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'Agner Combo' does it in Commack boys soccer victory

Commack players congratulate striker Jack Lagner, center, after

Commack players congratulate striker Jack Lagner, center, after he scores on a penalty kick against Whitman during a Suffolk League II boys soccer game on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Commack boys soccer coach Dave Moran can always count on his "Agner Connection."

On Wednesday, Tommy Wagner took care of the defense and Jack Lagner was responsible for the offense. While a letter separates the two Cougars — a ‘W’ and an ‘L’ — interestingly, the dynamic duo are a big reason why Commack has more of the former letter than the latter.

Wagner kept Whitman’s talented senior forward Richard Morel without a point, and Lagner scored twice on penalty- kick opportunities as host Commack remained unbeaten in Suffolk League I after a 2-0 win. Moran had 20 of his players participate in the game and has had more than 25 players in a game this season.

"This is one of the deepest teams I’ve ever had," Moran said. "Even the young guys, when you put them in, they’re ready to go."

It all started with Wagner, arguably the best player on the pitch on Wednesday. Morel, who entered the game tied for fourth in Suffolk in goals (seven), had his best chance of the day late in the first half for Whitman (2-2). The Marist-bound Morel’s free kick was tipped by Commack goalie Dario Maricevic’ (five saves) and glanced off and over the crossbar for Whitman.

Wagner anchored the Cougars’ defense, along with senior defenders Justin Salerno, Dillon Mortenson and Brandon "Tahoe" Trent, as Maricevic’ recorded his fourth shutout of the season for Commack (5-0). So, how did Wagner keep Morel under wraps?

"Don’t let him turn, that’s it," the junior center back said. "You can’t let him turn. Just play soccer. That’s it."

His teammate, Lagner, knows firsthand how tough Wagner really is. "It’s the ‘Agner combo,’ " Lagner said, "and it’s always competitive between us two during practice."

Lagner was grabbed in the box by a Whitman player in the 16th minute and converted a penalty kick to make it 1-0. Later, another PK was awarded when a Whitman player was called for a handball in the box. Lagner’s PK was initially stopped by Whitman goalkeeper Franklin Fuentes Canales (eight saves), but he alertly picked up a rebound and scored in the 35th minute.

Lagner suffered a devastating tibia-fibula compound fracture as he scored at Bay Shore in a game in September 2019. After surgery, he was at Commack’s next home game — two days later — to watch as a spectator.

"The whole team’s heart dropped after that play and he scored the [go-ahead] goal, too," Wagner said. "But he recovered fast and he’s better than ever."

Just like the "Agner Connection."

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