After a first half controlled by the defenses, the most dangerous offensive player on the field put his stamp on Thursday’s pivotal match.
Shawn Coles scored a pair of second-half goals and made a series of incisive passes and clever touches, clearly demonstrating he is also one of the most dangerous players on Long Island.
The senior’s goals in the 45th and 55th minutes led Hauppauge to a 2-1 win over visiting Half Hollow Hills West in a Suffolk IV boys soccer game Thursday afternoon. After Coles bent in a free kick to open the scoring, Egan Chase leveled from the penalty spot, before Coles scored the winner off a throw-in.
“We worked hard and we came into this game knowing we had to win this,” said Coles, who has six goals this season after posting 18 goals and 11 assists last year.
“I’m spoiled watching a player like him play,” said goalie Ryan Levenberg, who also played a key role with seven saves. “It’s definitely fun because he’s incredible.”
Coles will be crucial to Hauppauge’s Class A county title defense, which was bolstered by Thursday’s win against a team that reached last season’s AA state final before reclassifying. The Eagles improved to 4-0 and dropped Hills West to 2-2.
Both Levenberg and his counterpart in the Hills West goal, Ben Nacht, made a number of good saves to keep the first half scoreless, including a ball Levenberg sent over the crossbar as time expired in the period.
“Time was winding down and there was some chaos in the box,” he said. “I knew not to give up on the play and just wait for the half to end.”
“Ryan played awesome,” Hauppauge coach Jamie Edson said. “He’s also a great pitcher and he’s been in some big games, so nothing phases him.”
Five minutes into the second half, Coles finally beat Nacht by sending his free-kick over the wall and to the far post.
“I just kept my composure and knew what I was going to do with it,” he said.
In the 49th minute, a Hauppauge handball in the penalty area put Chase on the spot, and he sent Levenberg the wrong way.
Hauppauge wasted little time responding, as Josh Segal took a throw-in deep in the attacking third that Ryan Rush flicked to Coles for a finish from close-range.
Said Edson, “If there’s a more dangerous forward in Suffolk County, I haven’t seen him yet.”