10/10/11 12:40pm
10/10/2011 12:40 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Andrew Ruggerio, left, celebrated with Jorge Solorzano after Ruggerio connected on a shot from about 35 yards out, giving Riverhead a 2-1 lead.

Gabriel Guazhambo didn’t see his shot cross the goal line, but his ears told him it did.

While lying down on the ground, Guazhambo heard the reaction to his first goal of the season — and the biggest goal of his life.

With the score tied at 2-2 and the contest looking destined for overtime, Carlos Guzman drove a ball across the Newfield goalmouth that Guazhambo got a foot to. A Newfield defender tried in vain to keep the ball from crossing the goal line with 55 seconds remaining in the Suffolk County League III boys soccer game. Then Guazhambo heard what must have sounded like music to his ears.

“I just heard the applause and I heard everybody” screaming, said the Riverhead Blue Waves junior forward.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead's airborne goalkeeper, Selvin Morales, knocked aside this shot by Newfield's Sam Durkot.

The goal stood as the game-winner for Riverhead’s first league victory, a wild 3-2 triumph over the Wolverines on Monday in Riverhead.

“It was a big step forward,” said Riverhead’s rookie coach, Lamine Traore, who received his first red card to go with his first league win.

Patience and tempers were running short, but there was no shortage of action, cards and goals. A total of 10 cards were issued, including red cards to Riverhead defender Abner Ortiz and Traore with about 22 minutes left in the game. Ortiz had drawn a yellow card for a foul and then received a red card for dissent seconds later. Traore expressed his displeasure over those calls, and then received a double yellow himself.

“I just let my emotions take over,” Traore said. “I should have known better, but I don’t think what I did was wrong. All I did was ask [the referee], ‘What did you do?’ ”

Riverhead’s assistant coach, Andrew Aleksandrowicz, took over the team while Traore watched the remainder of the match from a car in a nearby parking lot.

Both teams had taken one-goal leads and then tied the score before Guazhambo’s dramatic strike.

The game’s first two shots resulted in goals. In the opening minutes, a long cross-field ball from Sam Durkot found Sean Hageman on the left flank, setting him free for a shot that gave Newfield a 1-0 lead.

Riverhead (3-5, 1-5) didn’t wait long to reply. Jordan Fulcoly, after receiving a pass from Devrim Kucuk, used his right foot to find the mark.

Before the half ended, Fulcoly set up Riverhead’s go-ahead goal by Andrew Ruggerio, a laser he drilled from some 35 yards away, beating goalkeeper Darrin Kaiser to the low right corner.

Eli Whyte provided Newfield (4-6, 2-4) with a second-half equalizer. A blast by Hageman was blocked by goalkeeper Selvin Morales, but Whyte was in place to deposit the rebound into the net.

This game was also about the goals that weren’t. Riverhead held a 22-9 advantage in shots, but both sides had squandered opportunities.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead's Gabriel Guazhambo and Newfield's Eli Whyte tried to get a foot on the ball.

Morales deserves credit for limiting the damage done by Newfield’s dangerous attack. He made seven saves, handled two crosses and picked up seven balls in his penalty area.

“I had to give it everything,” he said.

Morales was also responsible for the best save of the day, a brilliant diving parry of a drive struck by Durkot. The freshman also made a nice reflex save, sticking out his left leg to deny Hageman.

“He’s just a life-saver,” said Traore.

Later, Hageman was alone, charging toward the goal, when he attempted to chip the ball over Morales, only to see the goalie pluck the ball out of the air. Morales also made a great stop on a left-footed effort by Whyte.

“At 2-2, we had five golden chances to finish the game off and we didn’t,” Newfield Coach Jamie Santiago said. “When you let a hungry team hang around, that’s what happens, and it was basically our fault for letting them hang around. We had a chance to kill the game off and we didn’t.”

Then again, Riverhead had close calls of its own. In a scramble off a free kick, Guzman sent the ball off the left goalpost. An attempt by Demar Mason was cleared off the goal line. A dangerous Kucuk header off a Fulcoly corner kick came close but missed the mark.

