Glen Cove's talent rising

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Glen Cove’s boys’ soccer team comes off a 4-3-5 season to start this year’s campaign with half as many wins through four games than all of last year. Now sitting at 2-1-1 with a young group of talent, Glen Cove is looking to position itself for a playoff run come mid-October.

“The future is bright for sure,” coach Brian Smith said. “I’m seeing parallels between a young core I had four or five years ago and now…they have to learn to play fast now, so when they mature and grow, the game will slow down for them.”

Of those young players, Smith points to players such as freshman Matthew Salinas, sophomores Michael Battle Jr., Luciano Tuo, Brian Velasquez, Elvin Rosado, and David Martinez, just to name a few. “We can be playing teams with senior-laden lineups, but our younger guys are learning to deal with this now,” said Smith. “We have two freshmen playing about 30 to 50 minutes, and four sophomores starting.

“We’ve been unfortunate early on having to deal with a few injuries,” he added.

One of those players is Jason Hernandez, but the list doesn’t end there. “We are trying to keep all of our players healthy for the long haul and hopefully have at least some of them back come playoff time,” Smith said.

Glen Cove has seen some early success despite the injuries, though, as the Big Red opened up the season with a huge 4-0 victory at Plainedge. Rosado scored twice, while Salinas and Kelvin Amaya both netted one a piece. Shot production came at a very high clip, keeping Plainedge’s goalkeeper Sean Svarka on his toes all night long.

“We played a simple game, made a lot of quick passes, and implemented our game,” Smith said. “We took about 30 shots…you’ve got to shoot to bring the defense off of the back line, and that’s what we did.”

Glen Cove went on to drop its next game to Roosevelt by a slim 1-0 margin in the home opener. “They played a good game,” Smith said. “There are no excuses but we were missing six starters. They also made a game-saving save very late, but credit to them.”

The Big Red managed a 4-4 tie with Bethpage despite starting goalkeeper Kieran Calderon going down with an injury. “Bethpage is a great team. Our starting keeper was hurt, but our backup played exceptional in goal,” Smith said. Kebin Guzman, the aforementioned backup keeper, collected eight saves on the day.

Most recently, Glen Cove downed Division, 1-0, after Rosado’s fourth goal of the season held up. “They are a good defensive team, but we did a good job taking advantage of space,” Smith said.

Smith is doing his best to prepare his guys to make a run at this year’s playoffs. “We are striving to win the game in front of us,” he said. “It starts with me coming up with a good practice plan, and the kids executing. Hard work pays off.”