You can’t score if you don’t shoot.
That was a lesson the Southold boys soccer team learned in a 2-0 loss to Mattituck last Wednesday.
Proof of that was seen Monday when Southold outshot visiting Smithtown Christian, 25-4, and won handily, 7-2.
“We played great,” said Reik Martocchia, a sophomore center midfielder who scored one of Southold’s goals. “I think it’s a confidence boost that we needed,” he added. “Now we know that we can play like this.”
After the two Suffolk County League V teams exchanged goals for a 2-2 score late in the first half, Southold struck for five unanswered goals. Hector Javiel netted his first three goals of the young season and Wildri Jonnatan Diaz came through with a double.
The offensive outburst may have been the breakthrough the young Southold team needed.
“I think what we showed each other was that we do have the ability to score the goals if we shoot the ball,” coach Andrew Sadowski said. “The last game we did not shoot the ball and our nil loss showed it.”
Sadowski doesn’t want his players to be afraid to shoot when the opportunity presents itself. He doesn’t want them to fear missing the target, which is going to happen sometimes.
“If you don’t take the shot and they take it off your foot, you’ve just given up complete momentum for us and put it against [us],” Sadowski said. “How many times does a team score on counterattacks because you didn’t shoot? So what if you miss?”
The First Settlers (2-1, 2-1) took that message to heart.
Teammates described both Javiel and Diaz as being funny and fun. Smithtown Christian (0-2, 0-2) wasn’t laughing.
Javiel, a sophomore midfielder, scored directly from a corner kick, the ball deflecting into the net off goalkeeper Aydan Smith’s gloves for a 2-1 Southold lead.
With 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the first half, Javiel turned on a ball from Jack Sepenoski and fired a venomous left-footer into the upper corner for a 3-2 edge.
Javiel capped his hat trick in the second half. Evan Maskiell sent a shot off the crossbar and Brendan Kilcommons’ back-post header was finished by Javiel.
“Hector, he always wants to go to goal and score,” said Sepenoski, who connected himself on a heck of a shot just under the crossbar. “I love playing with him because he’s a very strong kid and he’s always doing what you ask him to do.”
Diaz, a senior forward, supplied more firepower with a pair of second-half strikes. He tucked in a rebound after a Louis Palencia shot was saved and completed the scoring with a bullet of a shot.
Southold swung the ball from left to right, with a touch by Fernando Cardenas setting up Martocchia’s left-footer to the low right for a 1-0 ice-breaker 67 seconds into the game.
Both of Smithtown Christian’s goals came on dead-ball situations. Following a Julian Lopez corner kick, Daniel Bedoya cranked in a shot, tying it at 1-1. Daniel Voisich tied it at 2-2 with a high 45-yard free kick that tipped off freshman goalkeeper Travis Sepenoski’s gloves.
Southold graduated 14 seniors from last year’s team, which lost to Pierson in a Suffolk Class C semifinal. Cardenas and Jack Sepenoski, Travis’ older brother, are the only returning starters. Wyatt Carter and Kilcommons were reserve players last year.
“We got a lot of talent,” Jack Sepenoski said. “If we can just put it all together, we can be really good this year and hang with the top teams.”
“When they trust each other, they really move the ball quite well,” said Sadowski, who is in his 28th year as Southold’s coach.
“We’re still working with them to play the ball to feet and not play so many leading passes, but when you got players that can run like Jonnatan — he can run — unfortunately, sometimes we rely on that too much. We’re trying to work with them. As you can tell from our roster, we’re quite young, but there’s a lot there. They’re a really super group of kids. They work. They want to learn. They are learning the concept of taking responsibility for themselves in training and on the pitch.”
And they are learning that good things can happen when shots are taken.