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Boys Soccer: Porters rally late, but fall in OT of Class D state semifinals

In some respects, the Greenport boys soccer team’s game in the Class D state semifinals was a microcosm of its season.

The Porters went down early but rallied to turn the match into an epic confrontation against unbeaten Fillmore of Section 5 at Faller Field in Middletown, N.Y. on Saturday afternoon.

Greenport, however, fell just a bit short and dropped a 3-2 decision to the second-ranked Class D team in the state.

Layton Sanasith scored off a Mitchell Ward right-wing feed with two minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the first overtime to give Fillmore (22-0-0) a sudden-death victory and a Sunday morning date with Chazy in the final. The Section 7 school defeated Southern Cayuga of Section 4 in penalty kicks, 3-2, after playing to a scoreless draw on Saturday in the other semifinal.

It might have been a deflating ending, but the Porters (6-13) walked off the field with their heads held high.

“Our team has a will to win, and they will give 110 percent to try to make it happen,” coach Greg Dlhopolsky said. “What you saw from them is just grit and perseverance, two things that I think sometimes are lacking these days.”

Case in point: A month ago, the Porters looked dead in the water. They had a 1-12 record but rolled off five consecutive wins.

Greenport’s Daniel Rivas, left, consoles Jaime Choy after their loss. (Credit: Adrian Kraus)

They faced a similar scenario Saturday.

Fillmore grabbed a two-goal advantage by halftime as Mitchell Ward (46 goals, 19 assists this season) proved to be one difficult forward to stop. He took advantage of a miscommunication in the back to lift the Eagles into the lead with 19:23 remaining in the half. He doubled the cushion on a brilliant run through the defense, burying the ball into the far-right corner with 8:19 left.

Adding injury to insult, Greenport lost its best defender, Justus Horton. Horton, who received a head gash in the first half, was taken to a nearby hospital and was evaluated for a concussion (afterward, the Porters stopped at the hospital as co-captain Ricky Campos gave Horton his game ball).

Dlhopolsky made some tactical moves, moving Daniel Rivas to center back and deploying an extra midfielder.

“We said to them at halftime, ‘Listen, we’re not out of this game. This game is not over. It’s a two nothing game. We can win this,’ ” he said.

“Usually, we say 1-2-3 Porters before we go out, and instead we said 1-2-3 corazón, which is Spanish for heart. They showed it in the second half.”

Sophomore Luis Masin, the hero of the Southeast Regional win, was involved with both goals during the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

He put home a Campos feed from the middle of the box for his ninth goal of the season. A few minutes later, Milton Veliz headed in his left-wing cross for his 10th goal to equalize at 2-all. Entering the game, Fillmore had allowed only seven goals and recorded 16 shutouts.

“We just got back out there and boosted our confidence,” goalkeeper Collin McDaniel said.

The Porters dominated the second half and came close to scoring that elusive third goal.

“We worked. We hustled. We almost made it happen,” Masin said.

“Maybe they thought that the second half was going to be easy, but I guess they didn’t know who we are,” Dlhopolsky said.

McDaniel was outstanding as he was all over the box, making 15 saves.

“They were hard saves but I got there,” he said with a laugh.

Added Masin: “He was amazing.”

Dlhopolsky emphasized what his seniors — Declan Crowley, Horton and McDaniel — had accomplished and how the late-season success can be used as a springboard.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done this season,” he told the seniors. “When I retire one day, I’m going to look back on this time. It will always be something that will make me proud and will put a smile on my face … The seniors have been a huge part of that and have anchored what we’ve done.

“For those of you who are coming back next year, remember this feeling. Remember what we’re capable of. Let’s do it again,” he said.

“This is going to invigorate our team and … the community. Maybe guys were thinking about playing but know that we play a lot of tough games against the Babylons, Mattitucks and Center Moriches. They know we can go out and we can win games, that we’re going to find a way to improve. We’re going to find success.”

Masin wanted to take it another step.

“Hopefully next year we can come back and win states,” he said.

After what the Porters achieved, no one is going to put it past them.