For the third year in a row, and fourth in five years, the East Hampton boys soccer team is the best in League VI.
The Bonackers wrapped up the regular season title with a convincing 5-0 win at home against Shoreham/Wading River (5-5-1 in League VI, 5-7-1 overall) on October 16. They were scheduled to close out the regular season at Amityville (2-8-1, 4-8-2) on Monday. (For results, see this week’s Monday Roundup article).
The Bonackers now turn their focus to the postseason, where they will try to win their third straight Suffolk County Class A Championship. They fell short in the Long Island title game in the last two years to two-time defending state champion Jericho.
This season marks the fifth consecutive year the Bonackers have made the playoffs.
East Hampton will likely earn the No. 2 seed in the Class A bracket, which would assure it home-field advantage until the county final, which is played at a neutral site. Sayville (11-0 in League V, 13-1-1 overall) was likely to earn the top seed. As of Monday, East Hampton head coach Rich King was not sure who his team would face in the first round, as several teams were still trying to qualify in their final games of the regular season.
King was happy to see his team put in a dominant performance against Shoreham, particularly because it was his team’s first outing since a 1-0 loss to Bayport on October 11, the first league loss for his team.
East Hampton scored two goals within the first 10 minutes of the game and never looked back. Nick West scored twice, and Esteban Valverde, Max Lerner and Nick Quiroz all scored as well. Valverde and Donte Donegal had assists. It was the Suffolk-County leading 12th shutout of the season for Bonacker goalie Nick Tulp.
“I thought we played well, especially coming off the loss to Bayport,” King said. “I thought we got that out of our system right away, which was nice to see. We were able to make sure that Bayport was just a little bump in the road. We got a lot of contributions from a lot of guys, and it was a game we needed to win to secure first place in the league outright.”
King said he won’t be looking past any playoff opponents, a lesson he and his team learned in 2010 when they were upset in the first round by Islip. But he also said he and his players would love a chance to face Sayville in the county final, if both teams can get there.
“They have two strong players, and they’re real strong up front,” King said when asked what type of team Sayville is. “They’ve scored a lot of goals. But I think when we play our game, we can beat anybody.”
After what has been a frustrating season in terms of wins and losses, the East Hampton girls soccer team enjoyed a blowout win on Saturday, beating Mercy, 6-1, in a non-league game. East Hampton actually fell behind, 1-0, but then scored two goals to go up 2-1 at halftime. Rachel Harty had the tying goal off an assist from Amanda Seekamp, and Seekamp scored what proved to be the game-winner with less than three minutes left before halftime off an assist from Caoimke McKeon.
Both Harty and Seekamp scored twice more in the second half to put the game out of reach.
East Hampton head coach Mike Vitulli said his squad, which had more players on the sidelines, had the stamina to outlast a smaller Mercy team. “We rotated players in and kind of just wore them down,” he said. “And our seniors really stepped up in their last game.”
Vitulli pointed to seniors Seekamp, Harty and McKeon, in particular. “They’ve been on varsity for a long time, and they did not want to lose their last game. I felt like their intensity really brought the group up.”
East Hampton finished with an 0-12 mark in League VI, 3-13 overall, finishing up the league slate with a 4-0 loss at Bayport on October 17 and a 3-0 home loss to Miller Place two days earlier. While the Lady Bonackers didn’t win a league game, they were competitive in nearly all of them, and often were either tied or had a lead at halftime. Injuries hurt East Hampton this year, as two key seniors—four-year starter Shannon Lamprecht and starter Ashley Rojas—were limited. But Vitulli said he was happy with the way the team competed throughout the year.
“I felt like we were more competitive this year than last year,” he said. “We were in a lot of games. We just did not have the ability to finish games, and I think that comes from learning how to win and how to be in those situations enough times. But we played everybody tough, with the exception of [first place] Shoreham. We had only four or five games where we lost by more than two goals.”
East Hampton will lose 16 seniors to graduation: Karen Garcia, Tatiana Giutierrez, Erika Gomez, Harty, Kailey Hughes, Jen Inamagua, Lexi Jones, Lamprecht, Emily McBride, Olivia McFadden, McKeon, Trang Ngo, Rojas, Seekamp, Luisa Torres and Karen Vega.