remains to be seen,” the coach said in parting.