Oceanside enters the Nassau Class AA boys’ soccer playoffs riding a five-game unbeaten streak and with aspirations of earning an opportunity to avenge its only two losses.
The Sailors finished the regular season with a 6-2-2 mark, with both Conference AA-1 defeats coming against top-seeded Hicksville. They managed one goal while allowing seven to the Comets. In the other eight games, Oceanside outscored its competition by a healthy 12-5 margin.
“Hicksville has been in midseason form from the start and we’d love a third crack at them,” Oceanside coach Patrick Turk said. “We’ve had a fantastic season. I knew we had the talent to compete and I’m very proud of our guys.”
Seeded No. 4 in the 12-team tournament, the Sailors hosted fifth-seeded Port Washington in Tuesday’s opening round, after Herald press time. The semifinals are Friday where they could meet Hicksville, with the winner advancing to the county championship game April 28. “We like a challenge,” Turk said. “If we meet Hicksville again, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to try to beat them. We’ll have to play an excellent game though.”
Oceanside is a perfect 3-0-2 in April, which began with a game Turk said has stuck out in his mind. The Sailors enjoyed their biggest offensive performance of the season in a 4-2 victory at Port Washington. They twice responded from allowing a one-goal lead slip away and got goals from four different sources — juniors Aidan Foley and David Acker in the first half and juniors Chris Evans and Ryan Profitlich in the second half. Evans scored the eventual winner, assisted by Acker, with about 20 minutes remaining.
Acker, Foley, Profitlich and seniors Ryan O’Sullivan and Dan Peters comprise a deep and creative midfield group, Turk said. Acker is a captain who is dynamic and calm at the same time, the coach noted. He has a couple of goals and two assists while maintaining a defensive focus.
Sophomore forward Dan Santos has a team-leading 4 goals and benefited from some varsity minutes in 2019 and studying professional game videos with Turk. “He has that knack for the ball that you can’t teach and makes defenders pay for their mistakes,” Turk said. Evans has a dangerous left-footed blast and junior Mike Gomes brings patience and playmaking ability to the group. Seniors Oscar Vanegas, Nick Punzone and Jake Denicker are additional key pieces up front as the Sailors rely on their depth to keep the pressure on opponents.
Defensively, seniors Ben Sanchez, Matthew Meagher, Tyler Cinamon and Anthony Soria are workhorses who hardly come off the field. Sanchez and Cinamon work the outside and have the green light to freelance and pursue counter attacks in transition.
Between the pipes, junior Scott Campuzano (43 saves) and sophomore Jacob Raphan (32) have formed a strong goalkeeping tandem. Both posted a pair of shutouts. “They have different strengths and elevate each other,” said Turk, who was undecided on naming a playoff starter.