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Leo Musacchia’s skillful goal lifts Hills West to Suffolk League IV victory

Leo Musacchia and a Half Hollow Hills West

Leo Musacchia and a Half Hollow Hills West teammate greet after Musacchia scored the first goal of the game in 15th minute against Eastport-South Manor in Suffolk IV in Dix Hills on Sept. 26, 2017. Musacchia has five goals in his late four games. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Leo Musacchia admits that he is lousy at playing video games.

Luckily for the Half Hollow Hills West boys soccer team, he can make video-type moves on the soccer field.

The senior midfielder/forward scored an amazing goal in the 15th minute to give the Colts an early one-goal lead in a hard-fought 2-0 home win against Eastport-South Manor Tuesday in a Suffolk IV match.

“I saw the cross [from Marcus Fraser] coming in and I felt the defender on my back,” said Musacchia, who has five goals in his last four games. “So I just shielded [the ball] and flicked it over his head, and then it went over another [defender’s] head. I saw the goalie come out and I just put it over him.”

Junior midfielder Casey Brugna is amazed at what Musacchia can do with a soccer ball.

“It looks like he’s playing [the] FIFA [video game],” Brugna said.

“I’m not that good,” Musacchia said with a laugh.

What’s not funny for Hills West’s opponents is when the Colts score first. Since Sept. 21, 2008, Hills West is an astounding 115-4-6 in games when it scores the game’s first goal, according to records kept by Colts coach Doug Gannon.

“Coach tells us all the time, when we score first how good we are,” Brugna said. “We play better and our defense locks it down. It usually works out in the end.”

Things worked out well for the Colts in the end of the first half. Hills West was awarded a corner kick — its eighth of the opening 40 minutes — with about 15 seconds remaining.

Gannon decided to bring all of his defenders up for the corner. It proved to be a great decision. Luke Bloom, who sprinted about 60 yards from his defender position, kept the corner in play near the far post. Brugna was the lucky recipient and buried the ball into the top corner — his first goal of the season — with two seconds left to give Hills West (5-1-1) a two-goal halftime lead.

“That was tremendous,” Gannon said. “It really deflated Eastport. I saw we had about 15 seconds left, and I said, ‘Let’s get everyone up and see what happens.’ We got lucky and put one in at the buzzer and it gave us a boost at halftime.”

Eastport-South Manor (4-3) just missed a great chance midway through the second half to cut the lead in half. But the Sharks could not solve the Colts’ backline and keeper Ben Nacht, who recorded three saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Meanwhile, Will Hayes (five saves) and Jake Thorley totaled nine saves for Eastport-South Manor.

Hills West, which trails first-place North Babylon by just one point, now focuses on the second half of its season which begins Thursday at home against Deer Park.

“We can play with anyone,” Brugna said. “Hopefully, we go undefeated the rest of the way and keep playing the way we are now.”

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