By Michael Lewis
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, everyone’s life on Long Island and in the metropolitan area was turned upside down and inside out. Many homes did not have power for days and even weeks.
With the New York state championships in every fall sport looming in November, sports teams in Nassau and Suffolk counties were forced to cram their tournaments into a very short time.
The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review called on me to help out with the coverage and I lost count of how many matches – soccer and field hockey – that I covered over a short period of time. Two of those matches were the Class B and C boys soccer championships at Diamond in the Pines
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it started a string of Mattituck-Center Moriches matches, many of them class confrontations, that I have had the privilege of covering through the years.
I have written about the two fierce rivals for both newspapers, BigAppleSoccer.com and FrontRowSoccer.com as I have been reminded how quickly the pendulum can swing between the two schools from year to year. So, players should enjoy the moment of victory but shouldn’t gloat too much.
Here are quick recaps of the dozen memorable derby matches between the two schools since then:
Mattituck 4, Center Moriches 2 (Nov. 10, 2012)
Forced to play with a man disadvantage for more than half the game and the momentum clearly swung Center Moriches way, Mattituck High learned a lot about itself in the second half of the Suffolk County Boys Class B final that Saturday. The Tuckers discovered that they can overcome adversity and not only survive, but thrive, by combining two timely goals and some vital 11th-hour goalkeeping to pull out a 4-2 win for their third consecutive county championship.
They played most of the match with 10 men after sophomore left back Walter Jacob was red carded after he was shown his second yellow card with 5:46 remaining in the first half. “Each person on the field, our starting 11, matters so much,” said senior forward Stephen Urwand, who broke a 2-2 deadlock with 16:56 left in the match. “When a person goes out, you just have to play for them. You got to make it up, you got to try harder. You just got to go stronger and stronger. We lost a good man, but we just played it out harder. It worked out in the end.”
Indeed it did. “We never give up. Mattituck never gives up,” said sophomore midfielder Kevin Williams, who added an amazing insurance goal minutes later. “No matter how many players we have, we’re going to come back.”
The Class B final seemed to have a little bit of just about everything, including spirited and physical play on both sides, seven yellow cards, two red cards, a comeback and two late goals that put an exclamation point on a memorable match at Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram.
“The heart and the will of the team just showed today,” Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said. “They took the punch of getting a red card. They took the punch of coming back at 2-2. And what did we to? We punched back twice in a row and took the lead. They have talked from Day One that it’s never been done before, a three-repeat, and nobody was going to take it from them. All the credit goes to those guys.”
Mattituck 1, Center Moriches 1 (Sept. 25, 2013)
On a team that possesses some strong personalities, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle of the strong playing personalities on Mattituck High School, especially if you are a goalkeeper. Due to the Tuckers’ possession game, the keeper might not see any action for long stretches of time. So, senior goalkeeper and co-captain Steven Ostrowski, who lets his teammates know that he is involved in the match even when he shouts some encouragement to his teammates.
That Wednesday, Ostrowski let his actions speak louder than any words he could have uttered during the Tuckers’ 1-0 triumph over host Center Moriches in a Suffolk County League VII game.
Mattituck chalked up a rare road win at Moriches behind a Mario Arreola first-half goal, some key saves by Ostrowski and a questionable decision by a Center Moriches player who thought an indirect kick was a direct kick, squandering a second-half opportunity for the hosts to equalize in the hard-fought contest. Moriches wound up playing a man down the final 27:46.
While it might not have been the most technical game between the two archrivals — the Tuckers have beaten the Red Devils in the last three Class B championship games — but there was no question both side sides left it all on the Moriches’ football field.
“I am going to sleep well,” Arreola said. “I scored the goal, the winning goal and it’s important.”
“I haven’t gotten a chance to catch my breath yet,” Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said. “That’s Mattituck and Center Moriches soccer. It didn’t matter that they had 10 guys. They played right to the end. They have gave us everything that we can handle. We didn’t have any good results here in the last couple of years.”
Moriches pressed for a second-half equalizer. Ostrowski saved a header by Anthony Parlato, but could not retain possession of the ball on the goal line. A scramble ensued as several players fell over one another. Mattituck center back Paul Hayes wound up with the ball between his legs. The referee called an indirect free kick for a dangerous play.
“I had possession of the ball and the kid headed me out, which should have been the initial foul,” Ostrowski said. “The ref, I guess missed that.”
Moriches senior defender Kevin O’Brien quickly took the free kick and fired it into the net, but it was disallowed by the game officials because it was an indirect free kick and needed to be touched by at least one other player before entering the net.
