FIRST SETTLERS 4, PORTERS 2
After managing just one goal and no wins in two regular season games against Greenport, the Southold boys soccer team knew it needed to dial things up a notch against its local rival if it wanted to continue its season beyond the opening round of the playoffs Wednesday.
The transformation first started off the field, where the First Settlers players kept a 12-year team tradition alive by shaving all their heads in solidarity into a mohawk.
Then they took to the field, where they showed just how good a team they can be in a 4-2 road victory in front of a packed crowd of Porters fans.
“We had the adrenaline we knew we needed to play with,” said Southold junior Evan Miller, who scored the First Settlers’ final two goals. “It was great to be able to win like that in front of their whole school. That’s what you want to do in a road playoff game.”
Now the Settlers (9-6-2) are headed to the Suffolk County Class C soccer final, where they’ll square off against No. 1 Port Jefferson. That game will be held at 2:30 p.m. at Diamond in the Pines park in Coram.
Greenport (7-8-2) actually struck first Wednesday, scoring on a 40-yard boot off the right foot of junior midfielder Erick Ramirez nine minutes into the game, but Southold answered back with three unanswered goals to close out the first half.
The First Settlers tied it with 24:07 remaining in the first half when Christian Fouchet sneaked around Greenport goalkeeper Mike Reed for a wide open look. He then dished off to teammate Muhammet Ilgin, who arrived at the ball at the same time as Porters defender Sean Charters, and the ball trickled into the net.
Southold took the lead for good on a goal scored off the left foot of Sean O’Donnell and expanded their advantage with the final goal of the first half when Miller scored with five minutes to go.
The three goal first half was a remarkable turnaround for a Southold team that lost 1-0 to Greenport two weeks ago after previously playing their local rival to a 1-1 tie in September.
“The team understood they had to play hard right from the start of the game,” said First Settlers coach Andrew Sadowski. “And they kept going, they knew that 3-1 at halftime is not good enough.”
Miller’s second goal made it 4-1 Southold with 26 minutes remaining in the second half.
Greenport made a strong push to get back into it, and Ramirez netted his second goal on a direct kick inside 20 minutes to play for the game’s final goal.
Ramirez had a good shot at a hat trick with 18 minutes to go, but Southold keeper Kenji Fujita charged the ball for an impressive running save.
Greenport coach Chris Golden said he was proud of his team, which won seven games in league play this year after going just 2-10 in 2010.
“It was a wildly successful season,” he said afterward. “We already achieved all of our goals. To host a home playoff game was more than I could have imagined in the beginning of the season.”
Southold now turns its attention to the top-ranked Royals (14-1-1), who beat them twice for a combined score of 9-1 in the regular season.
“It’s gonna be a touch match,” Miller said. “But we can do it. We need to play like we did today.”