West’s Hat Trick Leads Southampton

Brandon Solano-Meneses leaps over an opponent as he races for the ball. Independent/Gordon M. Grant
Parker West shoots one of his two second-half goals. Independent/Gordon M. Grant

Parker West isn’t the leading scorer in Suffolk County by coincidence.

The senior forward finished a 4-0 win over Greenport September 28 with a hat trick to bring his total to 16 goals so far this season, and help his team remain undefeated in League VII.

“Being dominant this season, it feels really good to show up with another big result,” said West, who also ranks third in the county in points (21) with five assists following Saturday’s win. “I felt great, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”

The victory brings the Mariners to a commanding 9-0 record at a little over the halfway point of the season, tying in wins the number of league losses Southampton had last year (3-9). With 15 seniors on the roster, many of whom played against the Class A schools the squad was up against in 2018 — beating Shoreham-Wading River 4-1 and taking a beating to a tough St. Anthony’s team 6-0 — they’re looking to show League VII what they’ve learned.

“They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder,” Southampton head coach Dave Riley said. “This is a lot of hard work for many years. We set ourselves up so these guys can get what’s owed to them.”

Joey Avallone reaches for the ball. Independent/Gordon M. Grant

Senior defender Benjamin Luss knocked in a Joey Avallone corner kick to put Southampton on the board four minutes in, and at 24:30, West connected on an Avallone corner kick to put Southampton up 2-0, a score that held up by halftime. Senior midfielder Diego Trujillo (one assist) got a breakaway attempt minutes after the first goal, but his shot was saved by Greenport’s (3-6) Felipe Solis (six saves). He had multiple chances, many of which resulted in unlucky taps, or tips by the Porters’ defense.

“We don’t like to put it all on one person’s back,” West said. “That’s predictable over time. It’s always nice to have options and support.”

Avallone, with six goals and a Suffolk County second-beat 13 assists, ranks fourth under West in points (19). Trujillo, with eight goals and nine assists, ties for the No. 6 spot with 17.

But the defense has also done its fair share of record-holding. The Mariners have let up just one goal this season, meaning eight of the nine wins were shutouts, and the only game an opponent scored in was still in a 6-1 wallop of Port Jefferson September 10. The backline is strong, with Luss and seniors James Malone and Brandon Solano-Meneses.

“Many are three and four-year varsity players, and we’ve work hard on developing, making sure we’re all speaking the same language,” Riley said. “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”

Brandon Solano-Meneses leaps over an opponent as he races for the ball. Independent/Gordon M. Grant

Senior Moises Molina made four saves (14 this season) and junior Ashton Triffitt two stops (17) in the win.

“It’s been a team effort, even using two goalies,” Riley said. “We know injuries can come, so we make sure we get all the guys off the bench and get some playing time. We’ve gone with a couple clichés this year, but ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ is big. Everyone’s a part of it.”

Even though West was the one capitalizing, nearly every player had his chance with shots that went just wide, just over the goal, or off a post.

“We’ve come together as a team, grown bigger and better,” West said. “It’s all about chemistry. We grew up our whole lives together, we’ve all remained friends, so we’re that much tighter a unit.”

The forward said he also likes how his team plays with confidence, and continues to battle to win nearly every ball regardless of the score. Opponents see it, too.

“That’s a heck of a team they’ve got there,” Greenport’s first-year head coach Greg Dlhopolsky said.

Riley felt similarly about the Porters.

“Greenport’s got a lot of heart,” he said.

The victory is on the heels of a 3-0 blanking of Babylon September 24 that clinched a postseason berth for Southampton, but that doesn’t mean the Mariners are slowing down. It’s the first time Southampton earned a spot as early as it could since the team’s undefeated 2015 season.

“We’re taking nothing for granted,” Riley said. “There’s something special, something big going on with them.”

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