The sun was setting on the day and the final game of the regular season. The top two boys soccer teams in Nassau Conference A-V were tied with 25 minutes left. Championship stakes hung in the fading light at Lawrence High.
The Golden Tornadoes needed to beat unbeaten North Shore Friday to claim three points and a share of the conference title with the Vikings.
Fortunately for Lawrence, it has Nassau’s top two goal scorers on its side. Angelo Puerto-Quintanilla scored his second of the game for the lead, then set up Gabe Viera for the exclamation point. The Golden Tornadoes had scored four unanswered goals, good for a 4-2 win.
So the teams move on to the county tournament in Class A as 11-1 co-champs.
"It’s great," Lawrence coach Patrick Leary said. "I’m thrilled for the boys."
"It’s a disappointing day," North Shore coach Mike Bishop said. "We were going for an undefeated season. But I think we’re going to learn from it."
The Vikings (13-1-1 overall) arrived as the only team to defeat Lawrence and keep it off the scoreboard, taking a 2-0 win on Sept. 25.
"We wanted this from the start," Viera said. "They beat us the first time. We had to beat them. We can’t lose on our turf."
Viera and Puerto-Quintanilla saw to that. The senior forwards have combined for 45 goals, 24 for Puerto-Quintanilla and 21 for Viera.
"Those two guys are dangerous," Bishop said. "They exposed our defenders."
Puerto-Quintanilla, operating on the right side, made a little move toward the inside and beat Varick Fleischmann for a 3-2 edge with 24:51 remaining.
Then Viera ran down a long ball from Puerto-Quintanilla and broke in to make it 4-2 with 4:40 left.
It had been 2-0, North Shore. Matteo Kanakaris beat Julio Murcia on a header and Luke DiBenedetto scored following a free kick by Kanakaris. The goals came 1:30 apart around the midpoint of the first half.
But it was tied at 2 by the intermission. Puerto-Quintanilla converted a penalty kick and Jona Murcia scored off an assist from Viera.
"Even though we were down 2-0, in football you can never give up hope," Puerto-Quintanilla said. "As soon as we scored the penalty, it lifted our spirits and it brought our team where it needed to be to win the game."