Scheck’s saves stop Tuckers in PKs

CORAM — Field players may not be the biggest fans of soccer’s penalty-kick tiebreakers. The real pressure, after all, is on the kickers, who are expected to score. For goalkeepers, on the other hand, penalty kicks are an opportunity to stand out, like Dan Scheck did for Sayville on Monday night.

When Sayville and Mattituck headed into a penalty-kick tiebreaker with the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools title at stake, Scheck welcomed it. “I love them,” he said. “I love the pressure. I don’t get nervous, and I just know where everyone goes.”

It certainly appeared that way on Monday night. Scheck stopped two shots in penalty kicks and watched another hit a goalpost as the Golden Flashes prevailed. Jon Paciorek, Vincent Sakk and Brian Lutcha converted their spot kicks as Sayville won in penalties, 3-0, after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw through 60 minutes of regulation time and an additional 10 of overtime at Diamond in the Pines.

In winning, Sayville brought its summer record to 11-1-1 and earned itself a place in the final for the overall Brookhaven championship. It was to play the large schools champion, Ward Melville (9-4), for that title last night at Diamond in the Pines. Sayville is seeking its second overall Brookhaven title, which would duplicate its feat of 2007.

Scheck, a senior, saved penalty kicks by Mattituck’s Matt Waggoner and Alex Scalia.

“I’ve seen him do that before,” Sayville Coach Jeff Scheck said of his son, who will enter his senior year. “I felt confident because I know that we have a good goalie. He’s a Division I goalie. He’s one of the better goalies in the county.”

Mattituck’s third kick-taker, Andres Aldaz, sent his attempt off the left post. That set up Lutcha, who buried his attempt for the clinching kick.

“It was important to me because we wanted to extend the summer as long as we could,” said Jeff Scheck, whose team defeated Mattituck by 2-1 on June 28. “Mattituck played a great game. When you go to penalty shots, either team could have won.”

Dan Scheck, who made three first-half saves to go with his stops in penalty kicks, said: “I was just happy. It’s pretty important because it’s a little boost as you enter the [school] season saying you won small schools in the summer league.”

Mattituck had taken a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute when Joe Pfaff used his head to flick a corner kick from Aldaz toward the back post and into the net.

“That was one of the best headers I’ve seen,” said Mattituck Coach Mat Litchhult.

But the Tuckers held that lead for only 2 minutes 58 seconds. Paciorek was taken down in the penalty area, and a penalty kick was awarded. Dakota Edwards handled the honors, drilling the ball home and tying the score at 1-1.

Sayville had a good chance of netting the winner in the second half. A shot by Edwards deflected Sakk’s way, but Sakk, who has nine goals to his credit this summer, sent his clear shot screaming wide to the left. He held his head in disbelief.

Neither side put a shot on goal in overtime. The best opportunity, perhaps, fell to the Tuckers. A precise cutting pass by Aldaz sent the onrushing Shawn Smiley through, but Smiley’s shot flew wide of the mark.

Aldaz, one of Mattituck’s most skillful players, had 36 touches, completed 20 of 27 passes and took one shot that was saved.

It was a productive summer for the Tuckers, who finished with a 10-3 record. Their defense, bolstered by goalkeeper Cody Huntley and their sweeper, Waggoner, posted nine shutouts and conceded eight goals.

“What I was most proud of was probably how we defended,” said Litchhult.

However, Litchhult hasn’t seen a dominant goal scorer emerge. “I’m still looking for that goal scorer,” he said. “That really hasn’t happened.”

The Tuckers put four of the 10 shots they took Monday night on goal.

Next for the Tuckers will be the start of preseason training for the school season on Aug. 30.

“I thought we played well, but we can get better,” Pfaff said. “We can still string together more passes. It’s more kick-and-run-soccer right now, so we can play more possession. We just got to keep putting work in up to the school season. Hopefully it carries over.”

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