For the second year in a row, the Southold High boys soccer season was ended by an excruciating late, dramatic goal. READ
For the second year in a row, the Southold High boys soccer season was ended by an excruciating late, dramatic goal. READ
For the third consecutive year, the Southold boys soccer team reigns supreme among Suffolk County Class C schools. READ
BOYS SOCCER: Miller plays in national final If Evan Miller is asked to write an essay about what he did this summer when he returns to school, he will have a lot to write about.
For the second time in four years, Miller played in a national cup final with Lake Grove United. This time, however, the result wasn’t favorable to Miller and his teammates.
Miller, a Southold High School senior, started at striker for Lake Grove United in its recent 3-0 loss to Merced Atlas (Calif.) in the boys under-17 super group title game as part of the National Cup XI Finals in Chicago.
“It hurt, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would,” Miller said of the loss. “We’re still proud of how far we went with a team that went as far as it did.”
Perhaps one reason why the loss wasn’t as painful as it might have been was because Lake Grove wasn’t expected to go as far as it did in the national tournament, having lost about half of its players to college.
“When we went to regionals, it was just a brand new team put together,” Miller said. “We somehow made it to the national final and we were all shocked.”
It may have also helped that Miller won a national title with Lake Grove in 2009, receiving a medal and a jacket for his efforts.
Miller played midfield and striker for Lake Grove. He scored five goals in nine games for Lake Grove in this year’s tournament.
Miller, who will be entering his fourth varsity season for Southold, recognizes that most players don’t play in one national cup final, never mind two. “Just getting experience, getting the experience of having the pressure and atmosphere of the game. getting that under your belt, it’s insane having done that,” he said.
BASEBALL: ACBL MVP award shared Center Moriches Battlecats catcher Joe Solomeno (Pace) and Shelter Island Bucks infielder Thomas Roulis (Dartmouth) were named co-winners of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League Most Valuable Player Award. Solomeno also collected the league’s Hitting Award, awarded to the player with the highest batting average. Staten Island catcher Gabby Molina (Keystone) earned the slugging award with a .726 slugging percentage.
Southampton lefthander Paul Paez (Rio Hondo Junior College) reeled in the Most Valuable Pitcher Award after leading the league in wins and strikeouts.
Voting was done by a panel of the 17 field managers in the ACBL. The co-MVP honors were the first since 2009 when Jersey’s Ken Gregory and Riverhead’s Peter Greskoff split the award.
Solomeno had one of the best years in the league’s history, leading all hitters in average (.421), hits (61), doubles (14), runs batted in (53) and total bases (96). His year included a five-hit effort on opening night, a 10-9 triumph over Westhampton, and a stretch of 11 straight games in which he had at least one RBI. He was the starting catcher for the Hampton Division All-Star Team on July 19 at MCU Park in Brooklyn.
All Roulis did in his summer on Shelter Island was lead the league in runs scored (41) and stolen bases (24) while hitting at a .399 clip and finishing second behind Solomeno in hits with 59. He sparked a Bucks offense that led the league in runs scored with 281, leading the first-year squad to the Hampton Division regular-season crown. Roulis enjoyed a mid-season stretch in which he had a hit in 14 consecutive games.
Paez, an 18th-round pick of the New York Mets this year, dominated from day one in Southampton, striking out 12 over five innings in his debut against Shelter Island on June 4. He fanned a season-best 13 in Southampton’s victory over Riverhead on July 14, and Paez tied former Riverhead right-hander Nick Tropeano for single-season wins by recording his seventh in the Breakers’ 9-4 triumph over Center Moriches on July 22.
He finished his season with 82 strikeouts, breaking Tropeano’s Hamptons mark of 77 in 2009. It also put Paez just outside the top five in ACBL history. Paez, who was named the starting pitcher for the Hampton Division All-Stars, limited hitters to 35 hits in 60 regular-season innings.
Molina was a mainstay behind the plate for Staten Island, but he also wielded a mighty bat. Of the senior’s 27 hits this season, 16 went for extra bases, including 11 doubles and five home runs.
