SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS C FINAL | FIRST SETTLERS 1, WHALERS 0 (OT)
Sean Moran described it as an “out-of-body experience.” The moments immediately after Moran’s goal brought Southold a second straight Suffolk County Class C boys soccer championship were like he was watching a movie, he said.
If it were to be a movie, it most certainly would be a drama because Tuesday’s county final between No. 2 seed Southold and No. 1 Pierson/Bridgehampton was nothing if not dramatic.
As it turned out, Moran played the starring role in this action-packed thriller at Diamond in the Pines in Coram. After the First Settlers failed to convert the many scoring chances they had through 80 minutes of regulation time, they finally got their reward 14 minutes 18 seconds into sudden-victory overtime with Moran’s sixth goal of the year for a 1-0 triumph. An unmarked Moran met a chip from Ryan DiGregorio with a first-time left-footer that found net and sent the First Settlers into ecstasy.
After the goal, the Southold players raced toward the side of the field where their screaming fans were waiting for them.
“They were screaming our names,” Moran said. “It was a magical moment.”
Some of the players slid head first into the field turf before a large, happy pileup developed.
With its 17th county title since 1978 in the bag, Southold (12-5) advances to a Southeast Region final against Solomon Schechter of Section I or Rhinebeck of Section IX. That game is tentatively scheduled for Saturday in Coram.
The first question Southold coach Andrew Sadowski was asked during his meeting with reporters afterward was what his reaction was to what he had just seen?
“Holy moly!” he answered. “Why didn’t we put one in in the first half when we had those opportunities?”
Ah, yes. The First Settlers had their opportunities.
Southold played runner-up to League VIII champion Pierson/Bridgehampton (11-6) during the regular-season (they each won one-goal games at the other’s expense), but the roles were reversed in the county championship match.
The First Settlers, sporting their traditional Mohawk haircuts for the playoffs, came out strong and nearly scored on several occasions in the first half. The game remained scoreless mostly because of the efforts of Pierson/Bridgehampton’s first-year goalkeeper, sophomore Chase Zimmerman, who did not play like a first-year goalkeeper.
In the first half, three opportunities stood out: Southold’s Shayne Johnson caught up to a through ball from Joseph Worysz and charged in on goal, only to see Zimmerman block the shot for a corner kick; less than three minutes later, Worysz fired a shot that rang off the right goal post; and Peter Fouchet later stole a ball before making a couple of nifty touches and then driving a left-footed attempt that Zimmerman stopped for one of his 7 saves.
“You got to know that one’s bound to come,” DiGregorio said. “You keep working hard, you keep possessing and you keep putting balls toward the goal. Good things are going to happen.”
The First Settlers held a 20-3 advantage in shots. Their goalkeeper, John Charles Funke, did not need to make a save, although he did make am acrobatic diving grab of a centering pass that would have led to an almost certain goal had he not intercepted it in the second half.
Sadowski said he was pondering penalty kicks when Moran’s goal made that unnecessary. The goal was the product of drills the First Settlers conduct in practice, “so that was almost automatic out there,” said Moran.
Moran indicated that the First Settlers are eager for an encore. His final words during an interview were, “Still more good things to come.”