Mattituck 5, Center Moriches 0 (Oct. 16, 2013)
When the Mattituck and Center Moriches boys soccer teams tussle, they usually prove to be close, classic confrontations.
Wednesday’s encounter proved to be the exception, due to an exceptional performance by the Tuckers. Sparked by three first-half goals, including two scores within a 31-second span, the Tuckers recorded a stunning 5-0 home triumph over their archrivals.
Now, Center Moriches (10-2-1, 7-2-1) is not your everyday run of the mill high school soccer team. The Red Devils are among the best among Class B teams, if not all county teams, having won the New York State title as recently as 2009.
Kaan Ilgin was credited with two goals and set up two goals, including two by Mario Arreola. Kevin Williams also converted a penalty kick to lift the Tuckers (11-2, 10-1) to the League VII crown in arguably one of their best performances of the season with the Class B semifinals looming Oct. 30.
“It was one of our better, overall soccer performances,” Litchhult said. “We scored some great goals. The guys played from start to finish. Center Moriches plays so hard all the time, puts you under so much pressure and the guys handled it very well. In the end, we executed a lot of things we talked about in practice. When it translates to the game, it’s nice.”
Litchhult stressed that the five-goal margin wasn’t a true indication of the three-time defending Class B champions Tuckers’ supremacy over their rivals. “We can’t sit back and think we’re five goals better than Center Moriches on any given day because we’re not,” he said. “Are we a good solid team? Yes. In the end, overall, we have to get a little reality check, look at the game on a whole. Did we dominate possession, did we dominate chances? 100 percent. We have to temper down the score today.”
Center Moriches coach Chris O’Brien, whose team has met Mattituck the last three Class B finals, felt his team had some work to do. “We just got beat in all aspects of the game today,” he said. “It wasn’t our day. We have two more games in the next week. We’ve got to be better than this today. This wasn’t our typical team. This certainly wasn’t our A game. They played very well. All credit to them. They scored some beautiful goals.
“We certainly have to regroup after this. We didn’t play like a playoff team today. We’re lucky enough to be in it.”
Mattituck 5, Center Moriches 1 (Nov. 3, 2013)
As the Mattituck High boys soccer team bus rumbled along on the Long Island Expressway towards Coram that Saturday, junior forward Kaan Ilgin watched videos of his hero, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, for some inspiration prior to the Suffolk County Class B final against Center Moriches.
And what inspiration.
Ilgin produced a rather memorable highlight video of his own, striking truck for a hat-trick during an amazing nine-minute span in the second half to power the Tuckers to their fourth consecutive Class B crown in a 5-1 triumph over their archrivals at Diamond in the Pines.
“We played awesome,” Ilgin said, adding that “I did some [Ronaldo] tricks on the field. Actually, it helps.”
Mattituck (15-2) earned four consecutive county titles for only the second time, duplicating the feat of the 1997-2000 teams that won four Class C titles. The Tuckers will play Nassau County champion Carle Place for the Long Island championship in Coram at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“Four in a row for these guys, it’s just incredible,” Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said.
Kevin Williams and James Hayes also scored for the Tuckers against the Red Devils (12-5-1), who lost Daniel Franchi to a red card in the 64th minute.
Mattituck 1, Center Moriches 9 (Sept. 28, 2014)
As far as much-hyped derbies go, this one lived up to its hype and expectations.
Saturday’s confrontation between Center Moriches and Mattituck high school’s top-ranked teams in New York state had just about everything you want, from some intense play, end-to-end action, close encounters, game-saving stops, some controversy here and there.
Just about everything but goal, until Kevin Williams remedied that with a free kick 5:33 into the first extratime that turned a golden goal into a golden memory in the Tuckers’ homecoming at the Robert Muir Athletic Fields on a beautiful autumn afternoon.
“It was the best ending to my last homecoming that I could ever have,” Williams said.
And a difficult finish for the Red Devils (8-1, 5-1), who had problems finishing after entering the game as the third-ranked team in the state against the ninth-ranked Tuckers (5-2, 4-1).
“The intensity was good, but the overall performance by us was not good at all,” Moriches coach Chris O’Brien said. “I thought we are a lot better than what we showed today. I think we are a better team. I don’t like to lose.”
Especially to his team’s rivals in a vital Suffolk County League VII game.
Senior goalkeeper Ben Knowles, who made two important saves late in regulation, said the intensity was “ridiculous.”
“It definitely was the most difficult match we played this year,” he said. “It was a well fought game by each team. We both played strong.”