GOLF: Golfing for Porters The eighth annual Gridiron Golf Classic will be held on Tuesday at Island’s End Golf & Country Club in Greenport, with a shotgun start scheduled for 1 p.m. The fee is $175 per golfer. The tournament benefits the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team. For more information, call Darryl Volinski at (631) 477-2523.
Bob Feger still has the old Suffolk Times stories from the Southold boys soccer team’s state championships in 1984 and 1985 hanging on his wall.
Then a newcomer to the North Fork, Feger inherited a First Settlers team that had won a title in 1983 after a district rule forced the former coach to limit his varsity coaching to one sport.
Southold’s state championship three-peat, and the school’s six state titles over a seven-year span dating back to 1979, stands to this day as one of the great team sports accomplishments in North Fork history. And the right foot of a striker who played on all three of those teams has been immortalized in Suffolk soccer history.
More than 25 years after he played his final high school soccer game, Southold’s Greg O’Brien still holds the county’s all-time scoring record.
O’Brien’s career mark of 111 goals scored between his freshman season in 1982 and his senior year in 1985 is 25 goals above the next name on the list, John Alberda of Commack. The two are the only Suffolk players to score more than 75 goals in a career.
“He was a goal scorer,” Feder said. “A true goal scorer.”
That much was evident very early on in O’Brien’s career. After scoring 10 goals his freshman season, O’Brien showed his nose for the net in his sophomore campaign, when he scored 38 goals to best Steve Foy’s 1981 school record and led the First Settlers to the first of three state championships. To this day, only William Floyd’s Angelo Lopez, who scored a mind-bending 51 goals in 1972, has ever scored more goals in a Section XI soccer season.
O’Brien scored all four of the First Settlers’ goals in their 4-2 1983 state championship win over Poland High.
O’Brien would go on to score 34 goals his junior season, making him the only Suffolk player to boast back-to-back 30 goal seasons. He would then come within one goal of doing it a third time, when 29 of his shots blasted the back of the net in 1985.
O’Brien even saved one of his best performances for last, when he scored a hat trick in the First Settlers’ 9-2 victory over Section V Angelica in the 1985 Class D title game.
At the time of his graduation, O’Brien’s 111 goals ranked him second best in New York State history, and he is currently 19th on the state’s all-time goals scored list.
So how’d he do it?
“I just had a lot of great teammates,” said O’Brien, who now works for an insurance company in Ohio. “And it was also just such a small school, I was fortunate I got to play as a freshman.”
With only 42 students in the Southold class of 1986, three members played all four years of high school on the varsity soccer team: O’Brien, Jack Gallagher and Kevin Santacroce.
Greg comes from a long line of O’Brien soccer players, five boys in all with Greg being the youngest, who each played soccer for Southold.
Greg also played baseball in the spring, starting as catcher on a team coached by his father Tuck.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed baseball until I stopped playing,” he said.
But soccer was always his first love, and he would go on to play four years with mixed results at Boston College.
At the high school level though, O’Brien simply had a knack for scoring.
Feger recalls one time when O’Brien scored so quickly, the officials weren’t even sure he’d scored at all.
“He picked up a pass and was cutting across the top of the box when he unleashed a shot that was just so hard and clean it hit the back of the net and dropped out,” the former coach and longtime school administrator recalled. “Everybody was looking around asking ‘Did it go in?’ ”
Not the fastest player to ever run a soccer field, O’Brien was actually more explosive when he had the ball in front of him, Feger says.
“He could split defenders as well as anybody,” he said. “And he was a true sportsman.”
Feger recalls one game when O’Brien and the First Settlers were dismantling a South Fork squad so effortlessly, O’Brien took himself out of the striker position before his coach even suggested he should. He played the rest of the game at sweeper, taking away the opportunity for him to score anymore goals against an inferior squad.
“I remember that,” O’Brien said. “I just didn’t want to be taken out of the game. That was my way of staying in.”
As it turns out, O’Brien didn’t need to score any more goals. And a quarter-century later, the record books still prove just that.
