The League VIII-leading Pierson boys soccer team (5-0-1 in League VIII play, 6-2-2 overall) tested its mettle against a much larger school in a non-league contest last week, playing to a 1-1 draw at Eastport South Manor on October 1, before dominating offensively in a 7-3 league win over Greenport on Friday.
In battling ESM, the Whalers took on a school with a student body population that is nearly four times the size of its own, but proved they were equals on the field. Jack Fitzpatrick gave Pierson a 1-0 lead in the first half before ESM’s Mike Flynn tied the game with 15 minutes left in regulation on a shot from far outside the box.
Pierson head coach Peter Solow said he was satisfied with his team’s effort against a strong team. The Sharks had advanced to the Suffolk County Class A semifinals with a senior-laden team last year, but have struggled in League V this year with a 1-4-2 league record, 1-6-3 overall.
“I think, all in all, we probably had more chances,” Solow said. “However, the reality is that the game was very even and could have gone either way. They did lose a lot of seniors, but they have a very solid program and are very well coached.”
Nick Stevens made nine saves for Pierson, while ESM’s Thomas Biasetti made 12.
In the win over Greenport, the outcome was never in doubt as the Whalers racked up four goals in the first half for a 4-1 halftime lead. Pierson tacked on three more in the second half, although Greenport found the back of the net twice as well.
“To their credit, Greenport played hard the entire game,” Solow said. “My one concern is that the three goals they scored were a combination of their effort and some fundamental mistakes on our part. We’ve got to get that stuff straightened out. I think we played inconsistently.”
Ian Barrett led Pierson with a hat trick, while Drew Harvey had two, and both Fitzpatrick and Jesus Padilla had one.
This week figured to be a challenging one for the Whalers and could very well decide the league title. Pierson was slated to face Smithtown Christian—with whom it tied earlier in the year—on Monday. (For results, see this week’s Monday Roundup article). After that, Pierson was slated to take on Stony Brook at home on Wednesday—Pierson won, 3-2, in their first meeting this year. And on Friday, the Whalers are scheduled to visit Southold, the second-place team in the league. Pierson beat Southold, 3-2, in overtime in their first meeting of the year.
“Each of these teams is capable of beating us,” Solow said earlier in the week. “We have to be committed to keeping up the intensity we’ve had for the last several weeks. It’s going to be a real test.”
The Pierson girls soccer team fell to 1-7 in League VII, 1-9 overall, after two losses last week. The Lady Whalers were downed, 2-1, in a close game at home against Mercy on Friday after losing, 3-0, at home against Southold on October 2.
Pierson head coach Lisa DiRussa said she saw positives in both losses.
“We had a great start to the Southold game, playing the first 15 to 20 minutes evenly,” she said. “We then had a bit of a breakdown in focus, which allowed Southold to score. We continued to play this way, with periods of good play, followed by a lack of concentration.”
DiRussa said the Mercy game was a back-and-forth battle that could have gone either way. Pierson had several scoring chances, including a pair of breakaways, but did not capitalize on those.
“I’m so happy that the runs and passes were there,” DiRussa said. “The finishing aspect, we’ll continue to work on. In general, the girls played with focus, concentration and, most importantly to me, intensity. I’m hoping to build on that as we continue into the second portion of the season.”
Zoe Diskin scored Pierson’s only goal.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Wednesday, 10/9, vs. Stony Brook, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 10/11, at Southold, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 10/16, vs. Knox School, 4 p.m. Girls—Tuesday, 10/8, at Smithtown Christian, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10/10, vs. Mattituck, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 10/15, vs. Port Jefferson, 4:30 p.m.