The East Hampton boys soccer team is off to a great start in League VI, the first step in what it hopes will be its defense of both the league and Suffolk County Class A titles.
The Bonackers shut out two league opponents last week, beating Mount Sinai, 5-0, at home on September 17 before getting past Miller Place, 2-0, on the road two days later. On Saturday night, East Hampton took on one of the best teams in the country, making the long bus ride to Huntington to face St. Anthony’s in a non-league game. East Hampton lost, 4-0, to the powerhouse team—but head coach Rich King said it was a learning experience for his squad. “We were ecstatic that they were even willing to play us,” he said. “Just because of the caliber of team they are.”
The Bonackers were down just 1-0 at halftime against the Friars, who scored late in the half on a penalty kick. King said his team even had a few scoring chances in the first half. In the second half, St. Anthony’s scored twice in the first 15 minutes, and their goalie then made a few clutch saves. St. Anthony’s scored the final goal in the last six minutes of the game.
“I was happy with the way our guys played, and there’s definitely no shame in losing to a team like St. Anthony’s,” King said. “It was good for our guys to get the learning experience out of it, and, hopefully, it’s something that makes us better.”
Nick Tulp made eight saves for East Hampton in the loss.
Against Miller Place, East Hampton got on the board early when Camilo Godoy scored off a corner started by Nick West just a minute into the game. It was deja vu in the second half, as the Bonackers put in another goal very early on in the frame, and once again it was West—this time on a free kick—providing Godoy with an assist. West’s shot was stopped by the Miller Place goalie, but he could not possess it. Godoy gathered the rebound and scored.
“We pretty much dominated play, so we were real happy,” King said of his team’s effort. “It was a good road win in our league, because Miller Place is a good team this year.”
The Bonackers took care of business against Mount Sinai, one of the weaker teams in the league. Donte Donegal had two goals and an assist, while Godoy had a goal and an assist. Kevron Palmer and Nick Quiroz also added goals. East Hampton had a 3-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
“We played really well defensively,” King said. “We didn’t give up a shot on goal. It was an opportunity for us to get a lot of guys playing time.”
While the Bonackers have been dominant thus far in league play, King said he and assistant Don McGovern still haven’t settled on a starting lineup and are still expecting more from their team, especially coming into was figured to be a big week with tough competition. East Hampton was scheduled to face Bayport/Blue Point, a much improved team, and an always tough Shoreham/Wading River squad this week before a Saturday road game with Jericho in a rematch of the Long Island Class A Championship from last year. Jericho won and went on to win its second straight state championship.
“We don’t have our starting lineup set yet, and while we’re getting the results we want, we still feel like a work in progress,” King said. “We haven’t reached our potential yet.”
East Hampton head coach Mike Vitulli has found a formula he thinks can be a successful one for the East Hampton girls soccer team this season. And while his approach didn’t yield a win last week, the way his team played gave him hope that it’s a good plan to follow.
Using a system that emphasizes strong defense and an offense built on the counter-attack, the Lady Bonackers had either leads or were tied in the first half of all three of their games last week, only to fall short in the second half. East Hampton began the week with a 4-0 home loss to Center Moriches, where the Lady Red Devils scored all their goals in the final 15 minutes of the game. The Lady Bonackers followed that game with a 3-1 defeat at Elwood/John Glenn on September 18, watching a 1-1 halftime tie turn into a loss.
On Friday, they were edged, 2-1, at home against Mount Sinai, as the Lady Mustangs scored both goals in the second half after East Hampton was up 1-0 at halftime.
Against Glenn, East Hampton took a 1-0 lead when Ashley Rojas scored off an assist from Wylee Musnicki on a corner kick. Against Mount Sinai, Rachel Harty scored off an assist from Shannon Lamprecht 25 minutes into the game. Mount Sinai scored soon after that to tie it on a play that Vitulli said was questionable, as it seemed like the Mount Sinai players was offsides.
East Hampton fell to 0-3 in League VI, 2-3 overall.
Vitulli said that while his team is still seeking its first league win, he’s happy with the effort of his players, particularly four seniors who he said have taken on a leadership role for the team—Lamprecht, Rojas, Harty and Amanda Seekamp. He added that goalie Francesca Schelfout has been playing well also.
“The team is playing very hard, and they’re competing in games,” he said. “We just have to find a way to finish games out.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Wednesday, 9/25, at Shoreham, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9/28, at Jericho, 11 a.m.; Monday, 9/30, vs. Amityville, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10/3, vs. Glenn, 4:30 p.m. Girls—Tuesday, 9/24, at Miller Place, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 9/26, vs. Bayport, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9/28, at Shoreham, 5:30 p.m.; Monday, 9/30, vs. Shoreham, 4:30 p.m.