Floyd is not the gold standard in Suffolk boys soccer. Not yet, anyway. But the Colonials are definitely digging for the same nuggets.
They took down perennial power, previously unbeaten and nationally ranked Commack, 2-1, Tuesday on Ethan Loarca’s golden goal in the second minute of the second overtime off a slick pass from Gio Fiore.
The Colonials trailed 1-0 for much of the game on Matt Cozetti’s goal off a back-door feed from Ryan Young 17 minutes into the game. But Floyd tied it with 8:54 left on Danny Lombardo’s finish of a nice feed from the right wing by Evan Meinke. Floyd improved to 7-2-1 in Suffolk I and Commack fell to 8-1.
“This sends a message to the rest of the league that Floyd is definitely in the race,” said Fiore, who notched his seventh assist with a strong move down the right side and artful pass to the box that went over the defense and right to a waiting Loarca, who buried his third goal. “I knew if I put it on target that it would either get deflected in or it would get followed up. Our defense gets most of the credit for keeping us in the game. And Ethan made a great run.”
Loarca said he had never scored a golden [sudden-death] goal, which might explain why he celebrated giddily by racing across the field to the home bleachers to share the moment with Floyd fans. “I saw Gio making a beautiful run and just found the open space in front. It was an unforgettable moment. Everything went dark for me after that. It’s a beautiful feeling to score a game-winner, especially against an undefeated team.”
Commack’s early lead, on Cozetti’s nifty cross-over maneuver that faked out the keeper, forced Floyd to play aggressively to at least force overtime. The Colonials seemed to have the better of the play in the second half, securing two corner kicks and seeing Lombardo’s blast from 25 yards go just wide with 14 minutes left.
After Lombardo tied it, both teams applied pressure in the final minutes of regulation. There were no good scoring chances in the first overtime, but Floyd was more aggressive in the second 10-minute period. “I felt like we had the momentum,” Floyd coach Paul Paniccia said. “In high school sports, it’s all about going for it, not settling for a tie.”
Paniccia said the victory clinched the Colonials’ third consecutive playoff appearance after 25 years of not making the postseason. “We felt all along we could challenge for the top,” he said.
The gold rush is on.