SOUTHEAST REGION CLASS B FINAL | TUCKERS 3, PANTHERS 1
For the second time in three seasons, the Mattituck High School boys soccer team is going to the New York State final four.
The Tuckers booked a spot in the Class B semifinals in Middletown, N.Y. next week by registering a 3-1 triumph over Rye Neck at Diamond in the Pines in Coram Saturday.
Mario Arreola set up the Tuckers’ first goal in the opening half and tallied the insurance score in the second half to secure the win. Kaan Ilgin and Paul Hayes also found the back of the net for Mattituck (17-2), which is the top-ranked Class B team in the state.
Mattituck reached the state semifinals in 2012, losing to Livonia (Section V) in the semifinals in Middletown, 3-1.
Ilgin gave Mattituck a 1-0 lead at 13:56 as he converted a feed from Arreola with a side volley past goalkeeper Rich Barrios.
Rye Neck (13-6-3), the Section I champion from Westchester County, equalized after the Tuckers failed to clear a corner kick at 31:44. Reed Peterson launched a corner kick into the penalty area that was kicked or bounced off of several players while the hosts could not clear the ball out of harm’s way. Marco Andreali got possession and slotted the ball past keeper Ben Knowles for a 1-1 deadlock.
Only 2:09 later, Hayes snapped the tie, heading in Kevin Williams’ long free kick for a 2-1 advantage Mattituck would never relinquish.
Arreola, who played a superb game on both sides of the ball, gave the Tuckers some much needed breathing room at 58:29 by curling in a 20-yard shot from the left side into the right corner for a 3-1 lead.
The Tuckers outshot the Panthers, 20-4, as Ilgin had six shots alone.
Barrios made nine saves, while Knowles needed to produce only one.
In the state semifinals, Mattituck will face Skaneateles (17-2-1; Section III), 3-0 winners over Union Springs/Port Byron in Oneonta Saturday. That game is set for Middletown High School in Middletown, N.Y. at 9:15 a.m. next Saturday. The final is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 16. Skaneateles won the Class B state title in 2010.
The Tuckers have captured one state championship, under the direction of current coach Mat Litchhult, in 2003.