Dennis Mejia did not have the experience of participating in the boys soccer playoffs this season.
But the Oyster Bay senior goalkeeper took advantage of playing in his last high school boys soccer game on Long Island on Wednesday night.
Mejia had seven saves in the first half to keep his Nassau Red team in the game early, and his squad scored twice in the final 10:30 to earn a 3-1 win against Suffolk Blue in the first game of the Nassau vs. Suffolk Exceptional Senior Soccer Classic at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
“It’s great to be able to showcase our talents to college coaches,” said Mejia, who has not decided on a college yet. “This is our opportunity to shine.”
Jose Martinez (Lindenhurst) had his chance to shine in the 13th minute when he converted a feed from Thomas Parson (West Islip) to give Suffolk a 1-0 lead. Suffolk had the better part of play in the first half and outshot Nassau 14-4.
But Mejia and Westbury’s Hector Salinas-Guevara (four saves) kept Nassau in the game. Nassau finally answered in the 37th minute off a quick restart when Jelson Bonilla (Glen Cove) hit the equalizer.
In the closing seconds of the first half, Suffolk reserve goalkeeper Aidan McEnerney (five saves) had to come in the game and attempt to stop a penalty kick. He did to keep the score tied.
It appeared the final result would be a tie (there is no overtime in this All-Star game). However, Nassau finally struck when Corry Brinken (Carey) sent a beautiful cross to J.P. Trabulsi. The Garden City forward did the rest to make it 2-1 with 10:30 remaining. Defender Will Lynch (Island Trees) closed the scoring with 6:01 left in regulation for Nassau.
The goal, and victory, took a little of the sting out of a state Class A semifinal loss for Trabulsi. Garden City lost in the state final four on Saturday.
“This was a great experience,” said Trabulsi, who added that he’s hoping to hear from a college coach about playing at the next level.
He had 10 goals and eight assists for Garden City, which finished the season 13-3-5.
“When I was asked to play,” Trabulsi said, “I thought, ‘Why not?’ ”
Mejia had a similar thought about the game.
“There was an amazing amount of talent on the field,” Mejia said. “To be able to play with those guys was an honor.”