Two perennial playoff East End soccer teams met on Saturday night, with Southampton hosting defending Suffolk County Class A champion East Hampton, in what was the season opener for both teams. The Mariners held their own, but the Bonackers came through with a 2-0 victory in the non-league contest.
East Hampton senior Donte Donegal opened the scoring for the Bonackers with about 10 minutes remaining in the first half. He scored on a header off a crossing feed from freshman Jorge Naula.
Holding on to a 1-0 lead in the middle of the second half, East Hampton got its insurance goal when junior Jonathan Chunchi one-timed a ball from about 10 yards out that was sent into the box from junior Nick West, who took the free kick.
“Typical first game of the season,” East Hampton head coach Rich King said. “At this point in the year, we’re just looking to see what the kids are going to give us and see certain things in certain positions in certain spots. It’s a feeling out process.
“It’s good to see a win but we’re not focused on the result right now,” he added. “We’re still evaluating what we want.”
Southampton had a few chances to score in the game. In the first half, junior Alex Rojas picked off a mistouch of an East Hampton defender. One-on-one with East Hampton junior goalie Nick Tulp, Rojas ripped a low shot that Tulp initially slowed down, but the ball slowly got past him right near the goal line. Senior Mariner Andrew Gardner went to tip the ball in but an East Hampton defender was able to beat Gardner to the ball and clear it.
Minutes before East Hampton scored the first goal of the game, sophomore Jesse Scanlon headed a ball right to Tulp’s hands. Southampton head coach Dave Riley said it was a good showing for his team against a tough team.
“It was a good game. I think they outlasted us,” he said. “We had some defensive lapses. Both of the goals were similar, where our guys let their marks off just too much.
“East Hampton is a great team,” Riley added. “There’s no shame in that loss. We especially played them really well for the first 30 minutes of the first half. It was nice to see us come out and hang with Suffolk’s top rated small school team for as long as we did.
While Southampton’s midfield and defense played well on Saturday night, Riley did mention that his offense struggled. It was able to muster only a few shots on goal. King said his defense played well and his returning All-League goalie Tulp didn’t have too much action in net.
“Defensively we played really well as a team,” he said. “Nick, he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the county. We know when we need him he’s there.”
Garrett Pike, a junior, made seven saves in goal for the Mariners and Riley was happy with his effort.
ON THE SCHEDULE: East Hampton—Thursday, 9/12, at Elwood/John Glenn, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 9/17, vs. Mt. Sinai, 4:30 p.m. Southampton—Thursday, 9/12, at Wyandanch, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 9/17, at Mattituck, 4:30 p.m.