With less than a half-hour to go in the game, the orange sphere slowly descended behind the stands at the St. Joseph’s College Athletic Complex. One couldn’t help but note that the sun was also setting on Southold/Greenport’s season.
Looking ahead to the Suffolk County Class C girls soccer final, a reporter had asked Southold/Greenport coach Vaughn Locascio if his reliable goalkeeper, Hayley Brigham, was going to have to stand on her head in order for his team to survive Port Jefferson.
As it turned out, it didn’t much matter. Whether Bridgham stood on her head or not, defending state champion Port Jefferson was not going to be denied.
Brigham played well and was one of the busiest players on the field, making 15 saves. Yet, even with that, Port Jefferson still thumped the Clippers, 8-0, no small thanks to the contributions of Jillian Colucci.
Colucci, a slender senior forward who has signed with Marist College, scored on her first two shots (assisted by Mikayla Yannucci and Brittany Fazin) before setting up the next two goals by Fazin. Later, Colucci (three goals, two assists, five shots) completed her hat trick as Port Jefferson (14-1-1) romped, adding a county crown to the League VII title it has already earned.
But the top-seeded Royals are chasing an even bigger championship. They want to reach the state final for a third successive year and pick up a second straight state title. They lost only two players from last year’s team, which brought Port Jefferson its first state championship.
Port Jefferson’s new coach, Michele Aponte, liked what she saw from her players Friday. The Royals were dominant, launching 39 shots and earning eight corner kicks. Southold (5-9-3), playing in its first county final in three years, did not manage a shot or a corner kick.
During the regular season, Southold tied Port Jefferson, 1-1, and lost to the Royals, 6-0.
Port Jefferson played beautiful soccer Friday, stroking the ball on the field turf, changing fields, probing for openings in the Southold defense.
In addition to Colucci’s considerable effort, Fazin (two goals, two assists) and Swords (one goal, two assists) also fed the Port Jefferson offense while Hailey Hearney (assisted by Clare O’Connor) and Alexa Wakefield chipped in a goal apiece. Fazin nearly had a hat trick herself, but struck the underside of the crossbar in the second half.
Port Jefferson’s next stop will be in a regional final on Nov. 5. The opponent and game site are to be determined.
Photo caption: Southold/Greenport junior forward Lucie Showalter heading toward the Port Jefferson goal. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)