The best offense is an attacking defense.
At least that was the case for the Mattituck High School boys soccer team on Thursday when not one, not two, but all three of its goals came from central defenders in a 3-0 defeat of visiting Babylon. Two of those goals came off the boot of freshman Bryce Grathwohl, who enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his two-month-old varsity career.
Tim Schmidt, a senior, notched the other goal for the Tuckers (8-1, 5-1 in Suffolk County League VII), who had taken a 3-2 overtime win against Babylon (3-6, 3-4) earlier in the season.
They were the third goals of the season for both defenders, who scored on the only shots they took in the game.
Grathwohl was in the right place at the right time for the first goal at 38 minutes 50 seconds. A shot from the right side by teammate Axel Rodriguez-Canal was blocked by a defender. The ball ricocheted Grathwohl’s way and he swiped in the rebound with his left foot.
Rodriguez-Canal also played a role in the second goal, taking a shot that was swatted away by goalkeeper Owen McCaffrey. Schmidt was in place, however, to tuck the ball into the unguarded net with 41.2 seconds left in the first half.
Grathwohl sealed the result at 69:29. Adriel Garcia drove a long, high free kick that Grathwohl found with a free header, leaving goalkeeper Alex Turri, who had replaced McCaffrey at halftime, with no chance.
Those three shots were the only shots the Tuckers put on goal.
Mattituck’s stylish center midfielder, Carlos Campos, nearly turned in the goal of the game in the second half, racing behind the Babylon defense and lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper before the Panthers knocked the ball out of danger. Campos, a sophomore from El Salvador, had 37 touches and connected on 16 of 28 passes.
Mattituck’s freshman goalkeeper, James Jacobs, playing behind a starting back line of Justin Lake, Dylan Wilsberg, Grathwohl and Schmidt, made five saves for his third shutout of the season. The best of them was a quick reflex stop to deny Hunter Casey with 1:54 left to play.
Babylon’s coach, Dennis McGovern, who was clearly unhappy with the officiating over the course of the match, spoke to one of the referees after the game and was shown a red card.
Photo: Mattituck’s Dan Fedun, left, and Babylon’s Michael Herbst battling for the ball during Thursday’s game. (Credit: Garret Meade)