Will Hayes, who directed the team in the absence of head coach Matt Litchhult due to the birth of his third child and first son, said the team showed “grit, a lot of grit.”
Especially because standout senior midfielder Kaan Ilgin did not play as he has taken a leave of absence from the team for an undetermined time.
“Kaan is taking some time to work out some things for himself,” Hayes said.
Ilgin takes many of the Tuckers’ set pieces, with Williams chipping in as well. On Saturday, Williams had full responsibility on free kicks and corner kicks and he made the most of his final attempt after junior defender Matt Almond fouled James Hayes about 24 yards out some two minutes prior to the set piece.
“I was hoping that they weren’t going to jump,” Williams said of the defensive wall. “I was just going to dice it right around, put a little spin on it on the inside and go near post. Everyone thought I was going far post on the shot.”
Williams lofted it into the upper right corner, a shot that any goalkeeper, including Moriches keeper Deny Amaya would have needed a step ladder to stop.
“I have seen Kevin Williams maybe a dozen free kicks outside the box,” coach Hayes said. “He scored on four of them. Without Kaanhere today Kevin finally got a chance to take set pieces. And its fitting that he scores on the first one he takes from that angle. He just picks his angles correctly. He has longer feet, so he wraps around the ball really well. it was a good wall, too. Take nothing away from the wall and the defensive set up that they had. It’s a really good set piece. I’m really happy for him.”
Mattituck 3, Center Moriches 1 (Oct. 19, 2014)
The game had was fast, furious and intense.
But then again, what would you expect when Mattituck High School and Center Moriches H.S. meet for yet another confrontation of arguably the best soccer rivalry on Long Island dating back to 1937?
“The referee says at halftime that this is the best game of the year for him,” Moriches head coach Chris O’Brien said. “It says something to the rivalry, right?”
And the sun also rises.
And Mario was super — once again.
Striker Mario Arreola, who scored twice in a confrontation between the archrivals last year, struck two more times — exactly a minute apart — to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a 3-1 lead and eventually the final score in favor of the Tuckers Friday night.
The result left Mattituck atop Suffolk County League VII with a 10-1 record and the Red Devils a close second with a 10-2 mark. If things go according to script and expectations, it would not be surprising if these two sides will meet again in the Class B county final Nov. 1.
“They’re a good team.,” Arreola said. “I think we’re going to play them again.”
It has become a tradition for these two rivals to play three times in a season — twice in the regular season and usually for the Class B crown.
“It was a typical Mattituck-Center Moriches game, end to end, physical, intense,” Tuckers head coach Mat Litchhult said. “They played us real tough.”
“Today we played so hard,” said Tuckers midfielder-forward Kaan Ilgin, who set up two goals. “On the bus coming here, everyone was so serious. We wanted this game. This is our last regular season match. So we wanted to win. We wanted to shut them down.”
The Tuckers drew first blood on a short corner by Ilgin to James Hayes, who flicked it past goalkeeper Deny Amaya for his fourth goal at exactly 15 minutes into the encounter on the Center Moriches football field.
The Red Devils had their work cut out for them. They played without county-leading goal-scorer Kevin Albert (27 goals), who missed the game due to a concussion.
“We have to figure some things out without Kevin,” O’Brien said. “We’re not sure we’re going to get him back or not. When you take 27 goals out of our lineup and pretty much a target player, I think that’s something we’re going to have to figure out.”
They refused to wilt and plugged away for the equalizer with 3:33 remaining in the half. Tuckers goalkeeper Ben Knowles tipped away Daniel Franchi’s shot, but Ishan Wahedi converted the rebound for his first goal this season and a 1-1 deadlock.
The visitors dominated possession and chances in the second half and their persistence finally paid off during a remarkable one-minute span and one amazing goal, the first by Arreola at 61:14.
Even O’Brien had to admire the goal. “Absolute beauty,” he said.
Knowles started the sequence with a long goal kick that James Hayes headed onto Arreola at midfield. Then it was off to the races down the right wing as the senior striker beat two defenders and eventually the keeper as he scored for the seventh successive game and a 2-1 edge.
“Every time Ben gets a free kick I tell him to hit my head,” Hayes said. “That was a great goal kick. It hit my head, flicked it on. Mario ran in behind the defense.”
Exactly a minute after play resumed, Arreola was at it again, this time taking an Ilgin feed and bolting down the right side again. This time he managed to get past freshman defender Donald Wood before scoring his 10th goal of the season at 62:14.
