Brentwood claims LI 'AA' championship
Looking to avenge last year's loss in the Long Island championship, the Brentwood boys soccer team came out with a point to prove Wednesday at Dowling. As the No. 2 team in the country, the Indians are looking to reclaim the state championship they won in 2010.
They're on their way. Brentwood (21-0) won its second Long Island Class AA championship in three years and seventh since 2003 with a 1-0 win over Syosset. Jonathan Interiano scored the game-winner with 13:34 left in the first half off a cross from Eric Molina.
"It was a very hard-fought game," said Brentwood coach Ron Eden, who is in his 33rd year at the helm. "For the kids to come out and perform the way they did today is just amazing."
Raul Bonilla made four saves for his 17th shutout of the year.
"It feels amazing," Bonilla said. "We wanted revenge after last year's loss [to Hicksville] and we got it with this victory."
The game was very back and forth early on as the Braves (15-3-1) did a good job defending some early shot opportunities by the Indians. Senior goalie Josh Haberman made eight saves in a great performance in his last high school game.
"We were excited to really show everyone what we're about," Syosset coach Brett Waxer said. "I'm proud of these kids. Unfortunately it wasn't our day."
Brentwood began controlling possession more and that's when Molina found Interiano at the back post for a jumping header into the top corner of the net. The goal sent the large Brentwood contingent into a frenzy.
Bonilla made a great diving save close to the end of the first half to preserve the lead.
"Raul does his job," Eden said. "It's hard to keep your head in the game when you only have to make two or three saves a game. But he makes the saves when he's called on."
Brentwood did a great job controlling possession in the second half, using crisp passing to dictate the flow of the game. Syosset had limited shot opportunities as Brentwood's defense did a great job deflecting the balls out of the box. Senior defenders Jeffrey Medina, Daniel Aguilar and Jelvin Parra each stood out.
"They've been so rock solid all year," Eden said. "To have 17 shutouts throughout the year says a lot about them. But the defense starts at the top with the forwards, so it's a team concept to defend the whole field."
Brentwood will face Webster Schroeder in a state semifinal 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Middletown High School. Webster Schroeder lost, 1-0, to Hicksville in the state final last year.
But the Indians might be without star sophomore forward Ever Torres, who hyperextended his ankle early in the second half and did not return.
The Indians have played five games in six days and will have little rest before they travel Friday. Still, they are excited about the opportunity to win another state title.
"We all want this really bad," Interiano said. "We're thankful for the opportunity and we're gonna try our best."