Sometimes with summer league games, teams are forced to improvise. Whether prompted by the weather or summer vacations, it’s not unusual for lineups to fluctuate from game to game.
That was the case for the Mattituck Tuckers girls soccer team on a rainy Tuesday night. Only eight of Mattituck’s 20 players showed up for its Town of Brookhaven Summer League game against Miller Place at The Wedge in Mount Sinai. Playing shorthanded, Mattituck Coach Ed Barbante had his team pack it in and play a close-to-the vest defensive style game. The result was a 0-0 tie.
“Being down three players, we couldn’t exploit our strengths,” Barbante said. “We knew we couldn’t run with them, so we had to pick and choose when we wanted to attack.”
Mattituck goalkeeper Courtney Birkmier made seven saves in recording the shutout. Miller Place, near the end of regulation time, had a shot hit the crossbar.
The Tuckers, with a full complement of players, blanked Port Jefferson, 4-0, last Thursday at Diamond in the Pines in Coram. Amber Mello netted three goals for Mattituck while Fiona Gorman also scored a goal. Jessica McDonald posted the shutout.
“We’re trying to put girls in different positions to see what works,” Barbante said. “We’re looking for development and do what’s best for the coming season.”
The Tuckers went into the Miller Place match with victories over Mount Sinai and Port Jefferson, and losses to Bayport/Blue Point in overtime and a 1-0 nail-biter to Sayville.
“We’ve looked OK so far,” Barbante said. “It is so hard to judge. We’ve got new players that are being asked to step up.
“Many are new to the varsity level. They are learning they have to move the ball quicker and change field more. It is more of a possession-type game. We’ve looked good some moments and young some moments. We made some mistakes, but that is natural and something we can correct.”