PORT JEFFERSON STATION– The third time was not the charm for Southold.
All three of the Southold High School boys soccer team’s losses to the Port Jefferson Royals this season were shutouts. The latest, a 3-0 loss in the Suffolk County Class C semifinals on Wednesday afternoon, ended the First Settlers’ season.
But it will most likely not be the loss that sticks with Southold Coach Andrew Sadowski, not the goals allowed on throw-ins deep in Port Jefferson’s offensive zone, nor the Royals crashing the net on an indirect kick, scoring on a third rebound after Southoldgoalie Preston Jolliver knocked away the first two.
Instead, Sadowski was more focused on what happened to Southold sophomore Evan Miller after the game was essentially decided.
With 13 minutes 6 seconds left in the game and Southold trailing, 3-0, Miller had the ball and was trying to start a run as he approached midfield. His forward progress stopped abruptly as Port Jefferson forward Alex Carlacci upended him with a sliding tackle. Miller stayed on the ground for a couple minutes, clutching at his lower left leg. Carlacci received a yellow card and stayed in the game.
Sadowski and the Southold trainer helped Miller to the sidelines. Miller put no weight on his left foot, hopping on his right. He spent the rest of the game with his left leg propped up on the bench.
After the game, Miller was sporting a large bruise just under his left knee as he was helped to an awaiting golf cart.
“From the vicious hit from behind where there was no intent to play the ball, we’re now concerned with [Miller] having to go to the hospital and making sure that there isn’t a break or there isn’t damage with his knee,” Sadowski said. “It was clearly a dirty play, clearly. It’s a shame because I felt Port Jefferson played a very good game. Technically, I think the majority of them are very good soccer players and fabulous sportsmen, and it’s a shame there are a couple kids who just want to ruin it. I’m just so frustrated with that type of play.”
Port Jefferson Coach John Poulianos did not defend the play, but did offer an explanation.
“I didn’t think [Carlacci] had an opportunity to play the ball,” Poulianos said. “I thought the ball was gone well before he made contact. The [yellow] card was deserved. [Sadowski] was upset and rightfully so.”
He added: “It happened. What am I supposed to do? Beat the kid with a stick when he comes off the field? At that point, it’s a done deal. No matter what you coach your players, no matter what you tell your players, once they’re on the field, it’s going to happen. Things are going to happen. I told [Sadowski]: ‘I’ll address it in the locker room.’ It happened. I can’t take it back.”
Another thing Poulianos said he would address would be how the top-seeded Royals (14-3) will approach their next opponent, the winner of the other Class C semifinal between The Stony Brook Bears and the Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers. He said they will have to try to make runs and keep the ball on the ground rather than depending on executing the kind of dead-ball plays they used to beat Southold (9-6-2), especially if they face Stony Brook.
Within the first minute, Southold had the game’s first run, but Royals goalie Gabe Davis, who finished with eight saves, intercepted a pass near the net. Port Jefferson answered quickly, earning its first corner kick shortly thereafter. Jolliver batted it out of bounds.
Carlacci launched the ensuing throw-in deep into the penalty area, where Blake Bohlen headed it to Vincent Antonelli for the goal. The Royals had a 1-0 lead barely four minutes into the game.
Jolliver, who finished with seven saves, was bombarded by shots. With 8:30 left in the first half, the Royals kicked four in a row. Jolliver, deflected the first one, an indirect kick, and saved the first two rebounds. But the third, from Connor Crovello, got past him, putting the Royals ahead, 2-0.
Bohlen struck again in the second half, booting a throw-in from Carlacci past Jolliver for the third goal.
“They gave the effort that they could,” Sadowski said of the First Settlers. “I think at times we hesitated to go win the ball and unfortunately they stepped through. The goals that they scored in the first half were certainly a lack of aggressive play by our defenders to try and play the ball out.”
Sadowski will have to wait until next fall to have another crack at his 200th career victory. Meanwhile, Port Jefferson will move on to the Class C final on Saturday