TUCKERS 6, MARINERS 0
To start the playoffs last season, the Mattituck boys soccer team found itself in an unusual position: the underdog.
Southampton, the favorite and one of the top-ranked teams in the state, stood in the Tuckers’ way in the first round of the Class B playoffs. An upset victory propelled the Tuckers to their second straight county championship.
This year, it was Mattituck back as the favorite and the No. 1 seed going into Thursday’s playoff opener against Southampton.
“That’s something we talked about in terms of the revenge factor,” said Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult. “I’m sure they were talking about it from their end.”
The Tuckers weren’t about to let that happen. Mattituck dominated from start to finish to earn a 6-0 victory that sends the Tuckers back into the county finals Saturday against Center Moriches, a rematch of last year’s championship.
Having not played a game in more than two weeks after all the bad weather, the Tuckers came out firing with a three-goal first half. Four different players scored goals in the game, including Stephen Urwand and Kaan Ilgin who both had a pair.
The Tuckers played a scrimmage Saturday and Litchhult said he could see the team was ready to go.
“There was something building in the team,” he said. “They had this built up energy. They all played an excellent game on a really terrible weather day.”
The Tuckers won the coin flip to start the game and decided to take the wind in the first half. It paid off as they grabbed a 3-0 lead.
“There was no letdown in the second half,” Litchhult said. “I thought we played better soccer overall in the second half going into a brutal wind.”
Evan Neighley and Mario Arreola each scored one goal for Mattituck.
Ilgin had two assists as well.
PANTHERS 3, TUCKERS 1
Around 11:40 this morning, Mattituck girls soccer coach Peter Hansen got word that the Tuckers, as the No. 3 seed in Class B, would be hosting No. 2 Babylon in a game scheduled for 2 p.m.
It was good news for the Tuckers, who no longer had to worry about sitting on a bus for more than an hour before the start of their playoff game. The change didn’t seem to bother the Panthers, though, as they won 3-1 at Mattituck High School to end the Tuckers’ season.
The game was originally moved to a field in West Babylon because the field at Babylon High School was unplayable. But the nor’easter that tore through the area left too much snow for the game to be played in West Babylon.
So Babylon agreed to make the drive out to Mattituck so the game could be finally be played after more than a week’s worth of weather-related delays.
“It was tough for both teams with all the time off, the weather and limited practices,” Hansen said.
Babylon scored the first goal about 25 minutes into the game after Mattituck had dominated much of the action, Hansen said.
“They had the ball come out to their midfielder and she shot a great a shot [for the first goal],” Hansen said.
The Panthers made it 2-0 shortly before halftime.
Mattituck’s lone goal came from Courtney Murphy.
“They played great,” Hansen said. “Made a couple silly mistakes.”
The Tuckers finished the season 7-8 in Hansen’s first year as head coach.
Hansen said he had a good core returning next season, although it will be a young team.
“I’m excited,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be talking about a good playoff experience next year.”