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Commack to Semis with Win Over Sachem East

Cougars finally beat East this season with playoff victory.

Sachem East produced chance after chance in the second half but were unable to find a second equalizer as they were eliminated from the Class AA playoffs on Friday afternoon at home, losing to Commack, 2-1.

Despite having a number of chances, Sachem was unable to solve Cougars goalkeeper Jake Amereno a second time, who made five of his 15 saves in the waning minutes of regulation.

"You’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities," said Flaming Arrows head coach Matt Stallone. "We were two weeks ago, but we just didn’t finish today. Commack did. I thought we had more opportunities but it’s about who finishes."

Amereno, an all-County selection last season, stood tall in the second half despite heavy pressure from Sachem's forwards.

"We think he’s the best on Long Island," said Commack head coach David Viegas. "When it goes into his hands, we don’t waver. We know that he’s good and we’ll take his saves every time."

Lee Manchio's strike from the left corner of the penalty area eluded Sachem goalkeeper Will Silber and gave Commack their second lead of the afternoon with 12:01 to play in the game.

The junior forward found space and ripped a shot perfectly from a sharp angle that found room just inside the far post.

"He’s dangerous going forward," Viegas said of Manchio. "This is his first time with us in the playoffs. He’s got a cannon of a shot. Last game he shot one that was blocked so he said he was going to make one today and he did."

"We couldn’t clear the ball," Stallone said of his defense. "We had trouble with it the whole game today. That team is going to make you pay for mistakes like that, especially in a playoff game."

After playing a scoreless first half dominated by Sachem's missed opportunities, Manchio found Chris Bowden in the box who beat Silber from six yards out at to open the scoring at 5:31.

"We had three or four opportunities in the first half that we had to take advantage of," said Stallone. "You’ve got to finish. We should’ve came out of the half up 2-0."

Off the ensuing re-start, Sachem's forwards stormed down the field. Ansel Ueshiro took a feed from Lourenso Santos and tied the game at one just 14 seconds later. However, it was their inability to pull even that sealed their fate.

"We had four or five solid chances," said Stallone. "Their goalie made some fantastic saves. He’s one of the best keepers around, definitely on Long Island. You give credit to Commack, coming in to a tough environment against a really good team and they get the W."

Commack advances to play Brentwood on Monday at 2 p.m.

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