Morales said his team’s heart won the day. “We gave it all we had,” he said, “and we just kept playing and playing and playing.”

What did the game say about the Blue Waves?

“Riverhead’s team has the talent,” Traore said. “We just need to believe it. … You saw it. We can do it.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/03/11 10:00am
10/03/2011 10:00 AM

BOB LIEPA FILE PHOTO | Riverhead's new coach, Lamine Traore, with senior center midfielder Jordan Fulcoly during a recent practice.

It’s been a rough start to the season for both the boys and girls soccer teams at Riverhead. And both teams will be heavily challenged this afternoon in search of their first league victories.

The boys soccer team (0-3 League III, 2-3 overall) will host Smithtown West at 4 p.m. The Bulls are the last unbeaten team in the league at 3-0-1. They’re 4-1-1 overall.

The Blue Waves played Smithtown East tough earlier in the season, losing by a goal in overtime, 3-2. The Blue Waves took a 2-1 lead into halftime in that game.

The girls team, meanwhile, will host Hauppauge at 4 p.m. The girls are 0-4 in League IV and 0-6 overall. The Eagles come in tied for first place at 3-0 and with a 4-1-1 overall record.

So far the Blue Waves have scored only one goal, which came in a 2-1 loss to Westhampton. Hauppauge just put six goals in its latest win over Copiague.

The rest of Monday’s sports schedule is as follows:

BOYS GOLF

Riverhead (1-4) at Mattituck (5-0) (North Fork Country Club), 4 p.m.

Eastport-South Manor (6-1) at McGann-Mercy (4-3) (Olde Vine), 4 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER

SWR (4-1-2) at Amityville (3-5) , 4:30 p.m.

Hampton Bays (3-4) at McGann-Mercy (2-6), 6 p.m.

GIRLS TENNIS

Eastport-South Manor (6-3) at Riverhead (7-2), 3:30 p..m.

SWR (6-4) at Rocky Point (2-7), 4 p.m.

William Floyd (8-1) at McGann-Mercy (8-2), 4 p.m.

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

East Hampton (3-2) at SWR (0-6), 4:30 p.m.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Riverhead (1-5) at Copiague (0-8), 4 p.m.

09/14/11 11:52am
09/14/2011 11:52 AM

BOB LIEPA FILE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy Coach Louis Manoussos considers Roger Young to be one of the better goalkeepers in Suffolk County.

Lamine Traore knows a thing or two about goals, having scored his share of them when he played for the Dowling College men’s soccer team. He knows that goals are the lifeblood of a soccer team. A team needs them to win and to thrive.

But Traore also knows that goals don’t come easily. The creativity that produces goals is often the final piece of the puzzle for a developing team.

Traore, 29, came to America to accept a full soccer scholarship from Dowling in 2006, the same year Dowling won the Division II national championship. Traore finished his four-year career at Dowling with 39 goals and 11 assists in 61 games played, and is ranked third on the school’s all-time goal-scoring list. He was the top Division II goal scorer in the country with 26 in 2008, the same year he led the Golden Lions to the national final and was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America third team.

And now, Traore brings his soccer knowledge and hunger for goals to the Riverhead Blue Waves (5-7 last season) as the team’s new coach. He succeeds A. J. Kretschmer, who went 10-16 in his two years in charge.

Riverhead has never reached the playoffs, and Traore is under no delusion. He appreciates the magnitude of the work cut out for him.

“It’s not an easy job,” he said after a hard practice last week. “If I said it was an easy job, I’d be lying. It’s not, but you know, soccer has always been in my life.”

It was soccer that enticed Traore to make the courageous decision to leave his west African homeland, Mali, as well as his family and, with a little knowledge of English, pursue a future in the United States, where he didn’t know anyone.

What Traore did know, though, was soccer.

“Since I was little, my coach used to tell me that soccer is universal,” he said. “Wherever you go, if you speak the soccer language, you’ll get along.”

Now Traore has undertaken his first coaching job. A former Dowling teammate of his who was also an all-American, Moussa Keita, is Riverhead’s new junior varsity coach.

