SUFFOLK CLASS C FINAL | ROYALS 3, FIRST SETTLERS 0
It would have taken a lot for Southold to defeat Port Jefferson in the Suffolk County Class C boys soccer final and, in the view of Southold coach Andrew Sadowski, the First Settlers just didn’t bring nearly enough.
“Our work rate needed to be much, much better throughout every position on the field,” Sadowski said. “We needed to play harder. That’s really what it came down to.”
Vincent Antonelli scored twice and fellow junior Blake Bohlen had two assists as Port Jefferson wrapped up its third straight county championship with a 3-0 shutout of Southold at Diamond in the Pines in Coram on Saturday.
The warning signs were there that Southold might be in for a difficult day. Top-seeded Port Jefferson (15-1-1), the League VIII champion, had beaten Southold twice during the regular season, and with this latest result outscored the First Settlers by 12-1 in three games.
Port Jefferson coach John Poulianos, who is in his 10th year coaching the team, said it is the best squad he has had, and it’s easy to see why. The Royals have two 20-plus goal scorers in Bohlen (23 goals) and Antonelli (21). Playing in their fifth straight county final, the Royals threaded passes on Diamond in the Pines’ field turf with skill and precision. Once they had the ball, it was hard to take it away from them.
“They just have the heart in every single game,” Southold midfielder Evan Miller said. “They want to win and they want to beat us bad. They just have the drive, and we don’t.”
It took Port Jefferson only 2 minutes 17 seconds to get on the scoreboard when Antonelli headed home a corner kick from Casey Abelein.
Antonelli made it 2-0 at 20:40. Bohlen delivered a cross from the left side that Antonelli kicked at and missed. But Antonelli got a second chance at the ball and made the most of it.
The third goal came 2:28 into the second half. Bohlen did well to buy time for his teammates in midfield before dropping a ball forward for Connor Crovello, who provided the finishing touch.
Antonelli came close to a hat trick. His header off a cross from Abelein would have gone in if not for a defender’s goal-line clearance in the first half.
Bohlen is a special player. The midfielder is comfortable with the ball at his feet. He can score goals, and he can set them up, too.
“When we get him loose he can score a ton of goals, but it’s not that we’re depending on him to score goals for us to win games,” said Poulianos.
On Saturday, Bohlen had 73 touches on the ball, connected 33 of 47 passes and took two shots. One of his shots was a blazer from almost 30 yards out that crashed onto the top of the netting in the second half.
Southold (9-7-2) didn’t create any real serious scoring chances and forced only three saves from Port Jefferson goalkeeper Gabe Davis.
When the game ended, the Royals raised their hands in the air, but there was “nothing crazy,” said Poulianos.
That could be taken as a sign that Port Jefferson has its sights set on bigger prizes down the line.
“A lot of these players have been here before, and now they want to go to the next level,” said Poulianos.
Port Jefferson, which will play Friends Academy in the Long Island final on Tuesday at Diamond in the Pines, has never reached the New York State final four. The Royals are two wins away from doing that.
“Today was the second of six [playoff] games,” Poulianos said. “I told the boys we have a six-game season. Six games gives us a state championship.”
Bohlen said: “We want to make history this year. We want to win the whole thing. That’s what we’re going for.”