Midway through the second half of Oceanside’s 2-0 victory at Farmingdale last Saturday, senior goalkeeper Ryan Gura gently tapped three spare balls off the back of the net behind him.
The gesture was part-necessity, part-superstition. “The refs usually don’t want the extra balls sitting on the net,” Gura said. “I don’t like seeing a ball there, either.”
No ball in play found its way past Gura, who made five of his six saves in the second half, including three from close range, to preserve an important win. Junior Angelo Maffetone scored 8:43 into the game and junior Anthony Vitta added an insurance goal with 10:25 remaining as Oceanside (2-5 overall) picked up three crucial points in the Conference AA-I standings.
“It’s such a big win,” Sailors coach Chuck Phelan said. “We had to get this one if we wanted to start making a push for the playoffs.
“We’ve got one more game before the cycle starts over, and I think we’re getting better. We could easily be on a three-game winning streak right now.”
After failing to score in its first four games, Oceanside has registered seven goals in the last three. It broke the drought with a 3-2 win over Freeport on Sept. 21, with seniors Michael Kaniatyn, Eric Filkowski and Michael Schmutter getting goals, and Maffetone, recently inserted into the starting lineup, scored twice three days later in a 3-2 defeat to Uniondale. “We started the year with one forward and five midfielders, but we just weren’t getting enough scoring chances so we went back to a traditional lineup,” Phelan said. “I’m eager to see what we can do the second time around against the teams that shut us out.”
Maffetone got the eventual game-winner at Farmingdale when he floated a shot from 15 yards out over the outstretched arms of keeper Sergio Lopez. “He’s given our offense a nice boost,” Phelan said of Maffetone, who plays in the midfield.
Though Maffetone blasted the ball over the crossbar of a yawning net midway through the first half, it didn’t come back to haunt the Sailors. That’s because Gura, working behind a defense led by junior Dan Smolarchik and seniors Francis Rapp and Tim Garrett, slammed the door on the Dalers, who slipped to 0-6. “Farmingdale beat us twice last year,” Gura said. “We needed to take care of
The ball did get past Gura five minutes into the second half, but Rapp cleared it from the goalmouth before Farmingdale’s Christopher Haseman could cash in. Gura then did his best work inside of 17 minutes, making a
diving stop off Zachary Kolodny and two sprawling saves on the doorstep. “He’s great on the ground,” Phelan said of Gura. “When the ball hits his hands, it usually stays there. He doesn’t give up many rebounds.”
The pressure was off the defense after Vitta rocketed home a shot from 25 yards out following an indirect free kick.