The bar is set quite high for the Amityville boys soccer team.
When winning nine of 11 regular-season games can include some self-described "rough patches," that’s how you know there’s a different standard of excellence within a program. With the playoffs a week away, Amityville wanted to play its best soccer heading into the most important stretch of the season.
Boy, did it ever.
Amityville came out strong from the opening whistle, en route to a 5-0 victory over a tough Sayville team in Suffolk League IV boys soccer action at Sayville High School Wednesday.
"We took it as if it was an actual playoff game, win or go home," senior defender Cristian Escobar said. "That was our motto in this one."
Amityville, which enters its final league game at 8-1 in Suffolk IV, lost in the Suffolk Class A semifinals as the top seed in 2019 after winning a state crown in 2018. Sayville falls to 6-2-1.
"Playing for Amityville is some pressure, so for us, we are just taking it one game at a time and we are learning a lot about ourselves," coach Mike Abbondondolo said. "What I love about this group is that we’ve been through some struggles, but we are really learning this year."
Bryce Cherry had two goals -- including the first of the contest 13 minutes into the game -- and Jeremy Guardado added a goal and two assists for Amityville. Roberth Perez added two assists, Edwin Acosta had an assist and Hugo Rodriguez and Fernando Nunez each scored in the win.
With the strong backline play of David Rubio, Christopher Espinoza, Perez and Escobar, a tough midfield, and Emanuel Salazar in goal, Amityville has talent all over the field.
"No one has to carry the load," Cherry said. "We play as a team and I think that’s what’s going to help us most in the playoffs."
But before the postseason starts, Amityville wanted to send a reminder to the county.
"We needed a win like this," Guardado said. "We needed a statement game and everyone on the team gave their all. We wanted to leave a statement performance."
And Amityville proved Wednesday how potent the team can be when everything is working well.
"It’s just like it was today," Abbondondolo said. "You have a lot of guys with a lot to prove and with guys starting to click and come through, as a coach, I’m just extremely proud of them because I see what they can do and for them to go on and do it, all credit to them."