It’s not how you start, but how you finish. That’s the mantra at Long Beach where the boys’ soccer team got off to a difficult start in 2013. The Marines couldn’t scratch out a win in their first four games, but have turned things around.
With last Monday night’s impressive 2-0 home win over Great Neck South, Long Beach is now unbeaten in its past four matches, and has an overall record of 2-3-2 (2-2-2 in Conference AA-III.) Senior Manny Flory’s goal midway through the opening half was all the Marines would need. Junior Brennan Yanowitch added an insurance tally. Mike Alcivar assisted on Yanowitch’s goal.
Head coach Leo Palacio believes Long Beach has righted the ship. “It’s taken time to figure out our roles and to get comfortable with one another,” Palacio said, “We’re picking up steam at the right time. I tell the guys all the time that nobody wins anything in the first half of the season. What matters is how you’re playing in the second half. This win over Great Neck South gets us to the second half of the season on a positive note.”
Long Beach, which secured a playoff slot for the first time in a decade in 2012, dropped decisions to Freeport, Calhoun, and MacArthur before battling Herricks to a 0-0 tie.
The Marines finally got in the win column with a 4-2 road win over Mepham. Flory, who was an All-County recipient as a junior, found the back of the net twice and assisted on two goals for Long Beach, and Jerick Galeas-Mejias, and Jonathan Muratori each added a goal.
Flory scored twice in a 2-2 tie with Elmont. Junior keeper Thomas Marcote, an All-Conference honoree as a sophomore, had six saves to preserve the tie. Palacio is impressed by Flory. “Our scoring hasn’t been great, but Manny has picked us up,” Palacio said. “He’s the nucleus of the team on the offensive side. If he’s playing well, we’re usually playing well.”
Defense has been a real key for the Marines of late. All-Conference sweeper Billy Horgan is the heart and soul of the defensive unit. The hard-nosed junior is joined by junior Corey Ochs, senior Richie Ruiz, and senior Anthony Cabasino.
Alcivar and junior Anthony Bianchini were cited by Palacio for their ability to win 50/50 balls, and for their gritty approach. Big things are expected in the second half from fleet-footed senior Victor Amador.
Palacio believes the playoffs are within reach. “We’re really starting to click,” Palacio said. “I think we all learned our lesson after losing to Calhoun 4-0 early on. We knew that we had to do something each day to get better. Opponents are starting to see that Long Beach is here. If we stay healthy, we’ll be tough in the second half.”
The Marines welcome in undefeated MacArthur this Friday night at 7 p.m. at Long Beach Middle School. The Generals won 1-0 when the teams first met.