Crunch time is Ryan Herrmann time.
Herrmann has done it again. And by that, we mean win another high school boys soccer game for Southold.
Scoring game-winning goals is something the senior midfielder is getting used to, but not taking for granted. He did it for at least the third time this season Wednesday, lifting Southold to a 2-1 home triumph over Greenport with his tie-breaking goal 2 minutes, 35 seconds from the end of regulation time.
“It still feels good,” he said. “It never gets dull.”
That was something this Suffolk County League VIII game most certainly wasn’t. All the scoring came in the final 8:43. That makes for excitement and drama, the sort Southold coach Andrew Sadowski could do without.
“For the fans, they love it,” he said. “I don’t like it at all.”
The First Settlers (10-1, 9-1), winners of six straight, weren’t particularly happy with how they played.
“I think we dodged a bullet,” Sadowski said. “Greenport outplayed us. They outworked us. They outsoccered us. They played as a team. They played with skill together. They were organized, we weren’t. We got a little lucky at the end.”
Southold found that it may have a plum of a player in Thomas Mina. The sophomore outside midfielder had been playing so well for the junior varsity team that he was brought up to the big team. Not long after entering the game, Mina had his first varsity goal from his first varsity shot. It was the product of hustle.
Parker Bakowski drove a centering ball from the left wing and the sliding Mina beat goalkeeper David Jenkins to the ball for a 1-0 lead. Later, Mina struck a blazing shot that Jenkins (six saves) deflected over the top.
“He showed us that he can play on this level,” said Southold goalie Cole Brigham.
Sadowski said: “We’ve been watching him. That’s why he’s here, because he clearly was a standout on JV. We gave him a shot and it worked. Even if he didn’t score, it was his effort and his work rate. That’s what I was looking at. We had no spark and it was time to see what he had.”
That lead didn’t last long. Shortly after, a Jaxan Swann header was blocked on the Southold goal line by Mario Contreras and Brigham (seven saves) dove on it.
Moments later, though, Greenport (6-4, 6-3) secured the equalizer it was looking for. It came from a familiar source: William Chapeton. Following a free kick, the ball was knocked around the penalty area before Chapeton put it away for his team-leading 11th goal of the season with 3:21 to go.
“I love William,” Greenport coach Sean Charters said. “He’s one of my favorite guys. He’s humble and he wants to win every single game, and he’ll play right to the last minute.”
Then it was Herrmann’s time to come to Southold’s rescue. “Time was getting short and I was getting really worried,” he said.
Herrmann, who has 14 goals and three assists this season, evaded two defenders before depositing the ball in off a one-on-one with Jenkins.
“He’s a great teammate to have,” Brigham said of Herrmann. “He just comes up clutch when we need him. We can always rely on him.”
In the game’s opening minutes, Herrmann fired a long-range shot that pounded off the right goalpost.
Greenport, which has improved considerably since last year, is one win away from clinching a playoff berth.
“Our style now is much more precise, a lot of passing and it looks nice,” Charters said. “We got a great group of guys that have been playing varsity for a few years now. It’s just a matter of time before we can take our team to the next level.”
Herrmann said Southold has had “some good wins and some bad wins,” indicating that this one qualified as the latter.
Thanks to his innate scoring ability, though, he prevented it from being a bad loss.
Photo caption: Greenport defender Jason Cruz, left, and Southold midfielder Luis Herrera go shoulder to shoulder while trying to win possession of the ball. (Credit: Bob Liepa)