The Southold/Greenport girls soccer team’s finest season to date came to a close in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C semifinal Saturday.
The First Settlers fell to Allegany-Limestone 3-1 at a frigid Homer High School in central New York.
Coach Chris Golden said the combination of a quality opponent and unusual weather conditions played a factor in the game, which the Settlers led early before running out of gas in the second half.
“This type of weather is just not the norm for us, so we did have some respiratory issues out there,” Coach Golden said afterward. “That’s not an excuse though. That’s a very good [Allegany] team. There’s no shame in losing to that type of quality opponent.”
Midfielder Grace Syron, a co-captain, scored Southold’s only goal off a header with 22:25 to play in the first half. Fellow senior Katie Baumann was credited with an assist on the play for the First Settlers (14-5).
Sophomore Kaitlyn Higby scored the decisive goal for the Gators (20-1) with 21:33 left in the game.
Fellow sophomore Alyssa Spring scored Allegany-Limestone’s first and final goals. The insurance goal came with 10:33 left to play. She previously tied the game on a through ball with 8:21 remaining in the first half.
Southold keeper Hayley Brigham kept her team close, leaving her feet for a trio of critical saves in the second half. In the end it wasn’t enough, as the Settlers’ own chances to score were limited in the second half.
Golden said he felt the team needed a second goal early to seize momentum in the contest, but credited the Gators with not allowing it.
“That’s why you have to tip your cap to them,” he said. “They were resilient and found ways to wear us down.”
The loss brings to a close a season that saw Southold/Greenport win its first Suffolk County title in 30 years and advance to its first state semifinal.
“When I look back on this season, I’ll definitely think back on all the fun times this team had as a group,” Golden said. “It won’t be this last memory and I hope the same for the girls. I hope they remember all the laughter they shared.”
The game, which was played in temperatures as low as 25 degrees, started about an hour after its scheduled time after the earlier semifinal went to overtime. Golden said his team made the more than 5 1/2 hour trip to Homer on Friday and tried to adjust to the weather, but felt there’s only so much a team can do to prepare.
“There’s just no way to simulate 80 minutes in these conditions,” he said.
The Gators will now face Stillwater High School in the championship game Sunday. The Warriors defeated Elmira Notre Dame 4-2 thanks to a pair of overtime goals from sophomore forward Brooke Pickett in the other semifinal Saturday.
The championship game will be played at 12:30 p.m. at Homer High School.
Southold/Greenport co-captain Annie Lincoln was recognized after the game for earning her team’s sportsmanship award.
Top Caption: Southold/Greenport senior Grace Syron scores the first goal of the game about midway through the first half off an assist from fellow senior Katie Baumann. (Credit: John Zachary)