The calendar might have said Sept. 7, but Southold/Greenport’s celebration was more suited for towards the end of October.
Immediately after the final whistle, the First Settlers girls soccer team celebrated as though they won the Suffolk County Class C crown instead of an early regular-season game against Mattituck in Greenport Thursday night.
“It’s huge. I don’t think we beat them in two years,” said Southold goalkeeper Hayley Brigham, who made several big saves in the 1-0 League VII win.
“We were confident coming in, but not too confident. It was a big game, we knew it. We had to come in with the idea, ‘Hey we can win,’ even though we hadn’t done it in a while. We did that and we executed.”
Sophomore midfielder/forward Kaitlin Tobin executed when she had to as she connected for the lone goal 2 minutes, 11 seconds into the second half. Grace Syron sent Jillian Golden a ball on the left side and the All-New York State player found Tobin, who chipped goalkeeper Sarah Santacroce from close range.
“It was a tight game and we weren’t necessarily expecting to win the whole game,” Brigham said. “The fact we held them 1-0 for 30 something minutes was insane. I never would have expected that.”
It was expected to be a tight encounter between the First Settlers (3-0, 3-0) and Tuckers (2-1, 2-1). Combined, the teams had outscored their foes by 20-1 in their opening four games. This affair turned out to be more defensive, with much of the play in the middle of the field.
Southold coach Chris Golden, who is also the Greenport athletic director, the girls soccer coach, tried to downplay the win.
“It’s only our third game of the season,” he said. “When you play Mattituck, it’s always a big game. North Fork rivalry. It always has been. To beat a team like Mattituck, it’s always a great feeling, a great accomplishment. It’s a good Mattituck team. They were fit and they came to play. You know what? I like those games. It’s fun.”
Brigham was superb when she was called on. She denied Mackenzie Daly with 27:02 left in the first half and preserved the lead by stopping sophomore Claire Gatz with 4:48 remaining. Daly also drilled a shot off the crossbar with 14:33 remaining in the opening half.
If you missed the match, you will have another opportunity to catch these two rivals again this year, when Mattituck hosts Southold Oct. 3.
While they play in the same league, they won’t meet in the playoffs because they compete in different classifications, the Tuckers in Class B, the Settlers in Class C.