Any team opposing Oceanside in the Nassau Class AA boys’ soccer playoffs can expect a full 80-minute battle.
The Sailors, while putting together a seven-game unbeaten streak from Sept. 20 through Oct. 17, mustered some last-minute homefield magic on more than one occasion in addition to continuing to build chemistry and confidence. They finished 5-2-5 in conference play.
On Oct. 3, junior Ryan O’Sullivan scored with eight seconds left to beat Hicksville, 1-0. Eight days later, junior Ben Sanchez found the back of the net with 50 seconds to go to salvage a 2-2 draw against Syosset.
“To consistently attack is the mark of a good team,” Oceanside coach Patrick Turk said. “We’re really excited about how far we can go. We’ve learned from the losses and we believe we can compete with anyone.
“The kids put in a ton of work and are getting results,” he added. “They’ve been able to take things we practice and apply it in games.”
Oceanside, which lost 1-0 to eventual NYS champion Port Washington in the first round of last year’s playoffs as the No. 9 seed, will begin the postseason on the road again Oct. 29 at either Hicksville or Uniondale. The Sailors played Port to a scoreless tie in a mid-September game Turk described as a confidence builder.
“Port’s roster hasn’t changed much,” he said. “It was a great back-and-forth game. Both teams had its chances.”
Also held off the scoreboard in its following match, a 2-0 loss to Hempstead, Oceanside then kicked into gear starting with a 1-1 non-league draw with Hewlett. “We play an exciting brand of soccer,” Turk said. “We’re giving our fans a fun team to watch.”
The coach noted the leadership of five captains — Sanchez and seniors Marco Ancona, Austin Ortiz, Michael Phillips and Christopher Seychell — has been a key to success. Ancona and Ortiz are integral parts of the offensive attack, Phillips is a playmaker in the midfield, and Seychell and Sanchez comprise half of the starting defense.
Seychell’s goal kick in the waning seconds led to O’Sullivan’s heroics against Hicksville. Senior Jonathan Gamarra, who leads the team in scoring with six points, including four goals, secured Seychell’s drive and after carrying the ball to the far corner, sent a crossing pass that O’Sullivan one-timed into the net. “It was a wild celebration,” Turk said.
Jack Conger, who along with fellow senior Gino Vaccaro, comprise the other half of the starting defense, set up Sanchez’s equalizer against Syosset. The Sailors also beat East Meadow, 4-1, behind sophomore Christopher Evans’ two goals, and Farmingdale, 2-1, on goals by Ortiz and Gamarra, as part of their hot streak.
“We’ve spread the offense around and those guys on defense have been an absolute wall just about every game,” Turk explained.
In goal, sophomore Scott Campuzano and senior Zachary Macer have combined for nearly 100 saves. Campuzano has received about 2/3rds of the workload and has five shutouts. Macer also has a shutout.