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Boys Soccer: Southold’s playoff hopes take big hit

The Southold High School gymnasium has several banners hanging from the walls that proudly celebrate the overwhelming success of the boys soccer program through the decades.

It includes mentions of Suffolk County league titles, county crowns, regional triumphs and state championships.’

It appears the First Settlers won’t get an opportunity to add a banner to their impressive collection as they dropped a 4-1 League VII decision to visiting Smithtown Christian Monday afternoon. The loss gave Southold a 5-10 overall record and 5-7 mark. Teams need to finish .500 or better to qualify for the playoffs.

However, the First Settlers still have a slim chance of reaching the post-season.

If the team defeats Smithtown Christian in their regular-season finale Wednesday afternoon, head coach Andrew Sadowski said he would petition Section XI to be included in the Class C tournament. Sadowski said that if Class B schools were taken out of the equation, Southold would have a .500 record against Class C teams.

If that doesn’t happen, it will mean Southold would fail to book a spot in the county tournament for the first time in 21 years.

Southold boasts one of the most legendary and successful high school boys soccer programs in the county with six state titles and 19 county championships and 17 league crowns.

The First Settlers hardly looked like champions on a beautiful afternoon as Smithtown Christian junior midfielder Luciano Pagliarulo, who entered the game with five goals, struck for four goals.

Southold dominated the opening minutes and they were rewarded for their efforts when junior forward Zach Grathwohl powered a 30-yard drive past goalkeeper Aydin Olgun with five minutes and 17 minutes remaining in the opening half.

They continued to force the issue before Pagliarulo chipped senior goalkeeper Dylan Clausen with 19:34 to go in the half. Southold was never the same.

With exactly two minutes left in the half, Pagliarulo lifted the Knights (3-8-1, 3-8-1) into the lead, 2-1, connecting from the top of the penalty area.

Pagliarulo, however, was far from finished as he beat his man on the left side of the penalty area and fired to the far post for a two-goal advantage with 22:36 remaining in the second half. He closed out the scoring with 11:48 to go in the game, picking up a loose ball at midfield and motored down the left side before beating Clausen.

Olgun was credited with 12 saves, but he was never severely tested. Clausen finished with seven saves.