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Top Sports Stories 2017: First Settlers advance to state semifinals

It was a high school girls soccer season that seemingly had it all for Southold/Greenport. Emotions ran from deep pain to sheer joy. The on-field highs ran higher than ever before for the First Settlers.

Southold (14-5) made its deepest run in the playoffs, reaching the New York State Class C semifinals before falling, 3-1, to eventual state champion Allegany-Limestone, 3-1, at frigid Homer High School in central New York. A header by Grace Syron — her 19th goal of the season — stood as Southold’s lone score.

The senior midfielder played an integral role in the team’s success. Her teammates rallied around her when her mother, Kathleen, died on Sept. 15.

“It breaks your heart to see a beautiful young woman as a person have to go through that type of pain,” coach Chris Golden said of Grace Syron, who played on, helping the Settlers win their first Suffolk County title in 30 years. She dedicated it to her late mother.

Syron scored the first two goals in that 3-0 county final victory over Stony Brook. Then, Syron and Jill Golden scored goals to help Southold erase a halftime deficit and register a 2-1 Southeast Region final triumph over Haldane. It was Golden’s 33rd goal, which led all goal scorers on Long Island.

“We made history,” said Golden, a junior who is the coach’s daughter. “We’re the first [Settlers girls soccer] team to go to states. I just feel energetic. I had this adrenaline rush like I can do anything. I feel like a million bucks.”

Following the state semifinal loss, Chris Golden said he hoped his players recall the good times they had together. “When I look back on this season, I’ll definitely think back on all the fun times this team had as a group,” he 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.”

Photo credit: Garret Meade

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