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Huntington upsets No. 2 Hills West in first round of Suffolk Class AA
Huntington boys soccer coach John Pagano called it one of the biggest wins in the program's history.
Ricky Velasquez, a junior forward, scored the winner unassisted with 15 minutes left from about 25 yards out as No. 15 Huntington upset No. 2 Half Hollow Hills West Tuesday afternoon, 1-0, in a Suffolk Class AA first-round playoff game. Lee Reiver had 11 saves in the shutout, including a few key stops inside the final five minutes.
The Blue Devils (9-4-5) will visit No. 10 Hauppauge in a semifinal match on Friday at 2 p.m.
Hills West (14-1-2) had clinched the League IV title for the seventh time in eight years earlier this month.
"To shut that team out on their home field, I mean, that just doesn't happen," said Pagano, who has coached the team for 12 years. "Our defense pressed a lot and they had a lot of quality chances, but they couldn't convert and we were able to sneak one by."
Before visiting Half Hollow Hills West, Huntington first had to defeat Comsewogue in an out-of-bracket game Saturday.
"We kind of took that [being placed in an out-of-bracket game] a little personally," Pagano said. "We felt we could play with teams."
Huntington's defense, led by Scott Gulizio and Alex Castillo, proved that on Tuesday. They forced Hills West to stay central, instead of stretching out the field, which was their strength, Pagano said.
"We're playing with house money and we're having fun," the coach said. "But we can compete and that was shown with this game, which is probably the biggest win in this program's history."