Traore is trying to instill the understanding in his players that simplicity is soccer’s Holy Grail. The simpler a player plays, the better. “The best player is the one who plays the most simplest way,” he said.

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Riverhead senior center midfielder Jordan Fulcoly was an all-league player last year.

The Blue Waves have two accomplished all-league players they can rely on in senior center midfielder Jordan Fulcoly and junior defender Diego Guazhambo. They head a cast of 10 returning players that also includes goalkeepers Joe Inzalaco and Selvin Morales, defenders Kevin Antunes, Abner Ortiz and Josue Cruz, midfielder Andrew Ruggiero and forwards Devrim Kucuk and Nabio Rangel.

Also joining the team are: defenders Jorge Solorzano, Sergio Gonzalez, Mike Serafico, Erick Pulla and Kevin Guazhambo, midfielders Anthony Flores, Gilberto Rosas and Carlos Guzman, and forwards Pablo Guazhambo, Michael Atkins, Shakeel Khan, Joseph Seymore, Demar Mason, Gabriel Guazhambo and Christian Garcia.

“If we get together and play as a team, we will go somewhere, we will go far,” said Traore.

As a player or coach, seeing a goal scored remains a joy for Traore.

“Scoring makes me really happy, even if I’m on the sideline,” he said. “I see a kid scoring, it just makes me happy. I just love to see the ball in the net.”

And one more thing about goals. According to Traore, there is no such thing as an ugly goal.

“No,” he said, “all goals are beautiful. As long as it crosses the line, it’s a goal, and I don’t mind. Just put it in.”

When it comes to soccer, age is measured differently, as in dog years. Class (senior, junior, sophomore, etc.) really takes a back seat to “soccer years.” A young player can be more experienced than an older one, depending on his “soccer years.”

And so, don’t be misled by looking at the young ages of the Bishop McGann-Mercy players. The Monarchs (2-14) play beyond their years. Louis Manoussos calls it the most talented group he has had in his three years as the team’s coach.

“When opposing coaches see the age on the roster, they’re going to say: ‘Oh my God. Am I playing a JV team here?’ ” he said. “But they’re going to see the talent.”

The Monarchs will depend on their three captains — Roger Young, a senior goalkeeper, Damian Duda, a junior striker/attacking midfielder, and Patrick Derenze, a junior striker.

Manoussos holds Young in high regard. “Our team will go as far as Roger takes the team,” the coach said. “In my opinion, he’s one of the better keepers in the county.”

Bereket Watts, a freshman in his third varsity year, is an all-conference center midfielder. Brian Willett, a junior right back, and Michael Shelton, a freshman stopper/sweeper, were both starters last year who should help fortify the defense.

Connor Galvin, the team’s only other senior besides Young, is the starting left back.

Among the new additions are a pair of eighth-graders, right midfielder Alex Fabrizio and central defender Joe Leonardi. The rest of the underclassmen are forward Louis Arresta, defender Dominic Gallo, midfielder Riley Joinnides, midfielder Massamino Luigini, right midfielder Wesley McBerne and left midfielder Collin Cuccia.

“There’s something about these kids,” said Manoussos, who is entering his 28th season as a head coach. “We put them through hell, literally hell [in preseason training]. They all came back with a smile on their face. They’re striving toward that respect factor. They want to get respect on the field.”

After losing a huge chunk of seniors from last year’s team, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats will turn to a new group of young players, many of whom have grown up playing soccer together.

“There’s a lot of kids who played club ball, grew up all playing since they were 5 years old together,” Shoreham Coach Andrew Moschetti said. “They know where they are on the field without having to even look.”

The Wildcats reached the playoffs in Class A last year as the No. 7 seed and lost to Elwood/John Glenn. They opened the season with a pair of non-league games, winning by 5-1 Saturday against Eastport-South Manor and falling, 5-2, at Kings Park on Monday.

Leading the team this year are senior captains Toni Domingues and Nick Araujo. Domingues plays in the midfield and Araujo is a defender.

Both players already have a goal on the season.

