Today's 1-1 tie between Hills East (6-0-1) and West Islip (5-0-2) was a very well played and competive game. Both teams turned up the intensity in the second half and overtime was also quite exciting. Here are the quotes from after the game which did not make it into the game story.
Hills East coach Tiziano Carcone:
On the slower pace of the first half compared to the second half:
Main thing here is it's very hot. We’re getting back to the heat; they’re not used to that. It feels like it’s 100 degrees out here. They have to learn to pace themselves. We have two of the best teams here in Suffolk county.
On Jake Freeman's play:
Jake is that special player who is not looking for his points. He’s looking to produce something. He likes to take the ball to the corner and create some opportunities for the other guys to score. He was being double-teamed, sometimes even three players on him and it didn’t matter to him and it didn’t matter to him. (He) just tried to pass the ball off and try to get someone else to score. We have a very solid unit here.
On Jordan Gross's play:
I’ll leave you with this. His name is Jordan Gross, we call him J Man for a reason. He’s the man back there. We’re very happy to have him back there.
Hills East midfielder Jake Freeman:
On how Hills East played:
I really thought we were the better team this game. We really got to finish our chances from now on because against a team like this not too many chances come around so when you get them you’ve got to take advantage. I thought they’re a hell of a team but we were the better team in the game. We had one of our starting defenders go down and one of the reserve defenders really stepped up and filled that position. I think overall it was a good performance for both teams.
On Jordan Gross's play in goal:
He was huge today. It’s been like that all year. It’s been so easy to play in front of him knowing that we have a keeper back there like that. Hopefully when we get into playoffs he’s going to come up big.
Hills East goalkeeper Jordan Gross:
On the game being a 1-1 tie:
I thought we looked really good. Obviously it’s unfortunate we didn’t come away with the win. They’re a tough team, they come with a lot of intensity but we came back with the same intensity.
On his thoughts at halftime with a 1-0 lead:
I knew they were coming in the second half. Even though they were against the wind in the second half I knew they were going to come harder. We shut down a few of their guys in the first half but I don’t think they were going to let us do that again. I know they have a good coach; they have a lot of good players so they were going to make some kind of change that would lead to more pressure in the second half.
On whether today was the most challenged he had been this season:
This was a pretty busy game for me. Our defense was really good. Our center back is hurt; we had a really good center back come in. A couple of guys were hurt during the game. Our defense did really well and I was really proud of the guys.
West Islip coach Ed Pieron:
On the game being a 1-1 tie:
Two teams battling for first place. Two teams that matchup very, very well. Play similar styles, like to possess the ball. In the end, just two teams that were super tired. Whoever could last longer was going to score a goal. It probably ended the way it should have today.
On being down 1-0 at halftime:
We were sitting back too much in the first half. We weren’t getting forward enough using just one forward up there. We needed to get some extra guys up there. It came down to energy up front and in the midfield. Second half, the goal was great there.
On Sean Sepe's goal:
You put him in those spots he finishes well. Bellucci’s run through the midfield and final pass is what really got that going. That’s work in the midfield, he outworked his player in the midfield, created an opportunity to counterattack and made a great pass to finish it.
On containing Jake Freeman:
Everything goes through him. We practice against a player like that every day so we’re kind of used to it. He was very dangerous today. He definitely got more looks than I wanted him to get. He just happened not to finish any today. You try to contain him there’s not much more you can do other than that.
On Sean McAllister's play in goal:
He’s been playing well all year, their goalie played well all year. You’ve got to make every save. You don’t know when that save is going to be the key save, you don’t know.
West Islip forward Sean Sepe:
On the game being a tie:
It is frustrating because we worked so hard. It’s a well-deserved tie and we’re happy with it. We’d rather tie than a loss so we’re happy.
On his wrist, which he fell on twice during the game:
It’s a little sore because I fell funny on it. It should be good by the next game.
West Islip goalkeeper Sean McAllister (pictured above):
On his feelings of finishing in a tie:
Both teams played really well. We all fought really hard. Two great teams in the league. I’m not disappointed with a tie. We definitely played well.
On what he was thinking at halftime trailing 1-0:
Our biggest thing is we can’t give up another goal and we’ve got to score one. We need opportunities on the offensive half. Bellucci came up big when he saw Sepe coming down the half field.
On whether the opposing goalie's play makes him more competitive:
It definitely amps me up more because you see him playing well. It makes me want to go out and play better.