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Goalkeeper Aaron Siegel stellar for Smithtown West in its 1-1 tie with Huntington

Smithtown West's Aaron Siegel clears the ball in

Smithtown West's Aaron Siegel clears the ball in the first half during a Suffolk boys soccer game on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 at Huntington. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Aaron Siegel made it look almost too easy.

The Smithtown West junior goalkeeper was doing everything shy of literally standing on his head to keep Huntington from scoring on numerous 1-on-1 attempts.

The result: a 1-1 tie Wednesday in a boys soccer game in which Smithtown West needed at least a tie to win its third straight Suffolk League III title and fifth in six years.

"I felt it was one of my stronger games I ever had," Siegel said. "I was really vocal, I was really into it and I just felt I made some big saves in some big times."

He might be underselling himself. Siegel, who had eight saves, made the 8 x 24 soccer net look more like a hockey net.

Huntington (11-1-2), which finished in a three-way tie for first place in Suffolk IV last season, entered the final game of the regular season Wednesday one point behind Smithtown West (12-1-1) in the standings.

Siegel kept making save after save -- one more impressive than the other.

He was challenged early and often, making three difficult saves in the game's first 20 minutes. He was most frequently challenged by Carlos Rivera, who torched the Smithtown West defense with his outstanding speed to create plenty of opportunities.

Rivera got the best of Siegel for his 20th goal of the season two minutes into the second half. Jayvin Coto broke free down the left sideline and when Siegel came out to challenge him, Coto found Rivera on a cross to take a 1-0 lead.

"You kind of just can't really think about it," Siegel said about finding himself in 1-on-1 situations. "You kind of just have to come out and hope for the best."

After Siegel continued to make a series of dazzling saves to keep it 1-0, Max Mohrmann gathered a ball in the 18-yard box and scored in the lower-right corner with 20 minutes left to tie it at 1. But even he knew he had Siegel to thank for the game-tying opportunity.

"He definitely kept us in the game," Mohrmann said. "They had so many chances. We could have been down how many goals, you know? So it was a great effort by him."

Overtime wasn't any different. Within the first 90 seconds of the period, Siegel made two more 1-on-1 saves, one off a Rivera shot.

After the game, Smithtown West coach Tom Lips admitted Huntington was "definitely better today." But luckily for Lips, a goalie can often mask a team's mistakes.

"I've definitely played with teams that don't have a strong goalie," Mohrmann said. "Having a strong goalie is great because just in case there is an extremely fast forward -- like they had -- getting past everyone, it's definitely a sense of safety when he's in goal."


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