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Mario Arreola helps Mattituck defeat Rye Neck

Mattituck's Mario Arreola reacts after scoring a goal

Mattituck's Mario Arreola reacts after scoring a goal that put his team ahead, 3-1, in the second half of the Class B Southeast Regional soccer championship on Nov. 8, 2014. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Mario Arreola waved his hand toward the Mattituck boys soccer team's bench.

It was about five minutes into Saturday's game. Arreola was signaling for a replacement after colliding with another player. He wanted a breather.

Request denied.

"I told him, 'No, you're going to play through it,' " Mattituck coach Mat Litchult said.

Arreola's mind-set and level of play changed after that.

He assisted on the first goal and added a goal of his own as Mattituck defeated Rye Neck, 3-1, in a Class B regional final at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.

Mattituck (16-2) will play Skaneateles (17-2-1) in a state semifinal at 9:15 a.m. Saturday at Middletown High School.

Arreola described his own play in Mattituck's last few games as poor.

Litchult attributed that to the senior forward spending too much time worrying about a recent shoulder injury instead of just playing.

"I don't know what happened in the last couple of games with me," Arreola said.

"I was really down, though. With a couple of games without a goal, my focus was to score today. I wanted to find a way to get it done."

Five minutes after he was told to stay on the field, Arreola produced the play of the game.

He launched the ball from the left corner of the field into the box, and the ball landed on Kaan Ilgin's left foot.

Ilgin one-timed it for the game's first goal.

"Mario just broke the defense down and gave Kaan a great ball," Litchult said. "It was a dream goal."

Mario Andreali tied it for Rye Neck from close range with eight minutes left in the first half. It was Rye Neck's first shot of the game.

Two minutes later, Mattituck's Paul Hayes headed in a goal off Kevin Williams' free kick.

Arreola sealed it with a blast from 20 yards with 11:30 left.

"Mario is one of our best players," Ilgin said. "When he's on, no one can stop him."

Arreola also made a critical clear while playing defense late in the second half.

"He was our guy today," Litchult said. "He did a little bit of everything and was just excellent for us."

With a smile, Arreola said he was glad he stayed on the field.

"I wanted to have a good game badly today," he said.

"I wanted to score a goal, I wanted to do well and I wanted to help my team get further this season."

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