The Pierson boys soccer team lost, 5-2, to Southold in the Suffolk County Class C Championship at Diamond in The Pines in Coram on Saturday afternoon. Southold played Nassau County Champion Friends Academy for the Long Island Championship on Tuesday.
Pierson had defeated Southold twice this season but both were one-goal games—3-2 on September 23 and 2-1 on October 11. While Saturday’s outcome was not that surprising, the disparity in goals was, and Pierson head coach Peter Solow said after the game that his team simply did not match Southold’s intensity from the opening whistle.
“You got to go out and you got to play the game,” he said. “Anything can happen on any given day; the reality of it is, you got to go out and you have to play the game.
“And we had talked about how we had to play, in terms of intensity,” Solow added. “But also how we had to play in terms of playing the ball wide, passing the ball, not holding the ball, not playing up the middle, all this type of stuff, and the guys didn’t do it.”
The Whalers got on the board quickly. Not even four minutes into the game, Pierson’s leading scorer, junior Jack Fitzpatrick, took what seemed to be a harmless shot, but Southold junior goalie John Charles Funke misplayed it and the ball wound up in the goal to give Pierson a 1-0 lead.
The Whalers lead lasted only five minutes, though. Southold senior Drew Sacher received a pass from midfield and he was able to get behind the defense. He took his shot just as he got to the box and put it in the lower left corner to tie the game.
About 15 minutes later the Settlers took the lead for good. Jack Dunne, a junior, sent a long ball in off a free kick just inside the 40-yard line. Pierson senior goalie Nick Stephens came out to play the ball but it went through his hands and bounced once before crossing the goal line. Then, three minutes later, Sacher added another goal for Southold to give it a 3-1 lead at halftime.
Just 16 seconds into the second half, Pierson junior Duncan Bennett slide tackled Southold senior Kenji Fujita in the box, so the Settlers were awarded a penalty kick. Sacher took the shot and buried it to complete the hat trick.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the game, Stephens saved a shot but gave up a rebound that Southold sophomore Peter Fouchet was able to poke in to give Southold a commanding 5-1 lead. Fitzpatrick added a late goal for Pierson with under two minutes remaining.
“When we play well, we play as well as anybody,” Solow said. “The sad thing is that we had played much better than we played today, but you can’t take it away from Southold. They’re a really well coached team, they’re a disciplined team, they played with intelligence. They played exactly the way they needed to play, which is exactly why the result was the way it was.”
Solow did appreciate the play of some of his players on Saturday, namely seniors Ian Barrett and Marcos Perez, freshman Jon Lopez and junior Johnny Chisolm. Barrett and Perez, along with Stephens, Forrest Loesch, Drew Harvey, Oliver Betts, Gavin O’Brien and Baxter Parcher-Charles, are all expected to graduate in June, and Solow said that many of the seniors will be missed and that they have a lot to be proud of. The Whalers were the League VIII champs this season with an undefeated 9-0-1 record.
“You can’t take away from them what they accomplished during the regular season,” Solow said. “For the first time in I don’t know how many years we won the league. For the kids who are seniors, who I’ve coached, on and off, for a long time, we’re going to miss them.”