10/14/14 7:06pm
10/14/2014 7:06 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Dan Mahoney fires a shot in the final seconds of Tuesday's game that hit off the crossbar, just missing on an equalizer. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Dan Mahoney fires a shot in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game that hit off the crossbar, just missing on an equalizer. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

PANTHERS 3, WILDCATS 2

Andrew Moschetti gathered his players on the sideline to deliver one final message before the players departed following Tuesday afternoon’s game against Miller Place.

Moschetti, the coach of Shoreham-Wading River, offered the age-old rally cry: “It’s not over!” he said to the players. (more…)

10/06/14 8:51pm
10/06/2014 8:51 PM
Riverhead junior Phil Barabanov scores the game-winning goal in Monday's win over West Islip. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead junior Phil Barabanov scores the game-winning goal in Monday’s win over West Islip. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

BLUE WAVES 3, LIONS 2

For what was the biggest game of the season thus far, things couldn’t have started much worse for the Riverhead Blue Waves Monday afternoon. On the road at West Islip, the Blue Waves gave up a pair of goals less than 10 minutes into the game.  (more…)

09/30/14 7:48pm
09/30/2014 7:48 PM
Bishop McGann-Mercy's Bereket Watts, left, and Mattituck's Paul Hayes cross paths during Tuesday's game, which saw 11 goals scored. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Bereket Watts, left, and Mattituck’s Paul Hayes cross paths during Tuesday’s game, which saw 11 goals scored. (Credit: Garret Meade)

TUCKERS 7, MONARCHS 4

This high school boys soccer game truly was a tale of two halves. While the first half was about Mattituck excellence, the second half featured Bishop McGann-Mercy resilience.

And, as if that wasn’t enough to digest, how about this? There were 11 goals to kick around.

A wild game that started with Mattituck shooting out to a 6-0 halftime lead, ended up as a 7-4 final thanks to some second-half fight put up by McGann-Mercy on Tuesday. (more…)

09/22/14 8:50pm
09/22/2014 8:50 PM
Bishop McGann-Mercy's Bereket Watts turns the ball upfield against Hampton Bays' Loaiza Cristian. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Bereket Watts turns the ball upfield against Hampton Bays’ Loaiza Cristian. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

BAYMEN 7, MONARCHS 0

Playing with only nine players because of injuries and a suspension, the Bishop McGann-Mercy boys soccer team dropped a 7-0 decision to Hampton Bays in a Suffolk County League VII match at Stotzky Memorial Park in Riverhead on Monday. (more…)

09/16/14 9:24pm
09/16/2014 9:24 PM
Riverhead's Jonathan Perez rises to head a corner kick while being challenged by Newfield's Connor Timmonds (10). (Credit: Garret Meade)

Riverhead’s Brian Elejalde rises to head a corner kick while being challenged by Newfield’s Connor Timmonds (10). (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

WOLVERINES 3, BLUE WAVES 1

This definitely was a tough one for the Riverhead High School boys soccer team.

The Blue Waves certainly had more scoring chances, but Newfield made the most of its chances and recorded a 3-1 Suffolk County League III victory in Selden on Tuesday afternoon. (more…)

09/02/14 6:00pm
09/02/2014 6:00 PM
Players on the Shoreham-Wading River soccer team run sprints during tryouts last week. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Players on the Shoreham-Wading River soccer team run sprints during tryouts last week. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Andrew Moschetti found himself in unfamiliar territory last fall. For the first time as a varsity coach at Shoreham-Wading River, beginning with the girls soccer team and now with the boys, his team fell short of the playoffs.

It was a humbling experience for Moschetti, who first started coaching with the girls in 2006.  (more…)

10/21/13 10:25pm
10/21/2013 10:25 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | After scoring Riverhead's fourth goal against Centereach, Jayson Set, left, is congratulated by Karol Birycki.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | After scoring Riverhead’s fourth goal against Centereach, Jayson Set, left, is congratulated by Karol Birycki.

