The Rye Neck boys’ soccer team is now three wins away from a New York State championship. They defeated Section 9’s O’Neill 2-0 Tuesday at Arlington High School, which is outside of Poughkeepsie. Their Regional quarterfinal victory advances them to the Regional finals, where Section 11’s Center Moriches (15-3-1) awaits. Center Moriches defeated Cold Spring Harbor in their Regional semifinal 1-0 to win the battle of Long Island. The two winners will meet Saturday at Arlington for a spot in the State semifinals.
After nearly 74 minutes of frustration, Rye Neck forward Adam Gutierrez finally cashed in with 6:20 remaining on an assist from sophomore Ivan Martinez. Martinez delivered a near perfect pass despite some serious congestion around him. Gutierrez banged it in, and the relief washed over.
“It was extremely frustrating,” said the striker, whose scoring opportunities were victimized by the crossbar, O’Neill’s goalie, and his own misfires throughout the contest. “But we ended up getting the win and we feel really good right now.”
Gutierrez added an insurance goal in the 78th minute after Phillipe Adam jammed an O’Neill player at midfield and blasted a pass down the pitch.
“I told the boys persistence and hard work pays off,” said co-head coach Frank Gizzo. “The didn’t give up and kept plugging away — that’s all you can ask for. I’m very proud of all the boys. We continue to gel more and more with each game.”