When Roberto Ventura and Jorge Hernandez made varsity in 2013, Brentwood was coming off five straight Suffolk AA boys soccer championships. The tradition was so rich that the expectations were win or bust.
The Indians continued to win but not when it mattered most. They were League I champions in each of the senior duo’s first three seasons but always fell short in the playoffs.
“We’ve got the past three years league,” Ventura said, “but league wasn’t good enough for us so this year was a little different. We wanted county champions.”
And in their last try, they achieved that goal.
No. 4 Brentwood defeated No. 3 Newfield, 4-2, on Thursday night at Diamond in the Pines. Hernandez assisted the first goal and Ventura punctuated the game with a beautiful left-footed strike. Wilber Gomez scored and assisted a goal by his brother, Randy, that gave the Indians (16-2-2) a 3-1 lead in the 54th minute.
“My senior year, it feels amazing going through all this, playing with these talented boys, playing with the Brentwood shirt,” Ventura said.
Newfield (16-2-1) took the lead first, in the 19th minute. Mike DiDominico, who generated several dangerous opportunities, sent a long throw from the right side into the box. After bouncing around, the ball landed on John Alves’ foot and the senior volleyed it into the net.
The Wolverines, making their first county championship appearance, were not intimidated by Brentwood’s tradition.
“I’m just happy these guys gave everything they had,” coach Jamie Santiago said.
That seemed to spark Brentwood. In the 24th minute, Hernandez slipped ball down the left side of the box and on to Wilber Gomez’s foot. The junior converted inside the far post.
In the 42nd minute, Bryan Argueta sent a 30-yard free kick over Newfield’s wall and inside the left post for a 2-1 lead. The Gomez brothers connected eight minutes later.
Less than a minute after Randy Gomez’s goal, Ventura drew a hard foul, which resulted in a red card for a Newfield player. Despite playing man-down, the Wolverines scored in the 57th minute to pull within one.
Ventura, who injured his right elbow on the foul, returned and took a ball down the right side, dribbled to the middle and ripped a left-footed shot from about 25 yards into the top left corner.
“That one’s probably one of my favorite for now,” he said.
For now, as in maybe he will top it in Sunday’s Long Island championship against Calhoun.