Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
SportsHigh SchoolBoys Soccer

Defending champion Commack now the hunted

Commack's Scott Cebollero waits for the game to

Commack's Scott Cebollero waits for the game to resume against Brentwood, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, at Commack High School. Credit: George A. Faella

Brentwood has been a consistent force in Long Island Class AA boys soccer, one whose success Commack is trying to emulate.

The Indians have won seven Long Island championships since 2003. In 2008 and 2010, they took the state crown.

And even last year -- when they fell to Whitman in the Suffolk AA semifinals -- they shared the Suffolk League I title . . . with Commack, the upstart that went 20-1-1 and won its first state title since 1995.

The Cougars first got a good idea of how special their 2014 season could be when they beat Brentwood at home, 1-0, to improve to 7-0.

"Brentwood has been at the pinnacle of Long Island soccer for so many years," Commack coach Dave Moran said, "that when you play them it really gives you a gauge of where the team is, and last year preparing to go upstate and everything, Brentwood's that reality check for you."

But now, Commack is the hunted. That comes with the title of "defending champion."

"Being a defending state champion, there's always a target on your back," Commack senior Anthony Izzo said. "Everybody's going to come at you hard."

Especially Brentwood.

That was the case Monday, when Brentwood went on the road and dealt Commack a 3-2 loss in front of a few hundred fans. Jefferson Portillo had two assists, including one on Alejandro Callejas' winner midway through the second half.

"We know they're a really tough team," Portillo said. "They always come hard to play with us. We were expecting that and we were ready for it.

"We knew that they were the defending state champs," Portillo added, "and we were just really waiting for this game to happen."

The defeat did not discourage the Cougars, who once again learned from their home match with the Indians (4-0). Moran said he noticed a few mistakes defensively that he would work to correct and that he liked his team's aggression offensively.

"You always want to win," Moran said, "but you can't get too disappointed about a game on Sept. 21."

Even when Brentwood is the opponent. And the Cougars (3-1) did not exactly roll over to their historically superior foes -- the Indians never trailed but never led by more than one.

"We're happy," said Brentwood coach Ron Eden, whose team will host the Cougars on Oct. 13. "Commack did a great job. We didn't win anything by it, except bragging rights for three weeks."

More high schools