The Huntington varsity boys’ soccer team has reaped a series of awards in the afterglow following the program’s first outright league championship in 28 years.
The Blue Devils compiled an overall record of 12-3-2. “We exceeded all expectations,” head coach John Pagano said. “We were unranked in the pre-season and went on to win the Suffolk League III title with a 9-1-2 record.”
The varsity team’s head coach since 2001, Pagano has moved past Huntington’s founding boys’ soccer coach, Wade Lange on the all-time Blue Devils’ win list. In 17 seasons the current sideline mentor owns a record of 142-128-27. Lange went 130-55-16 during the 13 seasons that stretched from 1961-1973.
George Hiscox, who took over from Lange and coached 23 years through the 1996 season is atop the program’s all-time wins list with a mark of 204-143-42. Paul Amato (1997-2000) was sandwiched between Hiscox and Pagano, compiling a 24-32-6 record over four seasons.
The Blue Devils were honored during last week’s Suffolk Boys’ Soccer Coaches Assn. awards banquet at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook. Pagano walked away with his third League Coach of the Year Award in the past four years for putting together another great team.
Huntington’s exceptional goalkeeper Nat Amato was named All-County for the second consecutive season. John Tucker (defense), Alex Rivera (midfield) and Eren Aydin (midfield) all captured All-Conference honors. Mike Abbondandelo (defense) and Freddy Amador (forward) both garnered All-League recognition.
Aidan Forbes played a key role on defense for the Blue Devils and he also shined in the classroom. The teenager was named to the Academic All-County team for being the true definition of a scholar-athlete.
A three-year starter, Pagano called Amato “the backbone of the team.” The teenager recorded six shutouts. The coach labeled Tucker a “fierce competitor” and complimented Aydin as a “creative midfielder.”
Aydin led the Blue Devils offensively with six goals and four assists. Sophomore Freddie Amato tallied a team high seven assists.
Where does Huntington go from here? Well, Pagano and trusted assistant coach Jason Suarez believe the future looks bright, both with the team’s current players and dozens of others that are in the pipeline throughout the district.
The team is graduating six seniors as Nat Amato, Amador, Abbondandelo, Forbes, Hector Martinez and Joshua Yanuck will be saying goodbye in June. Another 21 players will be returning to the varsity field for the Blue Devils.
“The program is poised to make a serious run at the county title next year,” Pagano said. “We will have eight returning starters.”
Tucker, Rivera, Aydin and Freddie Amato will all be coming back along with Tyler Abedin, Christian Bellissimo, Oscar Cordova Parada, Carmine De Ieso, Junior Flores, Cristian Garay Araujo, John Langton, Luke Luckow, Luis Ortiz Colato, Kolby Rappel, Julien Rentsch, Carlos Reyes-Villalta, Manuel Reyes-Villalta, Edwin Rodriquez, Juan Salamanca, Nicholas Thompson and Jose Turcios-Garay.
Pagano is already looking forward to the start of formal practices next August.