Brian Duarte made the most of his final varsity soccer match on Wednesday evening.
The Deer Park midfielder scored two goals to lead Suffolk to a 3-2 win over Nassau in the first game of the Nassau vs. Suffolk Exceptional Senior Soccer Classic Wednesday at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
“It’s crazy to think because we all played against each other for years as rivals,” said Duarte, who scored to tie it at 1 in the ninth minute and again with 17:56 left in the match to extend Suffolk’s lead to 3-1. “But we came together and won. And it was really fun. I’m really grateful for this opportunity and I couldn’t do this without my team and coaches back at Deer Park.”
Westbury’s Diego Turcios opened the scoring for Nassau about six minutes into the match, before Jasson-Garay Portillo (Huntington) found Duarte for the equalizer.
“I saw Jasson with the ball and there was nobody else up top, so I made the run and he saw me,” Duarte said.
Suffolk went ahead in the 51st minute after Nickolas Dittmer of Eastport-South Manor stormed down the left flank and crossed to Ward Melville’s Brennan Foster, whose strong finish broke the tie.
“Sebastian Sosa (Floyd) played a ball out to Dittmer, and I knew he would cross it in, so I went to about the penalty spot, it came right to me and I put it in,” Foster said. “All these players are so good out here and it’s a lot of fun when you get to play with the players you’ve been playing against all year.”
Two minutes later, Garay-Portillo and Duarte connected again to double the Suffolk lead.
Nassau answered back 31 seconds later when Dakota Lambrou scored off an assist from his Massapequa teammate Stephen Kirtyan, but could not find the tying goal.
“The best part was that I don’t think there was any tension on the field,” Foster said. “I think everyone was just out there having a good time and it was a fun game.”
“There were also some mixed emotions tonight,” Duarte said of his final varsity match. “I was really exciting but it’s also sad that it’s all ending.”
Nassau takes Game 2. In an end-to-end second game, Nassau relinquished a four-goal halftime lead, but still emerged with a 6-4 win.
Garden City's Owen Heaney scored with about two minutes left to break a tie at 4 before Mauricio Puerto-Quintanilla put the match away in the 89th minute.
North Babylon's Erick Radtke bent in a ball directly off a corner kick in the 80th minute to tie the score at 4.
In the first half, Niko Vidal (Glen Cove) and Jose Guera (Mineola) scored within the first 17 minutes of the match, before Lawrence playmaker Puerto-Quintanilla made it 3-0 10 minutes later.
Puerto-Quintanilla turned provider with 10:05 left in the first half, when he found his Lawrence teammate Danny Reyes, who scored from roughly 30 yards.
Diego Trujillo (Southampton) kicked off Suffolk’s comeback attempt in the 55th minute off an assist from Brentwood’s Remberto Ramirez, before providing the assist for North Babylon’s Sean Towey minutes later.
Michael Principe cut the deficit to 4-3 when he scored off a pass from his Commack teammate Kyle Gehnrich in the 60th minute.