TUCKERS 4, WHALERS 1
Pud. Pud. Pud. Pud.
It’s one of the sweetest sounds in soccer. The sound of shoe leather meeting a ball is music to a coach’s ears because it’s the sound of winning soccer. It was heard Thursday as the Tuckers stroked the ball around the Mattituck High School soccer field, passing to feet and keeping their opponents from Pierson/Bridgehampton running and chasing.
The possession game is alive and well in Mattituck, and that’s a good sign for the Tuckers. They played what their coach, Malynda Nichol, said was their best game of this young season and were rewarded with a 4-1 win, the first two goals coming off the foot of freshman forward Alex Beebe.
Beebe finished off a pass from Catherine Hayes 4 minutes 15 seconds into the match and then scored again at 18:04, lifting a shot over goalkeeper Lottie Evans and high into the net for her fourth goal in four games.
Alya Ayoub, a sophomore forward, had a foot in the next two goals. Jane DiGregorio pushed forward a ball for Ayoub, who rounded Evans and slid the ball in at 36:13. Corinne Reda made it 4-0 at 43:18, scoring off an assist from Ayoub.
Emma Fasolino’s shutout bid was spoiled when Zoe Diskin ran forward and sent a high shot that Fasolino couldn’t reach at 60:03.
With Pierson/Bridgehampton’s top two goalkeepers, Alyssa Kneeland and Hayley Lund, out with injuries, the Whalers put Evans, normally a field player, in goal. She played most of the League VII game before Diskin replaced her late in the match. They combined for 11 saves.
The final score could have been even more one-sided. The Tuckers (3-0-1, 3-0) hit the crossbar once and outshot the Whalers (0-4, 0-3) by 33-2, with 16 of those shots on goal.
In the final seconds of the first half, Mattituck’s Trish Brisotti fired a shot that Evans deflected off the crossbar. And there were other close calls. Reda worked a give-and-go exchange with Hayes, beat the goalkeeper and put a shot on goal, only to see Pierson/Bridgehampton’s Rachel Hoyt clear it. Late in the game, DiGregorio pounded a point-blank shot that Evans did well to block.
Nikki Zurawski, who started at sweeper before moving up to midfield in the second half, had her usual strong game for the Tuckers. The senior, who has verbally committed to play for Sacred Heart University (Conn.), connected on 43 of 57 passes, had 77 touches and took six shots, all in the second half. During one memorable second-half sequence, she headed the ball straight up in the air to herself not once, not twice, but three times and maintained possession.
Then again, perhaps one shouldn’t have been surprised — possession is the name of the game in Mattituck.