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Commack Boys Soccer Roars Past Huntington, 2-1

Cougars earn first-round playoff win by possessing ball and pressing the attack against Huntington.

They're growing up fast in . A sophomore and junior with one goal between them during the regular season came off the bench on Tuesday to provide all the offense for the Cougars boys soccer team.

Commack roared past Huntington, 2-1, in the first round of the Suffolk Class AA playoffs, and sophomore Jake Foley and junior midfielder Matt Tamburello each scored crucial first-half goals for the difference.

Trailing 1-0 early, Commack first-year coach Pat Friel pulled Foley and Tamburello off the bench and each paid diviends with big goals. Foley scored in the 13th minute.

"[Foley] put a goal in the back of the net and our team settled down," Friel said.

Tamburello struck 3 minutes later to put Commack in front for good. Junior Jake Amereno made six saves in goal for the Cougars. No. 15 Huntington (9-8), which won its final four games just to qualify for the playoffs, couldn't answer.

"They're a good team," Foley said. "We just had to keep our composure."

No. 2 Commack (15-1-1) hosts No. 10 Northport in a quarterfinal Friday at 2:30 p.m. The Tigers needed overtime to beat host Newfield, 3-2.

Hero: Sophomore Jake Foley picked a heck of a moment to score his first varsity goal. After watching Huntington raced to a 1-0 lead from the bench, Foley entered the game and promptly scored the equalizer with 27:38 left in the first half. His high rising blast to the left corner of the net from 15 yards out came off a throw in.

"He put a goal in the back of the net and our team settled down," Friel said.

For his part, Foley said instinct took over. "I just took a crank at it," Foley said. "I knew there were people in the box, so if the goalie fumbled it someone might get it. So I took the shot."

Turning Point: Junior forward and co-captain Jack Miller fed Foley on the first goal and earned the ultimate assist on the second with his sliding cross from the extreme right corner, just outside the box.

The ball sailed across the mouth of the goal and found the eager foot of junior midfielder Matt Tamburello camping next to the left post. Tamburello redirected the ball into the net for a 2-1 Commack edge with 24 minutes left in the opening half.

"I've been in a drought," Tamburello said. "Hopefully this sparks me in the playoffs."

Quotable: "The first couple of rounds in the playoffs are dangerous,'' Friel said. "You have a team going 110 percent against you. It was important to get a few goals in. We could have had seven or eight. But two got in and we settled down and let our skill set take over."

Bottom Line: Commack played like the No. 2 seed, controlling the tempo and possessing the ball. The Cougars had one miscue on defense and Huntington made them pay. But the reality was that Commack dominated. And to get a pair of goals from players who entered the day with one goal on the season between them? That's priceless. 

Key Stat: The Cougars pelted the Huntington goal. For every one of the 16 saves Blue Devils keeper E.J. Connell recorded, Commack fired just as many wide or high of the net.

Who's Next: Suffolk Class AA quarterfinal Northport @ Commack, Friday, 2:30 p.m.

Boys Soccer: Suffolk Class AA First Round 

Teams..................1.....2 -- F

Huntington..........1.....0 -- 1

Commack............2.....0 -- 2

Goals -- H: Velasquez; C: Foley, Tamburello. Saves -- H: Connell 16; C:Amereno 6.

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