A tie with archrival Center Moriches felt more like a loss to the Mattituck High School boys soccer team Saturday.
The Tuckers squandered a two-goal, second-half lead en route to a frustrating 3-3 draw in Suffolk County League VII action in Mattituck’s homecoming game. Due to dwindling daylight, only one overtime period was played.
The deadlock also allowed the Red Devils (10-3-1, 7-2-1) to secure home-field advantage when the two schools meet again in the Suffolk Class B semifinals on Oct. 25. Mattituck (9-6-1, 6-3-1) needed to win to stay in contention to host the game.
It was the final regular-season league game for both teams.
Liam Pulseipher’s second goal of the second half, with 15 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in regulation, knotted things up at 3-3 for Center Moriches. Mattituck sophomore center back Bryce Grathwohl also struck twice, his first two goals of the season.
With the game only 84 seconds old, Grathwohl lifted the Tuckers into the lead. Defender Jack Wilsberg sent a long free kick that was knocked around in the penalty area. Axel Rodriguez-Canal found the rebound and fed Grathwohl, who scored from atop the box past goalkeeper Alec Maag.
The Tuckers used another set piece to double their lead with 8:41 left in the first half. This time Grathwohl knocked home a free kick from Wilsberg from the right side.
Center Moriches, however, pulled one back before the half as Eric Amaya tallied his 15th goal of the season with 4:39 to go, past sophomore James Jacobs.
Any momentum the Red Devils had was squashed by Jason Scalia, who took advantage of a poor clearance of a Wilsberg corner kick to boost the Tuckers’ halftime advantage to 3-1.
The Red Devils demonstrated their resilience in the second half. Only 40 seconds into the half, Pulseipher cut the deficit to one as he tallied on a half volley. He struck again with 15:37 remaining in the match as he converted a Ben Hamilton feed to the left side for a 3-3 deadlock.
The game started a half-hour behind schedule after the Mattituck-Center Moriches girls match kicked off 22 minutes late due to the Red Devils arriving late to because of heavy traffic on the North Fork. That encounter, which included a pair of 10-minute overtime periods, ended at 0-0.
Photo caption: Mattituck’s Tommy Sullivan goes airborne for a ball behind the back of Center Moriches’ Ben Hamilton. (Credit: Garret Meade)