Bryce Cherry remembers when he and his Amityville boys soccer teammates were gashed in a five-goal road loss against Sayville back in September.
“I remember saying afterward, ‘If we get this figured out, we can win an LIC [Long Island Class A championship],” he said.
Amityville is almost there thanks to an incredible performance by the senior forward.
Cherry scored four goals and junior Alan Funez added a goal and an assist as No. 2 Amityville won in convincing fashion, 6-0, against No. 12 Sayville in a Suffolk Class A boys soccer final at Longwood on Thursday.
Amityville (16-1-1) faces Garden City (16-1-1) at noon Sunday at Longwood for the Long Island Class A championship. Amityville won its fourth Suffolk A title since 2015 and first since 2018.
“It’s the best feeling scoring a goal,” said Cherry, who leads Amityville and Long Island Class A teams with 21 goals. “It gives me confidence to help my team.”
Still, Sayville (11-8-1) had two chances in the first half, but could not find the equalizer. Then, the Golden Flashes’ Luca Berlingieri appeared to be pulled down in the box, but no whistle nor card came.
Instead, Funez — who put in an outstanding effort throughout the game with numerous long runs — burst down the left sideline and went far post to give Amityville a 2-0 lead in the 42nd minute. That was the first of five goals in a span of 17 minutes. Funez set up Stanley Louis in the 54th minute.
The 6-3 Cherry, who transferred from St. John the Baptist two years ago, took care of the rest.
“It took him a while to get used to our playing style,” said Amityville coach Mike Abbondondolo, whose team is now 23-4 in the playoffs the last seven seasons. “But we’re glad he put it all together on such a big stage.”
Sayville gave Amityville its only loss of the season, 5-0, on Sept. 25, but Amityville evened the score with a 5-1 home win on Oct. 18.
Thursday’s victory had added significance for 10th-year coach Abbondondolo, who became the all-time wins leader in Amityville program history. He is now 136-38-9. Ralph Forman III had 135 wins from 1956-1974.
Abbondondolo was quick to highlight his staff, which includes his father Michael Sr. “Papa”, Chris Gannon, and Greg McCoy. “It’s not just me,” he said. “It’s a collective effort.”
The 33-year-old was more focused on his team than any personal achievements.
“I hadn’t really thought about that [wins record],” Abbondondolo said with a smile. “I’m just so proud of the kids and how hard they’ve worked. It’s all about the program.”