A three-time defending New York State Class A champion, a four-time defending Suffolk County Class B champion, and the first League VI opponent of the year—that’s what the East Hampton boys soccer team had on tap last week to start the season, and it made a strong statement by winning all three games.
The Bonackers picked up a 2-0 road win over Class B powerhouse Mattituck on September 9, then crushed Bayport/Blue Point, 6-1, at home on Thursday, September 11, to open the League VI season. On Saturday, East Hampton edged its Nassau County nemesis Jericho in a 2-1 nail-biter, beating the squad that has ended East Hampton’s own quest for a state title more than once in recent years.
Camilo Godoy scored the game-winner against Jericho with just two minutes left in the game, off an assist from Nick West, burying the ball in the upper right corner of the net. West had scored the tying goal early in the second half. Jericho got its only goal off the boot of Ethan Hass, who scored 10 minutes into the game. Bonacker Nick Tulp made four saves in the win.
It was the third year in a row East Hampton played Jericho in a non-league contest, but the first time the Bonackers came away with a win. While Jericho did lose some talent from its state championship team last year, East Hampton head coach Rich King said the Jayhawks are still one of the best programs in the state.
“They’ve built a tradition of winning,” he said. “They’re not as experienced this year as they’ve been in the past few years, and they’re a little bit younger than us, but they’re a tough opponent and a very well-coached team. It was their homecoming, so it was a good environment for us. It was good to finally beat them and give our guys a little bit of confidence.”
The Bonackers took care of business right away against Bayport, going up 4-0 at half. Six different players scored for East Hampton, which displayed its versatility on offense. West, Jonathan Chunchi, Joe Palacios, Kevin Ovando, Brian Oreamuno, and Jhon Guanga all found the back of the net, while Esteban Valverde had three assists, and Christian Barrientos and Gus Rosas each had one. Tulp made four saves.
“It was good to get that first league win against a team we lost to last year,” King said. “We took care of business right from the beginning and played pretty well early in the season, which was nice to see.”
The Bonackers scored early in their win over Mattituck, with Chunchi striking just seven minutes in. West added the final goal at the end, with just four minutes left in the game. Mattituck had to play most of the game down a man due to a red card handed out just five minutes into the match.
“It helped us get the result, but it wasn’t necessarily what you want to happen when you play a non-league game against a team like Mattituck,” King said. “They’re a really loaded team, and it would have been nice to see the two teams play at full strength. They had tons of scoring chances, as did we. I think we’re both pretty evenly matched. They’re one of the better high school teams I’ve seen over the past six or seven years, so it was a good road win for us.”
The Lady Bonackers fell to 0-2 in League VI, 1-2 overall, after a pair of losses last week. East Hampton was downed, 3-0, at home by Elwood/John Glenn on September 10, before falling, 2-0, at Center Moriches two days later. In the loss to Glenn, East Hampton was down only 1-0 at halftime, and nearly tied it before the break when Wylee Musnicki threatened to score, but Glenn’s goalie Kelsey LaBella made a great save. Glenn went up 2-0 with 10 minutes left in the game and added the final goal with less than two minutes remaining.
“We were in the game for the most part,” East Hampton head coach Mike Vitulli said. He pointed out that goalie Cecelia Blowe played well in both losses, making more than 20 saves against Glenn. “She’s been a real bright spot for us,” he said. “She’s really stepped it up this year.”
Against Center Moriches, Vitulli said his team didn’t play that well in the first half and was “lucky” to get to halftime down only 2-0. “In the second half, we played much better, but we just couldn’t generate any offense,” he said. “But the play was more even. We matched their intensity.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Wednesday, 9/17, vs. Miller Place, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 9/19, at Elwood/John Glenn, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9/20, vs. Hampton Bays, 4:30 p.m. Girls—Tuesday, 9/16, vs. Hampton Bays, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 9/18, at Elwood/John Glenn, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9/20, vs. Bayport/Blue Point, 10 a.m.