MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- It would have been a harmless goal if it went in. Hicksville had a three-goal lead in the final minutes, but Hicksville defender Tom Geneva didn't care. He likes seeing the zero next to his opponent on the scoreboard.
Geneva kicked out a ball that was going into the net to preserve a shutout for Hicksville in a 3-0 win over Shenendehowa Saturday in a state Class AA boys soccer state semifinal at Middletown High School. Jimmy Myers, Peter DiLorenzo, and Ralph Hoyos scored for the Comets. Brian McPartland made six saves for the shutout.
Hicksville (17-1-2) will play Webster Schroeder (20-1-1) at 12:30 p.m. Sunday for the championship at Middletown High School. The Comets last won a state championship in 1979.
"The defense has been solid all year," Geneva said. "You don't want to see any goals on the board for them. I wanted to keep the shutout."
The Comets have allowed three goals in five postseason matches and they all came in the Nassau Class AA finals against Great Neck South.
"Everybody plays defense," Geneva said. "Once we lose the ball, everyone gets back."
Hicksville coach Scott Starkey said he noticed someone lurking around practice this week with green colors, which are the Shenendehowa colors. If the lurker was trying to figure out what players to focus on and take out, he came away perplexed.
The Comets are one of the tallest teams around, they have speed, an excellent defense and McPartland, the goalkeeper, is a three-year starter. Nine different players have scored for the Comets in the postseason.
"We thought we had some guy sneaking around in practice this week," Starkey said. "He had a green shirt. He was there a lot. We think we saw him up here. We don't even know where it's going to come from. It's such a balanced team."
Hicksville is dangerous in the box with all their height and it paid dividends on the first goal when Myers scored with 11:49 left in the first half.
"The ball just came across," Myers said. "I jumped up, got it and hit it into the net. The height really helps us in the air."
DiLorenzo scored the second goal off a blast from about 20 yards with 28:18 left. It was the third consecutive game he scored and it has earned him the nickname "Hollywood" among teammates. Hoyos added the final goal off a cross from Kyle Poetzsch with 2:21 remaining.
After the Comets went to get cheered on by their fans in the stands at the end of the game, Hicksville senior Lucas Munoz was greeted with a rendition of the Happy Birthday song. But the celebration for his birthday was postponed. A group dinner was planned at 6 p.m., but after that was sleep.
"We have to hold it off," Geneva said. "We have to focus on [Sunday]."