Charles DeMaio scored a pair of goals in the Wildcats’ win against Eastport. Greg Canellys scored a goal in both games so far as well.

Senior Joe Cahill, a newcomer to the varsity level, has started in goal for the Wildcats. Short on goalies going into the summer, the Wildcats got Cahill, a hockey goalie, to come out for the team. Moschetti said Cahill continually improved during the summer from one game to the next.

While the Wildcats have consistently made the playoffs, they’ve struggled getting past the first round. Moschetti said that’s the goal coming into this season, to advance beyond the first round. The team will face plenty of strong competition in League VI playing against Glenn, East Hampton and Westhampton Beach.

“Our senior captains have shown great leadership throughout the preseason and we are excited for league play to start,” Moschetti said.

Shoreham opens on the road Monday where its season ended last year — at John Glenn.

Joe Werkmeister contributed to this article.

bliepa@timesreview.com

07/30/11 7:56am
07/30/2011 7:56 AM

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Greg O’Brien (21) scored all four of Southold's goals in a 4-2 win over Poland High in the 1983 state championship game.

Bob Feger still has the old Suffolk Times stories from the Southold boys soccer team’s state championships in 1984 and 1985 hanging on his wall.

Then a newcomer to the North Fork, Feger inherited a First Settlers team that had won a title in 1983 after a district rule forced the former coach to limit his varsity coaching to one sport.

Southold’s state championship three-peat, and the school’s six state titles over a seven-year span dating back to 1979, stands to this day as one of the great team sports accomplishments in North Fork history. And the right foot of a striker who played on all three of those teams has been immortalized in Suffolk soccer history.

More than 25 years after he played his final high school soccer game, Southold’s Greg O’Brien still holds the county’s all-time scoring record.

O’Brien’s career mark of 111 goals scored between his freshman season in 1982 and his senior year in 1985 is 25 goals above the next name on the list, John Alberda of Commack. The two are the only Suffolk players to score more than 75 goals in a career.

“He was a goal scorer,” Feder said. “A true goal scorer.”

That much was evident very early on in O’Brien’s career. After scoring 10 goals his freshman season, O’Brien showed his nose for the net in his sophomore campaign, when he scored 38 goals to best Steve Foy’s 1981 school record and led the First Settlers to the first of three state championships. To this day, only William Floyd’s Angelo Lopez, who scored a mind-bending 51 goals in 1972, has ever scored more goals in a Section XI soccer season.

O’Brien scored all four of the First Settlers’ goals in their 4-2 1983 state championship win over Poland High.

O’Brien would go on to score 34 goals his junior season, making him the only Suffolk player to boast back-to-back 30 goal seasons. He would then come within one goal of doing it a third time, when 29 of his shots blasted the back of the net in 1985.

O’Brien even saved one of his best performances for last, when he scored a hat trick in the First Settlers’ 9-2 victory over Section V Angelica in the 1985 Class D title game.

At the time of his graduation, O’Brien’s 111 goals ranked him second best in New York State history, and he is currently 19th on the state’s all-time goals scored list.

So how’d he do it?

“I just had a lot of great teammates,” said O’Brien, who now works for an insurance company in Ohio. “And it was also just such a small school, I was fortunate I got to play as a freshman.”

With only 42 students in the Southold class of 1986, three members played all four years of high school on the varsity soccer team: O’Brien, Jack Gallagher and Kevin Santacroce.

Greg comes from a long line of O’Brien soccer players, five boys in all with Greg being the youngest, who each played soccer for Southold.

Greg also played baseball in the spring, starting as catcher on a team coached by his father Tuck.

“I didn’t realize how much I missed baseball until I stopped playing,” he said.

But soccer was always his first love, and he would go on to play four years with mixed results at Boston College.

At the high school level though, O’Brien simply had a knack for scoring.

Feger recalls one time when O’Brien scored so quickly, the officials weren’t even sure he’d scored at all.

“He picked up a pass and was cutting across the top of the box when he unleashed a shot that was just so hard and clean it hit the back of the net and dropped out,” the former coach and longtime school administrator recalled. “Everybody was looking around asking ‘Did it go in?’ ”

Not the fastest player to ever run a soccer field, O’Brien was actually more explosive when he had the ball in front of him, Feger says.

