What a difference a year has made for Oceanside’s boys’ soccer program.
After failing to win a game a year ago, the Sailors are undefeated through the first go-round in Nassau Conference AA-I and earned back-to-back wins against one of the state’s top-ranked teams and the defending county champions over a span of three days.
“The hardest part emotionally about last year was we were close in just about every game,” coach Patrick Turk said. “The results we’re getting is a testament to the heart, effort and dedication of the kids. Most of the starters returned and everyone is super pumped. We’re playing smart soccer.”
Opening with a well-played 1-1 draw at perennial power Syosset provided the Sailors with an early jolt of confidence, Turk said. They were without last year’s starting goalkeeper, senior Andrew Keller, due to injury, but junior Zach Macer made seven saves and senior Randy Lorenzo scored the team’s first goal of 2018. “It was a huge boost right off the bat,” Turk noted. “We went on the road against a team that beat us twice last season and also went to the finals. It showed our kids they can compete with the big boys.”
Ties with Hempstead and Massapequa followed, then came a long-coveted victory for the second-year varsity coach — 2-1 at highly touted Freeport on Sept. 20. Junior striker Austin Ortiz opened the scoring in the first half and assisted on Lorenzo’s insurance goal early in the second half. Macer made nine saves.
“It was special,” Turk said. “There’s nothing better than a well-earned and well-deserved win. No ifs, ands or buts about it, Freeport is very talented. They didn’t stop coming at us, but we held on.”
Two days later, the Sailors revisited the win column with a 2-1 decision at home against Uniondale, the defending Class AA champs. All three goals in the game came within the first 10 minutes. Oceanside fell behind early but responded with goals from senior Max Wasserman and Ortiz four minutes apart. Keller returned to action and combined with Macer for seven stops. “It was a very fast-paced game,” Turk said.
A rain-drenched scoreless affair at Farmingdale on Sept. 25 was nothing near up-tempo. It was called after 73 minutes of play due to torrential rain. “I’ve never experienced a game in that kind of weather,” Turk said. “The field became unplayable.”
Oceanside’s defense, led by senior Peter Folias and sophomore Matthew Meagher, passed its biggest test of the season so far, the coach explained, holding the Dalers’ elite forward Jhonatan Valbuena in check. Senior Teddy Tsakos and junior Christopher Seychell, the “field generals,” as Turk calls them, helped control the middle, while Keller made nine saves.
“Halfway through, we know the standings look pretty good for us right now but we want to try to separate ourselves,” Turk said.
The Sailors entered the second half of the conference schedule with a 2-0-4 mark. They’ll play four of the last six at home.