Amityville's run to its first boys soccer county title since 1980 began in the sand.
For preseason workouts, coach Mike Abbondondolo took his players to a local beach. The Warriors ran two miles, did agility training and finished with a game of beach soccer.
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"It was extremely tough,'' senior center back Juan Salazar said. "You don't understand. It's crazy to run in the sand.''
Crazy, maybe, but conditioning has been key for Amityville all season. It certainly was at the forefront of the No. 5 Warriors' 3-0 win over No. 2 Harborfields on Thursday in the Suffolk Class A championship at Dowling.
"We're in better shape than the other teams,'' said Josue Martinez, who scored twice. "We can play the whole game with the same intensity.''
Amityville (14-5) got on the board with Martinez's free kick in the second minute and never let up. His shot from about 25 yards banked off the crossbar and into the net, leaving Harborfields goalkeeper Christopher Amoruso (five saves) without a play.
Four minutes into the second half, Martinez drew a foul just outside the 18-yard box. He sent his shot over a wall of Harborfields defenders and just inside the crossbar.
"His free kicks are dangerous, man,'' Abbondondolo said. "They're hit hard and they're dipping. Goalkeepers, they can get maybe a fingertip on them, if that. Tonight, the two free kicks were beautiful.''
Harborfields (12-4) earned three corner kicks in the 13 minutes after Martinez's second goal but did not convert. Near the midway point of the second half, the Warriors manufactured an opportunity in transition. Haubry Gomez sent a pass down the right side to Kevin Medrano, who sped away from his defenders and fired a shot into the upper left corner for a 3-0 lead.
"That was everything we needed,'' goalkeeper Kevin Ramirez said.
Harborfields, which did not put a shot on goal in the first half, applied consistent pressure in the final 15 minutes. But Ramirez (seven saves) and the back line of Salazar, Victor Cobos and Angel Zavala maintained the shutout, which ended the title drought at 34 years.
"For these kids to be the first ones to break through,'' Abbondondolo said, "they're going to be remembered forever.''
They still have a list of breakthroughs to check off: Next, win the program's first Long Island championship. Floral Park, the Nassau champion, stands in the way. Then, win Amityville's first state soccer title.
The Long Island championship match will be held at Farmingdale State College at 3 p.m. Sunday.
A run that began in the sand still might have some distance on it.
"We want to go upstate now,'' Martinez said.
The Warriors are one win away.