In a pivotal match on Monday, Orick Briscoe had a single focus: get to the goal.
The sophomore did just that. Three times, to be exact.
Briscoe scored three goals and Erick Radtke added a goal and an assist to lead visiting North Babylon to a 4-0 victory over Smithtown East in a Suffolk III boys soccer match at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
“I just wanted to be calm and collected and not let anyone pressure me,” said Briscoe, who has nine goals this season. “I said to myself, ‘Don’t worry about the opponents. Just get to the goal.’”
His first goal came in the 29th minute on a counter attack, before Radtke doubled the lead from the penalty spot about 10 minutes into the second half. With Smithtown East pushing to get back into the match, North Babylon (9-5-1) hit back on another counter that Briscoe finished to make the score 3-0 with just under 15 minutes left.
Briscoe completed his first varsity hat trick with a penalty kick five minutes later.
“It helps us get ready for the playoffs and gives us more confidence in our team,” Briscoe said.
In addition to its efficient counters spearheaded by Briscoe and Radtke, North Babylon also looked comfortable in possession for long stretches, with Eder Mosquera setting the tone.
Mosquera did not appear on the scoresheet, but played a key role by winning the ball in the midfield and dictating play with his passing.
“We had a lot of possession,” Radtke said. “We had a good mix of possession and playing over the top, and it worked out perfectly for us. And having Eder in the midfield is great. He wins everything and can put the ball wherever he wants.”
The approach helped North Babylon outshoot the Bulls, 14-7 14-7, but Smithtown East goalkeeper Michael Gasparino (10 saves) kept his team in the game until the final 15 minutes.
When Smithtown East (11-4-0) was on the ball, the Bulls were held in check by a strong effort from the North Babylon backline and keeper Dan Maldonado (seven saves).
“There never was a guy that was left open, there was never a guy that pressured the ball and didn’t have cover behind him,” North Babylon coach Mike Cashman said of his defense. “The back four was tremendous today. They were everything we needed them to be.”