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Nico Giammarino shows playmaking skills in Babylon's boys soccer victory over Southampton

Babylon forward Nico Giammarino looks to head the

Babylon forward Nico Giammarino looks to head the ball into the Southampton zone in a Suffolk Division VII boys soccer game on Monday at Babylon. Credit: George A Faella

Most people remember the 2003 movie: "Finding Nemo." Babylon boys soccer coach Dennis McGovern wanted his team to look for the Panthers’ playmaker on Monday and kept yelling: "Find Nico," as in junior Nico Giammarino.

So what occurred when Babylon connected with their talented midfielder? Good things for the Panthers, that’s for sure.

Giammarino celebrated his 16th birthday in style and assisted both of his team’s goals as Babylon earned an impressive 2-0 home win against Southampton on Monday in a key Suffolk League VII contest.

"Nico is technically so good. His soccer IQ is off the charts," McGovern said. "He always plays well in big games."

Giammarino went short off a corner kick to Lucas Montalto, who passed back to Giammarino, who sent a cross to Macallan Ringstad. The 6-3 senior defender headed home the first goal (and his third of the season) in the 21st minute.

Later, Giammarino -- who leads the team with 12 goals and 12 assists -- sent a beautiful pass to freshman Ciaran Stein, who right-footed a gorgeous one-timer into the net for his fourth goal of the season in the 46th minute.

Goalkeeper Troy Schipf made eight saves for the Suffolk defending Class B champs, but none better than his stop with a punch over the crossbar with 2:16 remaining to secure his 13th shutout of the season.

"We lead [Suffolk] in shutouts," McGovern said, "but I always say, it’s not just a goalkeeper stat, that’s a thing the team achieves."

The Panthers were led on defense by Ringstad, Kye Castelluccio, Jack Dellafranca and Carlos Berrios, whom McGovern called: "An absolute animal for us. He did a great job for us in the back."

Both teams are 14-2 and finish the regular season tied as league co-champs. The Suffolk Class B playoffs start on Oct. 27. The top seed will host No. 4 Center Moriches (9-6-1) and the second seed will host No. 3 Mattituck (12-2-1).

The Suffolk boys soccer coaches’ seeding meeting is Thursday night, and the athletic directors’ meeting is Friday, when playoff brackets will be revealed.

Southampton topped Babylon, 3-0, on Sept. 25. However, Babylon -- which had the best goal differential in Suffolk at plus-68 -- gave the committee something to think about as far as the Class B No. 1 seed.

"We just came into this game wanting to play our hearts out no matter what," Giammarino said. "We knew we had to win."

When Babylon finds Nico, that’s usually what happens.

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