The throne in Nassau Class AA boys soccer is available for the taking.
No. 7 Baldwin defeated No. 10 MacArthur, 1-0, in double overtime Friday, ending the defending champions' quest for a repeat and advancing into a quarterfinal match with No. 2 Massapequa.
"We knew they were county champs, but our intention was just to win," said Alessandro Garcia, who scored the winner. "We didn't care what team it was."
The Generals (5-6-4) did not go down without a fight. Goalkeeper Sean Lyons made nine saves, including a few on point-blank shots. "He had a really good day," Garcia said.
But Baldwin (8-3-4) kept pushing.
"We were knocking at their door the entire second half and the overtime," coach Michael Palumbo said. "We had so many opportunities between free kicks, corner kicks and shots on net."
Finally, four minutes into the second overtime, Garcia converted. Leo Vanegas came down the right side and sent a cross to Garcia at the top of the box. Garcia, who received the pass with a man on his back, faked left before turning and firing into the right corner.
"It just happened right away," Garcia said. "The entire game, I was envisioning scoring."
Envisioning a win was easy for the Bruins, who defeated MacArthur, 1-0, on Oct. 3. Their confidence was high entering the first-round matchup.
"We knew we were the better team," Palumbo said. "We knew what we had to do."
In his 21 years at Baldwin, Palumbo said he never has coached against Massapequa. Not in the regular season. Not in the playoffs. Not even in a scrimmage.
Despite the unfamiliarity on the pitch, the Bruins are aware of Massapequa's history as they enter Wednesday's quarterfinal. The Chiefs (11-3-1) have won six of the last 11 Nassau "AA" titles.
"We've heard great things about them," Garcia said. "They're a good team. We're a good team. We're just going to go out there and battle and hopefully come out with another win."