For the second year in a row, the Southold High boys soccer season was ended by an excruciating late, dramatic goal.
In 2015, the First Settlers were eliminated in the NYSPHSAA Southeast Regional Class C semifinal by the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester’s Miles Ogihara, who scored on a breakaway with 36 seconds remaining en route to a 1-0 defeat.
On Saturday, sophomore striker Borys Zasada struck with 3:14 left in regulation to lift Pierson/Bridgehampton to a 1-0 victory and the Suffolk County Class C title at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
Zasada converted a breakaway off a counterattack feed from Luis Padilla, putting the ball past senior goalkeeper Dylan Clausen for his fifth goal of the season.
Southold (7-11) had beaten the Whalers (10-6) in three successive county championship games.
The First Settlers had reached this year’s county tournament by petitioning Suffolk County soccer officials, despite finishing at 6-7. Teams must finish above .500 to reach the playoffs. Coach Andrew Sadowski brought up the fact that his team had played Class C teams an even (5-5) during the regular season and his team was allowed to participate in the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season.
Given a second chance, Southold did not squander the opportunity. In Wednesday’s semifinals at The Stony Brook School, the First Settlers surprised the Bears, 1-0, in overtime. Stony Brook had beaten Southold twice during the regular season.
Likewise for Pierson during league play, but the North Fork side entered Saturday’s game much more confident. It certainly showed in its play in the opening 40 minutes as it forced the issue in front of the Whalers’ net. With the wind at their backs, the First Settlers dominated play, but had nothing to show for their efforts.
Things evened out in the second half as Pierson gained more possession of the ball with the wind at their back as both teams tried for the game-winner.
The First Settlers certainly had their chances. The team’s best opportunity came with 6:44 remaining, when junior midfielder Edwin Martinez headed junior midfielder Ryan Hermann’s free kick from the left side over the net.
Pierson will meet the Section IX champion at Diamond in the Pines on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Top Caption: Southold’s Joe Berry #11 consoles teammates Michael Christman #5 and Ryan Herrmann #3 following Southold’s 1-0 loss to Pierson in the Class C finals at Diamond in the Pines in Coram Saturday.