BLUE WAVES 4, COUGARS 0

As the Riverhead boys soccer team was putting the finishing touches to an impressive 4-0 victory over visiting Centereach on Monday, the sun set majestically in the west.

Blue Waves coach Lamine Traore fears the same could be said about his improved team as the regular season nears an end.

During the past several weeks, Riverhead has been among the hottest teams, going 5-1-1 in its last seven games. Unfortunately, that is not enough to boost the Blue Waves into the Suffolk County Class AA Tournament because teams need to finish .500 or higher in their league to qualify for the postseason.

The Blue Waves improved to 5-7-1 in League III and overall with the regular-season finale looming at West Islip on Wednesday.

“We deserve to make the playoffs,” said junior midfielder/forward Anthony Antunes, whose 10th-minute goal sparked the Blue Waves. “I was just told if we win on Wednesday, there might be a chance to go to the playoffs.”

Maybe, maybe not.

If the Blue Waves defeat West Islip and finish at 6-7-1, they could petition county soccer officials to enter the tournament based on their record and recent performances.

Traore admitted that he hadn’t thought of that possibility, but certainly wouldn’t dismiss it.

“If it’s possible, why not?” he said. “We have a shot. These are the teams. We can compete against them. If they need another team, I think we should be out there.”

Traore had no doubts about the great strides his team has made.

“Our program is different from other programs,” he said. “They are able to keep their players together almost the year round. We get the chance to get these kids about two months. To build a team, it takes more than two months. Since we have come here, the end of the season has been better for us. At the beginning, the chemistry is not there, the fitness is not there. As we go, the chemistry starts coming, the fitness gets along and we start battling against these teams.”

The Blue Waves put everything together Monday on both ends of the field against Centereach (2-13, 2-11). Kevin Elejalde, Jayson Set and Victor Guazhambo also scored and a solid defense helped goalkeeper Ryan DiResta (7 saves) recorded a clean sheet.

Traore said it was one of the best performances of the season, that a 1-1 tie with Smithtown West was No. 1. Smithtown West had several players on Smithtown Arsenal, which captured the under-16 boys national youth title this summer.

Afterwards Traore congratulated his players on another home victory and explained how they can translate that success to the road.

“The passion that we have here on our field, let’s see if we can have it on Wednesday when we are away,” he told his team. “You can make the away field your home field playing. Bring the same intensity, you will see how easy the game can be for you. Good job.”

The same could be said about how Riverhead scored its first goal. The Blue Waves cleared a corner kick. The ball came to Antunes and he bolted down the left side, from box to box before unleashing a 20-yard shot past goalkeeper Rob Retnauer to the lower right corner.

“All I saw was the goal,” Antunes said. “I had a couple of players in front of me. As soon as I passed the first one, I knew. All I knew I had an eye for goal. I was going straight for goal, no matter who was in my way.”

The goal lifted the Blues Waves’ spirits.

“It motivated us,” Elejalde said. “That’s why we won, 4-0. We played our game.”

It certainly motivated Elejalde, who headed home an 18-yard shot for a 2-0 lead with 21:34 remaining in the half.

With 12:57 left in the half, Guazhambo converted a rebound to raise the margin to 3-0 before Set closed out the scoring with 30:24 remaining in the game.

“We communicated well,” Elejalde said. “We made a lot of passes. We played beautiful. We should have played like this throughout the whole season. This was our best game, definitely.”

The Blue Waves hope to have a few more opportunities to duplicate that in the coming weeks.

10/08/13 8:05pm
10/08/2013 8:05 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead junior Ever Bonila (left) goes up for the header Tuesday against North Babylon’s Travis Quigley.

BLUE WAVES 2, BULLDOGS 1

Eight days ago, the Riverhead boys soccer team traveled to Centereach with their season quickly slipping away. Nearly three weeks into the regular season, the Blue Waves were 0-5, and desperate for a spark.

