Boys’ Soccer Tops No. 1 Seed on Playoff Run to Semifinal


Boys’ Soccer tri captain Chris Avena

Chelsea Kingston, Sports Editor

For the first time since 2010, the Wantagh Boy’s Soccer team made it to the Nassau County Class A semifinals. After a phenomenal season, with a record of 8-4-0 and finishing 3rd in the conference, the players were shocked that they were seeded 9th in playoffs. Though this was disappointing the boys were determined to prove everyone wrong.

They began by defeating Valley Stream South, 2-1, in the first round of the playoffs on a pair of Liam Ireland goals. Ahead stood Jericho, the No. 1 seed and a team that had won three straight state titles a few years ago. But Wantagh was so determined it took out Jericho, 1-0, in a thrilling quarterfinal game. With 47 seconds left in the game the goalie, Matt Reich, saved a penalty kick to preserve the victory. Nick Cerasi scored the game winner.

“We knew the road to the championship is rarely paved smoothly,” said Coach Liguori. “These guys battled like Warriors and overcame a lot of adversity along the way. They have a lot to be proud of.”

Next up was a semifinal match up vs MacArthur. Wantagh fell behind 2-0 but a Nick Celli goal made it close and the Warriors pressed and forced the Generals keeper to make 9 saves but they couldn’t net the equalizer.

Captains Chris Avena, Ireland and Cerasi were great leaders throughout this playoff run. Ireland was All County for the 2nd year in a row. He led the team with 9 goals and 6 assists. He will play college soccer at McDaniel College in Maryland next year. Avena was All County honorable mention. He anchored the defense and led the team in minutes played. Cerasi was All County, also for the 2nd year in a row. He scored four goals.

The team had a talented group of midfielders. Junior Nick Celli was All Conference with 5 goals and 2 assists. Sophomore Michael Coney was All Conference with 4 goals and 3 assists. Senior Owen Vera Lara, who comes from Peru had 4 assists. Also playing well were senior Tommy Deedy, junior Eddie Draude, junior Harrison Kane and freshman Austin Henglein.

On defense, in addition to Avena, were junior Brendan Harrington (All Conference), senior Charlie Mazzer, and freshman Scott Bindell (All Conference). In net was Reich who had 9 wins and Drew Donaghy. Forwards, in addition to Ireland were senior Andrew Randazzo and Eric Sedig.

“The difference between a talented team on paper and a successful team on the field is simple: Togetherness,”said Coach Zagari.“The camaraderie on this team was evident from day one. It helped carry this team far into the playoffs. This group of guys cared for each other in an incredible way. Their commitment meant a lot to us.”