Mattituck 2, Center Moriches 0 (Nov. 3, 2014)
He wasn’t able to play his usual Kaan game because he wasn’t playing his usual confidence game in the rain, wind and cold at Diamond in the Pines in Coram on Saturday afternoon.
So when Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult gave halftime instructions to Kaan Ilgin to shoot from 30 yards on the slippery artificial in the second half of Saturday’s Suffolk County B championship game, the senior standout listened.
“Kaan, he’s such an exceptional player,” Litchhult said. “When I told him that the wind’s at our back and have a go from 30 in, it’s skipping on the turf, I think his eyes lit up.”
Ilgin also turned those words into actions, drilling a 30-yard strike to break a scoreless tie against archrival Center Moriches (14-4) before adding a last-minute insurance in a 2-0 triumph. Mattituck became the first Suffolk school to win five consecutive boys soccer championships.
“These guys made history,” Litchhult said. “These guys, now that they’re seniors they won the county title every year they were in high school. That’s an absolutely remarkable accomplishment. I’m just proud of them.”
The Tuckers (15-2) faced Nassau County champion Wheatley, for the Long Island title at Adelphi University at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Ilgin, the 2013 Suffolk small schools player of the year who hasn’t enjoyed as a consistent season this fall, saved his best for Saturday on a day better suited for ducks and fish. The kickoff was moved up from 5 p.m. to noon to avoid worse conditions, but what both teams played in was bad enough.
Rain pelted both teams and their ardent supporters, Mattituck’s dressed in blue, Center Moriches’ in red.
Ilgin was among several Mattituck players who wore gloves to keep their hands warm, but he jettisoned them early in the second half. “They didn’t feel right,” he said. “So I was not going to wear them and I threw it out.”
With 37 seconds remaining, Moriches tried to equalize on a corner kick. The ball was cleared to Paul Hayes, who whacked the ball down field.
“My thought was kick it as far as you can,” Hayes said. “Everyone was up. I knew somebody was going to chase it down, so I kicked it as hard as I could.”
That somebody was Ilgin, who raced down field with the going 1 v 1 on Amaya and scoring with 24 seconds remaining.
Mattituck 3, Center Moriches 3 (Oct. 16, 2016)
After his team played archrival Center Moriches to a result that has been compared to one kissing his sister, Mattituck High School coach Will Hayes kissed his young daughter Evelyn on the sidelines Saturday evening.
“A bit more joy kissing my daughter,” he said.
But even Hayes knows that if his Tuckers don’t improve their ability to hold onto leads the next time they meet the Red Devils — in the Suffolk County Class B semifinals Wednesday, Oct. 26 — they could kiss their hopes of reaching the county final goodbye.
Mattituck surrendered a pair of second-half goals, squandering a two-goal lead and settling for a 3-3 draw that had all of the intensity and then some of a playoff game. But then again, what do you expect from a storied rivalry that goes back to 1937?
“You always know that you’re going to get each team’s best,” Center Moriches coach Chris O’Brien said. “That’s what I told the boys before the game. That’s why you put your shin guards on and tighten up your boots to come out and ready for games like these rivalry games. It lived up to its billing.”
After 80 minutes of end-to-end soccer, only one extratime period was played because the referees deemed that there was not enough light for another 10-minute extra period.
Both teams walked off the field with mixed emotions. The Red Devils (10-3-1, 7-2-1) hoped to tie Babylon for the League VII title, the Tuckers (9-6-1, 6-3-1) wanted a chance to host Center Moriches in the semis.
“We just didn’t get it done,” said center back Bryce Grathwohl, whose two first-half goals, his first of the season, staked Mattituck to a 3-1 halftime advantage. “A tie was not satisfying for us.”
It was a game of two halves.
The Tuckers dominated the opening 40 minutes, scoring on a couple of set pieces by defender Dylan Wilsberg that were converted into goals by Grathwohl only 84 seconds after the opening kickoff and with 8:41 left in the half.
After the Red Devils’ Eric Amaya scored with 4:39 to go, Jason Scalia killed their momentum, connecting from long range with 2:16 remaining.
Center Moriches 6, Mattituck 0 (Oct. 28, 2017)
Mattituck senior midfielder-striker Axel Rodriguez has been on both sides of 6-0 results in the boys soccer postseason during his high school career. This one definitely left a sour taste in his mouth.
As a freshman in 2014, Rodriguez scored the goal in a 6-0 triumph in the New York State Class B semifinals. A day later, the Tuckers secured their third state championship.
