Having already established himself as one the most prolific players on Long Island, Mauricio Puerto-Quintanilla is looking for even bigger things in his final varsity season.
All the early signs suggest he is well on his way, as he earned his second hat trick in three games Tuesday afternoon to lead Lawrence boys soccer to a 4-2 win over visiting Lynbrook in both team’s Nassau A-III opener. The senior forward scored in the 20th and 25th minutes and after Gabe Viera fired home in the 31st, Puerto-Quintanilla scored again six seconds left in the first half.
Lynbrook scored in the 50th and 66th minutes and continued to apply pressure until the final whistle, but Lawrence (2-1 overall) was able to hold it off and secure the win.
“Everybody put in the work and I was happy to score the goals and contribute for the team,” said Puerto-Quintanilla, who already has seven goals this season.
He has picked up right where he left off last year, when he scored 15 times (the most for a returning player in Nassau County) to earn first-team All-Long Island honors and help the Golden Tornadoes reach the county semifinals.
“He’s passionate, he works hard and he’s off-the-charts talented,” Lawrence coach Pat Leary said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and he’s probably the most talented kid I have. He makes me look smart, but quite honestly, I just try to get out of the way and let him do his thing.”
His first goal of the afternoon was his best, a calmy-taken rising free kick from distance that blasted into the back of the net.
“I got the ball, felt confident about it, took the shot, and thanked God it went in,” Puerto-Quintanilla said. “I was so happy and celebrated with our fans and then was focused on getting more goals.”
The focus paid off, as he did just that, heading in a ball off a scramble in front of the net and then connecting on a ball Ozzy Canales played into the box.
Despite the fireworks from Puerto-Quintanilla, Lynbrook kept battling, and after Alex Schachinger scored, he turned provider to set up Anthony Campos.
“Lynbrook is always tough. They were organized and well-coached and didn’t give up,” Leary said.
Lawrence showed toughness as well, following in the example of their senior captain.
Said Leary of Puerto-Quintanilla: “He’s playing with urgency and with a kid with that talent, that kind of work rate and that kind of passion, you’re going to get results.”