Seconds after the final whistle of Pierson/Bridgehampton’s 1-0 victory over Southold in the Suffolk County Class C boys soccer final Saturday, an emotional Ryan Herrmann fell to a crouch and held his head in his hands in disbelief.
The First Settlers senior co-captain could not believe his team had lost in what was his last high school game at Islip High School. Pierson midfielder Grady Burton came over to console his foe, but little good it did.
It was a disappointing way to end a career and a season in which Herrmann tallied a team-high 19 goals with dreams of going far in the state tournament.
“It stinks, especially it’s the last year,” Herrmann said later. “There’s nothing more to gain from it. We’re such a good team. We could have done it, but not everyone was in it.”
The First Settlers (14-3-1) rebounded from a rather sub-par 2016 season to become one of the dominant League VIII teams. Their No. 1 nemesis was the Whalers (15-1-1), against whom they could not beat them season. They went 0-2-1 against Pierson.
“It was definitely tough,” co-captain and senior midfielder Joe Berry said of the loss. “I feel like we outplayed them. They got one in the back of the net and we didn’t.”
Southold coach Andrew Sadowski felt the Whalers played with more desire. “I think the bottom line … Pierson wanted to win,” he said. “They attacked the ball more. As a team they attacked. We didn’t attack as a team.”
Except for a handful of players, Sadowski thought his team did not give full effort when it was needed, especially during crunch time.
“We didn’t have a killer instinct from the people where the ball went to,” he said. “I certainly can’t fault the two captains for not putting the effort there because it was there 100 percent. They can’t do it themselves. This is a team game.”
Herrmann agreed. Asked what was missing, he said: “Definitely, our instincts, just go for the ball. Not a lot of people went for it. There’s only a few like me. Joey [Silvestro], Joe Berry, Joe Hayes.”
Pierson took advantage of a Southold mistake to score the lone goal with 23 minutes and 26 seconds remaining in the opening half. Luis Padilla sent in a free kick that midfielder Jorge Alvarado headed home from close range to the right near post past goalkeeper Cole Brigham.
“I was happy with the [way the] team was playing, up until you duck and the ball goes to the Pierson kid’s head and he nodded it in,” Sadowski said about one of his defenders.
Herrmann had Southold’s best opportunity with 26:37 left in the second half as diving goalkeeper Will Martin robbed him of a header goal off a Silvestro feed. “He just nicked it,” Herrmann said.
Berry was certain the Settlers had equalized.
“I definitely thought that one was going in,” he said. “Even though it didn’t, it kind of picked up the intensity.”
Asked what he took from the game, Sadowski replied: “What do I take? It’s not what I take, it’s what the players have to take. They’re the ones who are on the field. If they don’t listen to the instructions of the coaching staff and they play the way they want to, that’s where the big part of the big issue is. Unfortunately, we’re a small school. We have a certain number of players to choose from. But some of them have to know they didn’t put their best effort out there. Senior, junior, sophomore, they have to know that. And I’m not going to be the one to tell them all the time.”
Photo caption: Southold senior Ryan Herrmann is consoled by Pierson/Bridgehampton’s Grady Burton following the First Settlers’ 1-0 loss in the Suffolk County Class C final. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)