Matt Origoni, Jessi Torres and their teammates made two things move quite a bit Wednesday: a soccer ball and a pen.
See, the Islip boys soccer team tracks every pass it makes, with a bench player keeping tally by marking an "x" on a chart at every point a pass is completed. And there was a lot of ball (and pen) movement during Islip's 1-0 win over Comsewogue in the League V opener for both teams.
"When we're around 100 passes, we're in the game and we're going to win,'' Islip coach Mike Argenziano said. "When we're down at 60, 70, the game isn't going our way. That's the way it's been for 20 years.''
The Buccaneers' total Wednesday, according to their records: 125 passes.
"We moved the ball really well,'' said Connor Sharpe, who assisted on the winning goal. "We threw the whole kitchen sink at them.''
Connor Powers won the ball just inside midfield and carried it toward the box. With Sharpe making a run to the corner, Powers played the ball toward the flag through two defenders. Sharpe then sent a cross into the box, where a charging Junger Herazo fired the ball into the net with 13:19 left in the first half.
"Our midfield, our defense, everyone contributed on that goal,'' Herazo said. "We make as many passes as we can. I just did what any other forward would have done in that situation and finished the ball.''
And with that, they passed a test, defeating last season's county runner-up.
The Islip defense, anchored by Powers and sweeper Vinny Capolongo, didn't allow Comsewogue many quality looks. They quickly advanced the ball to midfield where Origoni and Torres helped get it to the feet of the forwards up top. The passes were crisp and the opportunities were there.
"We have the players to move the ball around,'' Powers said. "Teams don't expect it. They're not used to the fast ball movement. So we can exploit that.''
Although they exploited it, they struggled to finish. Steven Towler made 11 saves, some rather acrobatic, to keep the Warriors in the game. But playing without their top goal-scorer, Jimmy Contino, because of injury, Comsewogue struggled to generate any offense. Islip keeper Marcus Peterkin made five stops, including a pretty kick save on a strike from 10 yards late in the first half.
With the way the Buccaneers were moving the ball around their new turf field, their lead never was in serious jeopardy late in the game.
"We played together and communicated,'' Origoni said. "That's why we won. And that's why we had so many passes.''