LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — It all came down to a penalty kick, and what a PK it was. With 5:03 remaining on the game clock, Sullivan West’s ace penalty driller Luis Leon blasted a shot past …
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — It all came down to a penalty kick, and what a PK it was. With 5:03 remaining on the game clock, Sullivan West’s ace penalty driller Luis Leon blasted a shot past the opposing goalie to win the match for the home team on senior recognition night, 1-0.
The Sullivan West Bulldogs (5-5) hosted the visiting Lions of Chapel Field (2-5) in a boys’ varsity soccer game, during an extremely hard-fought match that went down to the wire. Both squads refused to give up an inch until that fateful PK sealed the deal at the very end.
The game was officiated by refs James Post, who has been calling the shots since 2006, and Amber Welton, who served as the guru of booters for about 20 years.
After a bit of lighthearted banter as to who was going to be the ‘official’ media spokesperson to explain the play that led up to the penalty kick, Post was elected.
“It was a trip in the backfield by Chapel Field defender #20 on Sullivan West’s #10. He had possession of the ball, and #20 came toward him and tackled him in the box,” said Post, adding, “ had some beautiful solid tackles on the defensive side, but it wound up in the end as a mistimed tackle on the center forward for Sullivan West.”
Leon, a 16-year-old senior on the Bulldogs’ soccer squad, has been playing soccer since the age of seven or eight and has been the home team’s go-to PK specialist since transferring from Liberty High.
On Friday night, October 11, under the lights, his efforts wearing jersey #11 were spurred on by his folks holding up signs of encouragement in the upper tier of the bleachers.
Leon’s take on the game winning PK? “It was amazing… The team trusted me to do the best I can, and I did,” he said.
A few basic stats: shots (SW 19, CF 17), keeper saves (SW 13, CF 14), corner kicks (SW 4, CF 2).
Prior to the start of the game, Sullivan West’s eight senior booters were called out to the center of the playing field to present yellow roses to their loved ones in honor of senior recognition night and their final match on their home field for the season.
Phil Bergen (#15) was joined by his mother Kimberly and brother Nick.
Nick Dworetsky (#20) was accompanied by his parents Amy and Andrew, along with his brother John.
Roan Gillingham was with his folks Amy and Wess.
Luis Leon was joined by his parents Gabreil Guzman and Yosmar Garzon.
Efrain Martinez was accompanied by his folks Tina and Efrain.
John Muzuruk teamed up with his parents Kerri and Doug.
Nicolas Ramirez presented flowers to his parents Maribel Guzman and Ernesto Ramirez.
Charley Riedel hugged his mom Sandra in the midfield.
Brad McDuffie, coach of the Lions was a man of few words as he summed up the match. “I thought it was a well-fought game, overall both teams played very hard,” he said.
For Sullivan West’s helmsman Kai Murray, and in his third year as coach, 2019 will be Murray’s first trip to sectionals, aided in large part by the Bulldogs twice blanking the Bears of Tri-Valley (11-0 and 10-0) in previous games, and late last month beating the Lions 4-1.
“It was a tough one, it was a close game,” he said, adding of the winning PK, “Luis is my penalty shooter, and he put it away.”