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Tommy Wagner, Mike Maldonado help Commack to semifinal win over Brentwood

Brett Anderson of Commack and Tony Vigil of

Brett Anderson of Commack and Tony Vigil of Brentwood go up for the header during the Suffolk High School boys soccer semifinal playoff game on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 in Commack. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Tommy Wagner called his shot to coach Dave Moran.

The junior defender on the top-seeded Commack boys soccer team has been in the middle of many of Commack’s defining moments this postseason. And, with Commack trailing Brentwood by a goal at halftime, Wagner wasn’t concerned.

"He told me he was going to score," Moran said. "He just said ‘I’m going to score’ and I said ‘OK.’ I believed him. And it happened."

Wagner finished a free kick sent in by Mike Maldonado from about 15 yards out to tie the score at 1 less than seven minutes into the second half. Less than two minutes later, Maldonado scored the go-ahead goal as host Commack defeated No. 4 Brentwood, 3-1, in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals Wednesday.

"We were saying this game isn’t over yet," Wagner said. "We had a whole half to play. We said we were going to put three away in the first 20 minutes and we did and then it was just defense-first the rest of the game."

Commack (14-0) advances to play No. 2 Newfield (16-0) in the Suffolk Class AA final at Diamond in the Pines in Coram Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Brentwood finishes 13-3.

Maldonado said he knew if he put the ball near the net, Wagner would finish it for the team’s first goal.

"I know I can always find Tommy on those free kicks," Maldonado said. "So when it was flying over toward his head, I knew he was putting it in the back of the net."

Then Maldonado was in the right place at the right time to give Commack the advantage. He played a ball off Jack Lagner’s attempt from about 15 yards out for the goal.

"It was wobbling around, but you’ve always got to be ready for any kick out or misbounce, just have to be ready to put it in the back of the net," Maldonado said. "It felt incredible just to look out at the crowd and know I just took the lead for my team."

Jackson Masters headed in the final goal off a header from Wagner following another free kick from Maldonado with 11:52 remaining in the game.

Moran called Wagner "the best player of the field" Wednesday.

"Tommy wills himself to whatever he wants to do," Moran said. "He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached in any sport my entire life. I wish we had 30 of him, he’s a special player and he’s just incredible. He’ll do anything to win a game and he really came through today."

Wagner just didn’t want his season to be over.

"We said we’re not ready to go home yet," Wagner said. "We have one more game."

That one game will be the team Commack expected to see in the final. And with its perfect season on the line, Commack is excited for the championship game.

"That’s the most important thing," Wagner said. "We’ve said it from the beginning. We know there’s no states this year, but we’ve got to win counties, it’s the biggest one. We knew we were going to play Newfield in the county [final], too, they’ve been talking to us about it. So the stars aligned."

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