Brandon Yanez tried to play it cool. Anthony Molina tried not to make eye contact with his teammates. And a bunch of Brentwood’s boys soccer players surrounded and hugged it out with coach Ron Eden in front of the bleachers at Farmingdale State College.
But this was not what it seemed. This was a set up. Two Brentwood players sneaked up on Eden and dumped a full cooler of water over the winning coach’s head.
And it was so cold. But Eden relished the ceremonial dump after Brentwood’s 3-2 win over Massapequa Sunday afternoon in the Long Island Class AA championship before a crowd of more than 1,500.
Brentwood hadn’t won a LI Class AA title since 2012, far too long for the traditionally strong Suffolk powerhouse. The Indians stretched their winning streak to 21 games and will meet Ossining in a state Class AA semifinal at Twin Towers High School in Middletown Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
“It’s been too long,” said Eden, who has a 382-60 record over 24 years. “This was a very tough grind for our boys this week and I’m so proud of them. We’re a very tired group but a resilient one. We played two double overtime games this week against Commack and Smithtown West on Tuesday and Friday and then we had to come in here and face Massapequa.”
Despite the difficult road, Brentwood is moving on. That was made possible by Yanez, the team’s leading scorer with 13 goals. He drilled home a penalty kick with 5:25 left in the first half for the 1-0 lead.
“We had four different guys take penalty kicks this year,” Eden said. “We had Brandon out for five or six games and we needed other guys to step in and get it done. But when he’s available, he’s the guy, because nothing bothers him. And in a big spot like this one, I knew he’d get us the lead.”
Yanez said he was confident with the penalty kick: “I feel like I have a favorite spot. I have my mind made up before the shot.”
Massapequa (15-3-1) responded when Owen McGarrity slammed home a loose ball out of a scrum in front of the Brentwood net that keeper Molina never saw to tie it with 3:10 left in the half.
“We didn’t capitalize on some early chances in the first half,” Massapequa coach Matt Burke said. “But we responded right after the penalty kick. We have tons of fight in us and for that I am absolutely proud of these guys.”
Yanez made it 2-1 on a through ball from Chris Cerna.
“Chris sent a great pass and I had my man beat,” Yanez said. “I was one on one with the defender and turned him around like a helicopter. And I usually shoot with my left foot, but I got the shot off with the right foot and got a lot on it.”
The Indians opened a two-goal lead on Remberto Ramirez’s unassisted goal with 11:06 remaining, but there was no quit in the Chiefs. Mike Savella gathered a long ball into the box and scored from close range to make it 3-2 with 2:59 left.
“We came back a few times this year, so I was a little concerned when they got within one,” Yanez said. “Anything can happen in that situation with a good team. We played well in the final minutes and cleared the ball a few times to win it.”