SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | RED DEVILS 6, CLIPPERS 0
Don’t let that 8-7-2 record fool you. The Center Moriches High School girls soccer team is a lot better than that.
Athletic. Relentless. Skillful.
The third-seeded Red Devils were all of the above Saturday when they gave No. 6 Southold/Greenport more than it could handle in a Suffolk County Class B Tournament outbracket game. Hailey Krauss, a speedy sophomore forward, was a constant menace, striking for the first two goals in a 6-0 rout in Center Moriches. She also had two assists for the Red Devils, who earned a semifinal date with No. 2 Babylon (13-1-2) on Wednesday.
Center Moriches, which reached the New York State semifinals last year, won 50-50 balls, controlled possession, dissected the opposing defense and exerted great pressure in the Clippers’ defensive third.
After the final horn sounded, Center Moriches players shared hugs of joy while the Clippers (6-8-2) consoled themselves.
“I had high hopes today but …” said defender Ajsia Martoccia, one of the Clippers’ eight seniors who said she played her final soccer game.
Despite coming off back-to-back losses, the Clippers seemed confident going into the game, which pitted first-year coaches against each other, Southold/Greenport’s Vaughn Locascio and Center Moriches’ Sara Sullivan. The Clippers’ game plan involved disciplined defense, winning 50-50 balls and playing the ball to feet. That plan quickly dissolved as the Clippers found themselves fending off attack after attack by the pressing Red Devils.
“We just didn’t play our game,” Locascio said. “That’s it. We didn’t play our game. We got away from our game plan. They were good, but we’re a better caliber team than what we showed today.”
Krauss scored off an assist from Sarah Volkmann in the 12th minute and less than two minutes later curled a right-footed shot over goalkeeper Hayley Brigham. That gave Krauss a team-leading 14 goals for the season.
The score was raised to 4-0 before halftime. After a turnover, Catherine Nolan launched a long shot over Brigham in the 33rd minute for her sixth goal of the year. Anna Ricci made it 4-0 in the 35th minute. Arianna Alvarez laid a ball down the left wing for Krauss, who provided the centering pass for Ricci to put away.
Nolan nearly added another goal less than four minutes into the second half, but her left-footed strike dipped and bounced off the top of the crossbar.
No matter. More goals followed for Center Moriches, which held a 20-6 advantage in shots.
Krauss’ sister, Alexandria Krauss, capped a nice sequence of passing that saw Janine Ratti pass to Hailey Krauss, who found Alexandria Krauss, who then notched her fifth goal of the year in the 54th minute.
Hailey Krauss was also partly responsible for the sixth goal. With 40 seconds left in the match, she was fouled and a penalty kick was awarded. Brigham got a piece of Volkmann’s spot kick, but not enough to prevent it from reaching the net.
“I saw great things,” said Sullivan.
The Clippers’ leading goal scorer, Megan Van Bourgondien, was unable to add to her total of seven for the season. Van Bourgondien took three shots, all in the second half, and they were off target. She went 18 of 26 passing and had 41 touches.
Center Moriches goalkeeper Megan Ricci, who shared the shutout along with late substitute Sarah Brady, maintained her impressive record of not having allowed a goal to a Class B team this year.
The Clippers endured heartbreak last year when they came within minutes of winning their first county title in 26 years. But they conceded two goals in the final four minutes of regulation time and suffered a cruel loss in penalty kicks to Stony Brook in the Suffolk Class C final.
Even though they didn’t reach a county final this year, the Clippers did show considerable improvement in their play.
“I think we played great this season and we’re going to play even better next season,” Clippers junior Rosemary Volinski said. “Center Moriches better watch out.”
In the meantime, other teams may be well-advised to watch out for Center Moriches.