On Saturday, Rodriguez and the Tuckers suffered a 6-0 defeat to a juggernaut Center Moriches team in the Suffolk County Class B championship game at Islip High School.
“It was a different feeling, one was one of the greatest feelings,” Rodriguez said of the 2014 win. “We showed this team out of the playoffs and the next day we went there and won the states. Now, it’s different. We lost six-nil and we are out of the playoffs. There is no other practice, there is no other game tomorrow. Two different feelings.
“It’s hard to lose six-nil in the championship. It shouldn’t be that way. They deserved it. They wanted it more than we do.”
The Red Devils (17-0) have run rough-shod over all comers this season, including Class A and AA teams. They captured the League VII crown with ease with outscoring their foes, 80-9.
On Saturday, they moved the ball quickly, smoothly, smartly and with efficiency.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to a good team when you play one and they’re excellent,” coach Will Hayes said. “The shoe has been on the other foot before. It will be on the other foot again. But right now it’s their moment. They have a tremendous team, quality players. They’re going to go far. They’re going to go far as they keep scoring goals.”
With the incomparable Ben Hamilton (county-best 36 goals, plus 17 assists) leading the way with two goals, Moriches rolled to a 5-0 halftime advantage. Michael Luongo, Liam Pulseipher, Eric Amaya and John DeBatto also scored.
Center Moriches 2, Mattituck 0 (Sept. 17, 2018)
Playing at soccer at Center Moriches is tough enough.
Playing the defending state champions without your top goalkeeper who has three-plus years of varsity experience is a recipe for disaster.
Yet, despite having only three minutes in goal and manning the position for the first time in five years, junior midfielder Oswald Cuellar acquitted himself well and helped keep Mattituck in what turned into a loss in a non-league match on Monday night.
“I was nervous at first and I got used to it,” said Cuellar who played in goal for the first time since sixth grade. “Seeing the crowd, a big crowd, kind of scared me a little bit. I got used to it. I got confident. It’s a big team, state champions, as everyone knows.”
The Tuckers (3-3) learned that first hand. The last time these two teams met, Center Moriches recorded a 6-0 victory in the 2017 Suffolk County Class B championship game.
Monday night’s game was a complete reversal. Of course, the Red Devils (4-1) had lost something like half their starting lineup and 80 goals from last year’s team. But Center Moriches is Center Moriches and still can be a formidable side.
“We had walked into a couple of games against them last year when we were not up to the same level and they played us off the park,” Mattituck coach Will Hayes said. “Today we could come in here and it was pretty much snatch and grab with pretty much with the losses that we had.”
Hayes was referring to midfielder Bryan Soto, who was serving a suspension for two yellow cards vs. Babylon, and Jacobs.
Oswald, however, wasn’t perfect as he couldn’t keep two balls out of the net as the Red Devils grabbed a 2-0 halftime advantage. First, Jack Wicks set up Matt Alifano’s header 22 minutes and 25 seconds remaining in the first half. The hosts doubled their lead some five minutes later when Cuellar saved Tommy Luongo’s shot before Mike Bartholonew tapped in the rebound with 17:22 left.
Bruce Grathwol sliced the lead in half with 18:52 to go in the second half, heading home Jack Burkhardt’s corner kick.
“It’s a great win. Any time you win it’s a great win,” O’Brien said. “I don’t know if we put a bow on this one. We’ll certainly remember that. We’re going to see these guys later on in a game where winner goes home. We certainly didn’t show our best. We’re hoping to get better as time goes on.”
Center Moriches 4, Mattituck 1 (Oct. 25, 2018)
For just about the past decade in late October, it has become as traditional on Eastern Long Island as pumpkin picking, the leaves turning color and Halloween.
Center Moriches just reaches the Suffolk County Class B boys final again and again and again.
“It’s a good habit,” Center Moriches head coach Chris O’Brien said. “I like it.”
For the eighth time in nine years, the Red Devils booked a spot in the final. Their latest achievement came on a blustery Wednesday afternoon via a 4-1 triumph over long-time rival and third-seeded Mattituck.
“These kids worked their butts off and I’m just thrilled for the fact,” said O’Brien, who left immediately to watch the other semifinal — Babylon vs. Hampton Bays. “We’ve been getting better as the year goes on.”
The defending state champions will continue their quest to reach Middletown, N.Y., the perennial site of the boys state championship. They will meet fourth-seeded Hampton Bays, 2-1 upset winners over top-seeded Babylon at Diamond in the Pines in Coram at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“I like our chances,” said forward Tommy Luongo, who scored twice.
