In an undefeated season, Glen Cove’s boys soccer team has not faced much adversity. The Big Red has more or less cruised to a 13-0 start and Nassau A-II title.
But tallying that 13th victory was nothing short of a challenge.
Glen Cove trailed in a conference match for the first time this season but rallied for a 2-1 victory over visiting Hewlett Wednesday afternoon. Delwin Hernandez had a goal and assisted Ronaldo Velasquez’s winner.
“This will definitely help us in playoffs because of the pressure,” said midfielder Jelson Bonilla, who has five goals and four assists this season. “Games like this are wonderful for us.”
The Bulldogs opened a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute, when Luca Preziosi got enough on a loose ball to reach the back of the net. That caught the Big Red (10-0 in Nassau A-II) by surprise.
“We’re so used to having the first goal, and this was the first time we were losing this season,” Bonilla said. “We were devastated at first.”
Hewlett (5-4-1) packed the box and man-marked nearly every one of Glen Cove’s midfielders and forwards, Big Red coach Brian Smith said. That made scoring from close a challenge, and Hewlett’s Matt Gershon made 18 saves.
“He saved probably five surefire goals that were going upper 90,” Smith said. “He’s like 6-foot-4, and he got up there.”
But the Big Red’s potent offense — which has outscored its opponents 36-6 this year — continued to push and finally broke through in the 52nd minute. Ryan Greenfield beat two defenders and sent a through ball to Hernandez, who got taken down in the 18-yard box. Hernandez converted the awarded penalty kick to tie the score.
In the 68th minute, Hernandez controlled a ball just outside the 18-yard box. Smith said three Hewlett defenders lurked nearby, so Hernandez turned and sent the ball to Velasquez, who one-timed a shot from 30 yards into the top corner.
“Hewlett was good,” Smith said. “They’re a good team. They’re tough. It was a good opportunity for our boys to face playoff adversity.”