Boys Soccer: Down two early, Blue Waves rally for win

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)


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. 

An inauspicious start, but not one the Blue Waves couldn’t overcome.

Led by senior Anthony Antunes, the Blue Waves struck for three straight goals in the first half to rally back and pick up a crucial 3-2 League III win.

The win boosted Riverhead’s league record to 3-5 heading into Wednesday’s game against Newfield. A win in that game against the 1-6 Wolverines could propel the Blue Waves back into the playoff hunt.

Against the Lions, Antunes scored twice and assisted on the game-winning goal. In the final minute of the first half,  forward Karol Birycki retrieved a ball deep in the right corner and fed a pass to Antunes in front of the goal. With a defender lining him up, Antunes surveyed the field and spotted Phil Barabanov to his left. Barabanov controlled a pass from Antunes and knocked the ball just inside the left post to put the Blue Waves ahead 3-2.

After the offense-heavy first half, neither team scored in the second. Riverhead goalkeeper Ryan DiResta kept the Lions from going ahead with about 6:30 left in the first half with a terrific diving stop to his left on a shot by Max Cuiffo.

The Blue Waves got on the board with 27:44 left in the first half on a beautiful give-and-go between Antunes and Brian Elejalde. Antunes added another goal just over four minutes later to tie the game.

It was the first two-goal game in his four-year varsity career, he said.

Riverhead is now 4-5 overall and 3-5 in League III.

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