Six years ago, when people talked about powerhouse boys soccer programs in Suffolk County, East Hampton was never part of the conversation. The Bonackers had only a single league championship banner on the wall, and struggled to compete on a consistent basis.
The program’s identity has certainly changed since then.
East Hampton wrapped up its fourth consecutive League VI championship last week with a 3-2 overtime win at Shoreham/Wading River on October 15, moving the team to 9-0-2 in league play, 12-1-2 overall. The Bonackers were scheduled to wrap up the regular season at home against Amityville (7-4, 11-4) on Tuesday, October 21. The outcome of that game will have no effect on the final standings.
Aside from being the fourth straight league title for the team, it was the fifth in the last six years.
“It’s a pretty good roll we’re on,” head coach Rich King acknowledged.
Of course, the Bonackers are far from satisfied. The team, which won Suffolk County Class A titles in 2011 and 2012, would love to reclaim that title and potentially advance even further in the postseason.
That journey will begin on October 30 in East Hampton, when the Bonackers host a first-round playoff game. With several regular season games still remaining as of Monday, seedings were not yet determined, but East Hampton would be either a one or two seed, meaning home-field advantage until the county final, which is played at a neutral site.
East Hampton’s win over Shoreham had all the drama of a playoff game, going down to the wire. Nick West, one of the top three goal-scorers in Suffolk this season, scored on a direct kick from 20 yards out for the game-winner in sudden death, just four minutes in.
Shoreham began the scoring in the game with a goal 11 minutes into the action, before Max Lerner tied it with 18:22 left in the first half. Just 30 seconds later, Camilo Godoy scored to make it 2-1 East Hampton. It stayed that way until Shoreham tied it three minutes into the second half.
It was a frustrating game for East Hampton, as the Bonackers misfired on two penalty kick opportunities and also hit the post twice.
“We missed a lot of chances to score,” King said. “We made their goalie look like an All-Star. He had about 11 saves, but we were shooting right at him. We weren’t too happy with our goal output. But the guys showed some resiliency in that they were able to pull out the win in overtime.”
Three consecutive losses to some of the top teams in League VI officially eliminated the East Hampton girls soccer team from playoff contention last week. The Lady Bonackers lost, 5-0, at Bayport/Blue Point (8-3-1 in league play) on October 14, before consecutive 3-0 losses against Shoreham/Wading River (11-0-1) and Mount Sinai (8-3-2) on October 16 and 18.
East Hampton fell to 3-10 in League VI, 5-10 overall. The Lady Bonackers were scheduled to close out the regular season at Southampton (0-12, 0-14) on October 22.