DIX HILLS, New York, November 20
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
As Half Hollow Hills High School West’s boys soccer team overcame a double overtime bout off a Stephen Lauria assist and Jordan Stummer goal against hosting Riverhead on Sept. 18, the team erupted in celebration.
But there was more to the celebration than what immediately met the eye.
A Colts senior captain, Lauria not only assisted a fellow senior captain in Strummer, he assisted his best friend.
“For me, having the pass come from Stephen was great… The celebration couldn’t have been better,” Stummer, 17, said. “It was incredible… The chemistry we have together on the field is just unreal.”
For the best friends, this chemistry is something that’s long been in development.
The boys first met on the soccer field in 2004 as a part of a team assembled under HBC Soccer Club in Huntington. From there, the boys not only grew into elite soccer players, but also great friends.
“We always talked trough middle and high school, we’ve been friends forever… To be captains together in high school, it was awesome,” Lauria, 17, said. “We felt like it was our responsibility to take the team somewhere and have each other’s backs.”
In eighth grade, Lauria said, he and Stummer took a break from playing with each other in club ball as Stummer moved on to a different team; but in high school, the chance to play soccer together once again came about.
As two of the four Colts captains in 2014, Lauria and Stummer helped lead the team to 11 wins and a playoff appearance.
“There were times when one of us wasn’t playing well and needed to get the other one going and we didn’t have a problem coming at each other to do that,” Stummer said. “If we weren’t such close friends it would have been harder.”
Despite the modesty, the boys accounted for a little over 54 percent of the team’s overall point production this season with a combined 19 goals and 21 assists. Both received All-Conference honors.
“They’ve been friends ever since they were growing up. They had fun together and they worked well together on the field,” Colts’ Head Coach Doug Gannon said.
With their high school careers now over and the boys looking ahead to college next fall – Lauria leaning toward Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. and Stummer a Big Ten school like Indiana University or The Ohio State University – the two may never play school soccer together again.
“Having it end was definitely tough… But we definitely enjoyed a great season and that’s all I could really ask for,” Stummer said.
The Lauria-Stummer tandem isn’t completely done, though; today, the boys continue to compete together with the Dix Hills Soccer Club’s boys U17 Elite team.
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, November 20, 2014; A29)