In that game Sept. 30, the offense that had been lacking suddenly came to life in the form of a 4-0 victory. Three brothers — Brian and Kevin Elejalde and Sergio Ricon-Giraldo — all scored in the win. Two days later, the Blue Waves won 3-1 at West Islip.

While the wins against Centereach and West Islip were nice, those teams are a combined 1-18 on the year.

What awaited the Blue Waves next was the true test of just how far they’ve come — matches against Smithtown West and North Babylon, the top two teams in League III.

Riverhead answered the bell with two superb games. The Blue Waves battled Smithtown West to a 1-1 draw, snapping the Bulls’ nine-game win streak.

And on Tuesday afternoon in Riverhead, the Blue Waves picked up one of the biggest wins in recent years by toppling North Babylon, 2-1, in a tense match that came down to the very end.

“We always had [the confidence],” said Riverhead goalkeeper Ryan DiResta, who was outstanding in goal with 12 saves Tuesday. “We just didn’t realize it until a couple games ago.”

The Blue Waves scored two early goals against the Bulldogs and held off a late surge in the second half to run their unbeaten streak to four.

At 3-5-1 in League III, suddenly the playoffs aren’t out of the question for the surging Blue Waves.

“This win is very good for us,” said Riverhead coach Lamine Traore. “It boosts their confidence.”

North Babylon came into the game in second place with just two losses. The Bulldogs head home with their record dropped to 7-3-1 overall and 6-3 in league.

When the season began, Traore knew it would take time for the Blue Waves to get rolling. Without the year-round play that many programs enjoy, the Blue Waves were mostly starting from scratch in terms of players learning the system and developing chemistry on the field.

But now the Blue Waves are starting to see what they’re capable of. In the first half, excellent passing and teamwork, with players looking for each other and playing smart soccer, led to a pair of goals and few scoring chances for the Bulldogs.

It took nine minutes for the Blue Waves to strike when junior Denis Escalante converted in front. He had a chance to take  a left-footed shot, but hesitated and brought it back to his right foot, kicking the ball inside the left post on a low shot.

In the 17th minute, sophomore Jayson Set lofted a deep shot along the left sideline that sailed inside the far post.

“We’re playing our style and they’re starting to know each other,” Traore said.

The Bulldogs upped the pressure in the second half and the Blue Waves got away somewhat from what worked well in the first half. With a two-goal lead, there’s always a natural tendency for players to stay back on their heels rather than keep attacking.

The Bulldogs broke through in the 60th minute when Gabriel Fernandes scored inside the 18 after a deep throw-in. North Babylon’s Zach Parker threw it in from the left sideline and the ball bounced amid a crowd of players inside the 18, scooting to Fernandes for an easy tap in.

“It just hit around people and somehow he got it right by the post,” DiResta said.

Parker presented a challenge for Riverhead with his throw-ins, which had the effect of a corner kick.

“It’s almost a bigger threat because they have more time to react because [the ball] floats in the air,” DiResta said. “It’s harder for me because if I come out I might not be able to get to it in time.”

The Bulldogs had several good chances from throw-ins. On a corner kick late in the game, DiResta made a leaping, two-handed save on a header to preserve the one-goal lead.

North Babylon appeared to score shortly afterward on a throw-in, but the play was ruled offsides.

Coming into the season half with a two-goal lead, Traore said he told his team to approach the half one quarter at a time.

“The first 15 let’s manage it and then start developing our own games,” he said. “But we got caught not playing our game.”

The Blue Waves still had a few chances to extend their lead. Set had the ball in transition one play and sent a feed across to sophomore Phillip Barabanov. He attacked the goalkeeper one-on-one, but hesitated a split second too long and couldn’t get off a shot.

For as well as the Blue Waves have played of late, DiResta said Tuesday’s win was just part of the bigger goal.

“It’s one of the better ones, but it’s just another on our way to playoffs,” he said.

joew@timesreview.com