Steven Nworjih scored a second-half hat trick to propel Ward Melville to a 3-0 victory over Smithtown West in boy’s non-league soccer action Wednesday afternoon in Setauket.
Although these two teams won’t meet again during the regular season, they are frequent playoff opponents according to the coaches. West defeated Ward Melville 1-0 in the Suffolk AA quarterfinals last season.
“I wasn’t thrilled with the way we started or with the way we played overall,” Ward Melville head coach Jon Stecker said. “Our intensity was a little down – it’s an intense group of kids but overall our intensity was down a little bit. I’m hoping to attribute that to it just being the first game.”
West head coach Tom Lips had the same issues with his team, but his concerns run deeper than just this contest.
“They have a good team and I won’t take anything away from them,” Lips said. “They deserved to win today. We need to work on a little emotion and a little more positioning which we really haven’t had time to do.”
West is replacing seven starters and playing without its leading scorer from 2010, Eddie Viscount. The senior captain and four-year starter suffered a tear in his MCL and will miss a significant amount of time according to Lips.
Neither teams had many chances in the first half. West’s Ryan Nembach fired a shot off the crossbar from 30-yards out but that was the closest either team would come to scoring.
Six minutes in to the second half it was Nworjih who finally broke through for Ward Melville. Using his speed he ran through the West defense and chipped the ball past the goalkeeper to put his team up 1-0.
Ward Melville kept the pressure on for the majority of the second half. With eight minutes remaining Christian Mazzone fired a cross through the box that West goalkeeper Brian Dugan failed to handle cleanly. Nworjih was in the right spot and was able to put the miscue into the back of the goal.
Two minutes later Nworjih broke through again, finishing off the hat trick and putting the finishing touches on West.
“The outcome, 3-0, I can’t complain about that,” Stecker said. “Unfortunately at this level it’s how you get there, it’s really not the outcome. We have a lot of work to do. Beating Smithtown West – Smithtown West is a top team so we can’t take that away from the kids. We didn’t stop; we kept playing and got the result we wanted.”