Minutes before his Southold boys soccer team took on Miller Place on Monday, someone went up to coach Andrew Sadowski and asked who was playing in goal for the First Settlers.
“The one that drew the short straw,” he said.
That would have been Anthony Siracusano, a field player who had to be used in the net because the regular keeper, John Charles Funke, had been delayed in traffic.
Ah, you’ve got to love the Town of Brookhaven Summer Soccer League.
Unlike the high school season, teams don’t arrive together for games via bus; players have to make their own transportation arrangements. Sometimes coaches don’t know who is going to show up, which makes for an intriguing scenario, which Southold endured at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer League fields in a 5-0 loss to Miller Place on Monday night.
“It’s a good thing it’s summer league,” said Sadowski, whose team fell to 3-5-1 while Miller Place improved to 3-6. “The summer league is about learning and growing. We’ve got a lot of growing to do.
“A lot of guys are working, on vacation, coming back from vacation. This is by far nowhere near [how] we’re capable of playing. We didn’t play together as a team. We didn’t take advantage of our scoring opportunities. Our defense was non-existent. We just let them have shots at will.”
Miller Place’s summer coach, Vincent Marchese, who be the school’s assistant coach this fall, felt Southold caught his team on a good day. “They’re traditionally a very good school,” he said. “We just happened to take it to them today. We were lucky. Every time we shot it seemed like we scored. They’re got some talented players, too.”
Without Funke, Siracusano did as well as one could ask. Since he wasn’t a goalkeeper, he did not wear gloves or a shirt of another color so he needed to wear an orange pinny to distinguish himself from his teammates.
With the game still scoreless in the 11th minute, he showed his bravery when he collided with Rich Krumhotz to make a save. Krumhotz limped off the field.
Miller Place, however, took advantage of some poor Southold marking on corner kicks within a three-minute span as Seamus O’Connell and Ryan Sousa tallied in the 13th and 16th minutes, respectively.
“The biggest thing is once you’ve given up two goals the way we did, the other team has confidence through the roof,” Sadowski said. “They’re going to score goals whenever they want and how they want. And their mouths are going to start to go and their confidence level is really high and we’ve got to dig ourselves out of a hole. A lot of learning happened today.”
Even the addition of Funke for the second half could not stave off Miller Place, which struck for goals by Krumhotz (34th minute), Max Hammer (58th) and Alex Naimo (final minute) in the 60-minute match.
Despite the five-goal margin, Sadowski found room for praise of Sean Moran and several other players.
“His effort, not only talking positively to his teammates, but showing the effort at times,” he said, adding that Shayne Johnson, Pete Fouchet and Rafa Campos “played hard.”
“But there’s no gel,” Sadowski added about the team.
Given the format, there are no formal practice sessions between summer games. Preseason training for Southold and Suffolk County’s other high school teams will begin on Aug. 25, and that can’t come soon enough for Sadowski.
“I can’t wait to get them into practice,” he said. “At this point, after tonight, this was extremely frustrating for what they’re capable of.”