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Second-half surge lifts Hicksville over Oceanside

Hicksville's Guillermo Granados controls the ball against Oceanside

Hicksville's Guillermo Granados controls the ball against Oceanside during a Nassau Conference AA1 boys soccer game on Tuesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Hicksville boys soccer team is beginning to look like a juggernaut.

Strong in the back, organized in the middle and quick to the ball up front, the Comets have a little bit of everything this season and it shows in their record. They got three second-half goals on Tuesday at Oceanside to emerge with a 3-1 Nassau AA-I victory over the Sailors, running their mark to 5-0 at the midpoint of the season.

Hicksville spent almost the entire first half in Oceanside’s end of the field, but couldn’t put a goal on the board as it was a scoreless tie at the break. Then Muneer Lalji put a pass right on Guillermo Granados’ foot aside the goal for a 1-0 lead. Just a couple minutes later and still riding the momentum, David Vides’ goal put the Comets up 2-0.

Oceanside finally struck back with about 12 minutes left in the game as Chris Evans found a streaking Dan Santos to the left of Comets keeper Amardeep Singh for a goal that cut the margin to one.

Hicksville’s Chris Smith sealed the win with four minutes to play by taking a pass from Walter Benavides and putting it just to the left of diving Sailors keeper Scott Campuzano.

"I saw an opening in the middle and Walter’s pass was right on the money," said Smith, who now has seven goals on the season.

"We thought we could have a season like this because we have so much experience – 21 seniors on the roster," Comets coach Scott Starkey said. "We were all really concerned about whether it would have a chance to happen when the season was postponed in the fall by the (coronavirus) pandemic. But they’re getting the chance now and making the most of it."

"We feel like we have what it takes to go all the way this year," Granados said. "Everyone’s goal is to win a championship."

Hicksville has won 10 Nassau titles, but none since 2015. It has outscored opponents 15-2 thus far this season.

"They have a good team and they are really consistent," Oceanside coach Patrick Turk said. "I know that ‘consistent’ isn’t sexy way to describe a team, but it makes for a very tough opponent. They keep coming at you."

Singh made six saves for Hicksville. Campuzano had eight saves for Oceanside.

"The difference maker with this team is the experience playing and the experience playing together," Starkey said. "Whatever comes up for them, they’ve already lived it. It’s a group that’s been through everything."

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