Given how the Red Devils (11-4-2) have played recently, it didn’t matter which team they faced for the right to play in next week’s Long Island championship.
“For a team that was really evolving as the season went on, it’s hard to say that after we had such a successful year last year — it’s a totally different team — because of the fact we lost a lot of our high-powered guys — some of the younger guys came along and played well,” O’Brien said.
“It’s the small stuff. It’s buying into how we want to play. Even though they’re a different cast of characters, we try to play a possession, knock the ball around, get everybody involved.”
The Red Devils were given their first goal on a silver platter with the game only 5:40 into the match. A communication error ensued as goalkeeper James Jacobs threw his distribution to Bryan Soto, but the left back wasn’t looking. Ryan McDermott picked off the pass, dribbled the ball to the right end line and drove a ball that Jacobs managed to get a piece of. Luongo, however, tucked home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
Mattituck equalized at 28:42, when Alp Kilinic, off a Dane Reda assist, beat goalkeeper Curtis Copenhaver.
The Red Devils snapped a 1-1 draw by scoring three goals over a span of 5:27 late in the second half to turn the game on its end.
A thrown-in by Matt Alifano was the difference as it started the winning goal sequence. The ball bounced around the Mattituck (10-6) penalty area. Jack Mahoney touched the ball to Mike Bartholomew, who slotted it past Jacobs at 69:55 of the 80-minute affair. Luongo converted a feed from Jack Wicks at 73:40 and Wicks put the exclamation point on the match by slipping in a rebound of Bartholonew’s shot with 4:38 remaining.
The game was not played in Center Moriches’ football stadium because the grass field was a mess and O’Brien felt it was conducive to good soccer, especially with so much at stake in the playoffs. So, it was moved to a nearby artificial turf field on school grounds. In contrast to the football stadium’s east-west configuration, the new venue was north-south as the teams were forced to battle winds.
“We have ultimate respect for their program for what they do,” O’Brien said. “Will took over for Mat [Litchhult] and they didn’t skip a beat. They played hard. They actually outworked us in the first half. To come out and to outwork out them in the second half was a real feather in our cap because we could have said, ‘All right, we don’t have the wind.’ We relished that. We accepted that challenge and we played like we like to play.”
Center Moriches 1, Mattituck 0 (Sept. 8, 2019)
Quite appropriately, the derby match came down to penalty kicks. But not necessarily the type you might expect at the end of a match.
Center Moriches’ 1-0 victory over Mattituck was decided by two penalties, one that was converted by the visitors, a Michael Luongo PK, and another that was saved by the Red Devils goalkeeper Colin Raupp in the Suffolk County League VII match at the Robert Muir Athletic Fields.
At the time, Moriches was nursing a one-goal advantage on a penalty kick of its own that Luongo converted in the ninth minute after a handball call on the Tuckers in their penalty area. Luongo, who had a penalty kick saved in the Red Devils’ 3-1 win over Southold Thursday, made sure he didn’t repeat history, slotting one home to the lower left as goalkeeper Emmett Ryan was ready to dive in the other direction.
It was only the second game of the young season for both schools — they won their openers — in a hotly contested rivalry that spans 83 years, dating back to 1936.
“The technical side of the game we need to work on, but we’re a work in progress,” said Chris O’Brien, the head coach of the three-time defending county champions. “We’re only in a couple of weeks. I’m proud of the effort that our kids gave and I’m proud of th4e effort these guys [Mattituck] put out. Will [Hayes, coach] does such a nice job with his kids and we know we’re going to get their best effort.
“You know what? Two penalties. We put ours away and they didn’t. We had a great save on theirs. I should say they didn’t put theirs away. Our kid came up very, very big.”
That kid was Raupp, a junior keeper.
“If I’m going to put a man of the match, I would say it was Colin Raupp today for saving our lunch,” O’Brien said.
At the time, Moriches was nursing a one-goal advantage on a penalty kick of its own that Luongo converted in the ninth minute after a handball call on the Tuckers in their penalty area.
Luongo, who had a penalty kick saved in the Red Devils’ 3-1 win over Southold Thursday, made sure he didn’t repeat history, slotting one home to the lower left as goalkeeper Emmett Ryan was ready to dive in the other direction.
“It’s a simple process, but there is a lot of thought that goes into it,” said Luongo, who tallied his second goal in as many games. “The first is confidence. You have to be confident that you can score. The second part, the run up, you have to psych out the goalie a little bit and I am amore of a placement over a power kind of guy.”