How appropriate that Jack Golder walked off the Scraggy Hill Field in Port Jefferson on Friday with a clean uniform.
It symbolized the Mattituck High senior goalkeeper’s accomplishment. Golder wasn’t called on to make a diving save or a difficult stop as he recorded a clean sheet — soccer parlance for a shutout — in a 6-0 win over Port Jefferson.
For a good portion of his three-year varsity career, Golder has been frustrating the opposition, and he did so again as he chalked up his school-record 23rd shutout and 10th on the year with three games left in the regular season.
“It’s awesome,” Golder said. “It feels really good. It really means something to everybody. It means a lot to this team, and I know they’re all happy for me. I’m really glad that I can share it with them.
In a 3-0 win at Pierson/Bridgehampton on Oct. 2, Golder broke the record of 20 clean sheets, which was jointly held by Cody Huntley (2008-2010) and James Jacobs (2015-2018).
Golder, who made two relatively easy saves Friday, deflected praise to his teammates and the senior backline of Mike Garrett, Sean Murphy, Kaden Khan and Alex Clark.
“That’s a testament to how good this team plays,” he said. “The defense has played well all year. I definitely could not have done it without them. I’m really proud of them, of how they play day-in and day-out. Even these games that might not be that close, they’re always trying.”
Clark returned the compliment.
“We’re all really proud of him,” he said. “It’s a really big deal. The defense, we’re not trying to take credit from him. We bail him out, he bails us out. It goes both ways.”
In three seasons, the 6-foot, 170-pound Golder has amassed a 26-7-3 record, conceding 25 goals. He also became only the fifth Tuckers keeper to register at least 10 shutouts in a season, a feat that will be recognized at the Dec. 18 county awards banquet.
Reaching that double milestone couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person, said head coach Dan O’Sullivan.
“He’s an incredible kid,” he said. “It means the world to me to see him get that because he is a leader. I’ve coached him in baseball and soccer and he’s always the first one to stand up after a tough loss, after something happens. He’s the first one to give a speech. He’s got a great work ethic. These guys really look up to him.”
The Tuckers (9-2-2, 9-1-2) made quick work of the Royals (0-11, 0-10), grabbing a 4-0 halftime advantage. Senior forward Wesley Secaida, who registered a hat-trick, started the scoring 3:34 after the opening kickoff as he buried a Sean Szczotka feed past keeper Sam Matvya. Szczotka latched onto Murphy’s long ball to double the lead at 11:57. Cris Arreola set up Erick Morales’ point-blank goal at 20:40 and Szczotka added his second at 23:31. Secaida completed his hat-trick with two second-half goals.
“It’s good to start off strong because if we start out flat, they might think that they have a chance,” Secaida said. “If I start off strong, keep the intensity high, then the whole team will be there with me for the rest of the game.”
Friday’s encounter ended a rare streak in which the Tuckers played seven consecutive road matches. They finished 6-1. Their only loss in that stretch was a 5-1 defeat at Babylon on Sept. 30, but they rebounded with a 2-0 win there on Oct. 4. The two rivals are on a path meet in the Class B county final at Diamond in the Pines in Coram on Oct. 28.
Mattituck will see out the regular season with three home matches — against Greenport Oct. 11, Southold for homecoming on Friday and Pierson on Tuesday.
There’s nothing like home sweet home, but O’Sullivan has seen the upside to all the bus rides.
“There’s always a home-field advantage, but I love being on the bus with those guys,” he said. “Especially after a win when they get so pumped up. They’re all singing, they have all kinds of different music on. All the underclassmen, all the way to the seniors, are having a blast on the bus.
“I feel like it’s a chance for them to bond and have that close-knit feeling before a game. After games, they’re celebrating, and feeling good. I’m excited for the bus ride home today.”