“He could split defenders as well as anybody,” he said. “And he was a true sportsman.”

Feger recalls one game when O’Brien and the First Settlers were dismantling a South Fork squad so effortlessly, O’Brien took himself out of the striker position before his coach even suggested he should. He played the rest of the game at sweeper, taking away the opportunity for him to score anymore goals against an inferior squad.

“I remember that,” O’Brien said. “I just didn’t want to be taken out of the game. That was my way of staying in.”

As it turns out, O’Brien didn’t need to score any more goals. And a quarter-century later, the record books still prove just that.

gparpan@northshoresun.com

07/12/11 12:28pm
07/12/2011 12:28 PM

When Andrew Moschetti sorted out the Shoreham-Wading River boys soccer team roster last year, he elected to keep an unusually large group of players. With 15 seniors at the beginning of the season, Moschetti feared losing so many players without having enough returnees with varsity experience for 2011.

Still, only a handful of players return that are playing on the team’s Town of Brookhaven Summer League team, meaning plenty of spots are there for the taking.

“A lot of young talent coming up,” Moschetti said. “I think we’re going to be competitive, but there’s definitely a lot of learning that has to be done before we will be at that competitive level. I’m hoping the rest of this summer and the couple weeks of preseason we can roll summer league into that.”

The Wildcats improved to 2-2-1 thus far in the summer with a 1-0 win Monday night over Harborfields at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Complex.

Already Moschetti can see one major difference from his team this year compared to his previous after becoming coach in 2009. Whereas in the past many of the players were good athletes who mostly excelled in other sports as their No. 1, this year’s group is mostly players whose main sport is soccer.

The Wildcats will bring up a big group that played together in the JV as sophomores last year, giving them two years now with Moschetti on varsity.

“They’ve all grown up playing soccer together,” Moschetti said. “There’s a lot of kids who played club ball, grew up all playing since they were 5 years old together. A lot of good communication. They know where they are on the field without having to even look. It’s a real good group of soccer players.”

Coming into the summer the Wildcats faced uncertainty of not knowing who could play goalie, the one position where they were most vulnerable. The varsity starter from last season graduated and another kid who played on JV last year opted to play football this fall. Another player from JV who could play goalie also plays baseball in and couldn’t commit to the summer soccer league.

A few seniors on the team knew one of their friends, Joe Cahill, played goalie in hockey and asked him to come out for soccer. Having never played soccer before, he’s started every game for Shoreham in the summer league.

Cahill has been a pleasant surprise, having allowed six goals in five games. Moschetti said he can see the improvement from one game to the next as Cahill, a senior, gets more acclimated to the position.

“I’m trying to change his style from butterfly to diving hands first instead of feet first,” Moschetti said. “He’s definitely picked up goalie pretty well so far in five games. He’s improved tremendously so far.”

The Wildcats may stay still have a few other options at goalie once the fall season starts, but Cahill could emerge as the best choice. Moschetti said he didn’t want to assume other players may show up to start the fall season.

“I’d rather be overprepared than have no one in goal,” he said.

The Wildcats scored the game’s only goal against Harborfields early in the second half on a hustle play from forward Charles DeMaio. As a Harborfields defender played a ball back to the goalie, DeMaio charged after it and got to the ball just as the goalie arrived to try to clear. The ball soared straight up into the air and curved back down toward the net and DeMaio slipped in to easily tap the ball into the open net.

DeMaio is a returning varsity player who will be counted on to provide some offense this season.

“He’s got some great speed,” Moschetti said. “He’s aggressive, not afraid of the ball.”

Moschetti said he’s also been impressed this summer with Toni Domingues, a senior who played defense last year. He’ll play more center midfield this season and he’s emerged as one of the leaders so far.

Matt O’Gorman has played well in the middle along with Greg Canellys, a JV player from last year, Moschetti said. Michael McDonnell, who came up as a freshman on varsity last year, has versatility to play all over the field.