Lawrence makes early statement


It didn’t take long for Lawrence, a team with a regular-season record of 47-12-10 dating back to 2012, to become part of the conversation of leading contenders for the Nassau Class A boys’ soccer championship.

In their second game, the Golden Tornadoes fell behind defending Long Island champ Garden City in the opening minute and eventually trailed by two before rallying for a 3-2 victory on Sept. 8. Juniors Mauricio Puerto-Quintanilla and Danny Cifuentes-Reyes each had a goal and an assist, and sophomore Jesus Moran also scored for Lawrence, which began this week as New York State’s No. 5-ranked Class A club.

“Beating Garden City was a nice win and validates that we’re talented and belong in the mix of top teams, but it doesn’t mean anything more than that,” coach Pat Leary said. ‘We’ve had a lot of regular-season success in recent years and ultimately we want to win playoff soccer.

“It’s a long season and I just want the kids to stay passionate, have fun and enjoy the process,” he added.

The Golden Tornadoes, who finished 9-1-2 in conference games a year ago and split a pair of playoff games, feature a balanced roster and could have as many freshmen as seniors on the field at any given time, Leary noted. The roster is comprised of seven seniors, three juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen. “Talent-wise, these kids do things I can’t teach,” Leary explained. “We’re playing a fast-paced style where defense comes first. I feel if we can keep opponents off the scoreboard, eventually we’re going to break through.”

Puerto-Quintanilla led the county in goals last season with 17 and was the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. The All-County forward picked up where he left off and scored twice in each of the first two Conference A-5 games, shutout victories over Valley Stream North (5-0 on Sept. 12) and North Shore (3-0 last Friday.) “He’s a game-changer who has a great ability to get to full speed quickly,” Leary said. “He’s a Division I talent.”

Moran cracked the starting lineup towards the end of last year and will contribute at forward and midfield. Freshman Angelo Puerto, Mauricio’s younger brother, has looked like a starter since the opening day of tryouts, Leary said.

At center-midfield, Alan Martinez comes off a tremendous freshman campaign that saw him earn Honorable Mention All-County, while Cifuentes-Reyes was All-Conference. “We ask them to control the middle,” Leary said. Martinez is a key on set pieces and Cifuentes-Reyes brings a nonstop motor. Senior Chris Orellana and freshman Jonathan Morcia Viera log most of the minutes at outside midfield.

In the defensive zone, senior captains Jordy Reyes and Sal Chaudry set the tone at stopper and sweeper, respectively. Reyes was All-Conference in 2017, while Chaudry didn’t play due to injury. Senior Saul Cisneros, sophomores Osman Canales and Sender Samayoa, and freshman Cesar Revolorio-Lopez all contribute at fullback.

As they did last fall, Pedro Ramirez and Joseph Dvir share the goalkeeping duties. The seniors combined for the two aforementioned shutouts to kick off conference play. “It’s a nice luxury to have two quality goalies,” Leary said.