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Oct 15, 2019 3:37 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Boys Soccer Comes Back To Draw Even With Center Moriches; Keep Undefeated Season Intact

Southampton senior Sean Godfrey sends the ball upfield. MICHELLE MALONE
Oct 15, 2019 3:57 PM

For the first half of this season, despite being projected as one of the top ranked teams in the county, the Southampton boys soccer team was able to fly under the radar of some opposing teams, most likely due to some recent down years. But when the Mariners showed halfway through the season that they weren’t going to slow down anytime soon, opponents began to take notice and want to be the team to hand them their first loss.

Case in point are three of Southampton’s past four games in which a goal, or even less, has been the difference. When Southampton fell behind by three goals to Center Moriches on Monday afternoon, it seemed as though its undefeated run was going to come to an end. But great teams continue to fight even when things seem out of reach and that’s exactly what the Mariners did.

After senior Parker West found the back of the net twice to cut the Red Devils’ lead to one goal, senior Logan Whitall found Joey Avallone, who was able to get a shot passed Center Moriches goalie Colin Raupp with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to complete the comeback and force overtime. Neither team could score in the two overtime periods, and Southampton (12-0-1 League VII) was able to keep its undefeated season intact.

“When Logan found Joe Avallone … it proved that this is a special group prepared to rise above,” Southampton head coach Dave Riley said. “We’d like to think character was built today. Teams need these lessons to reach their potential.

“The mark of a great team isn’t how much spotlight you soak up, or how long you stay untouched, but how you respond to adversity, turning pressure into opportunities,” he added. “That game felt like it should have gone to penalties at the end, not just because you have two highly ranked teams going at it, but because we rebounded and persevered, like a top-notch team should. We fought tooth and nail to get back in that match.”

Hampton Bays on Saturday night, and Pierson on October 2, both played Southampton tough as well, both ending in 1-0 victories for the Mariners. The win over Hampton Bays came down to a penalty kick given to West when he was tripped in the box seven minutes into the second half. Senior Diego Trujillo scored four minutes into the second half off a pass from Whitall in the win over Pierson. Junior goalie Ashton Triffitt made an acrobatic diving save two minutes into the game to keep the Whalers off the board.

“We’ve been reminded that the longer you’re undefeated, the harder teams are going to come after you and the more pumped up they’ll be to face you,” Riley said. “But that doesn’t take anything away from who we are. I have faith that these Mariners will rise to each challenge ahead with the grit that has defined them. These are guys who get up and grind at 6 a.m., all weather, in and out of season, on school days and weekends — they are well aware of their potential.”

With a playoff spot already wrapped up and a top-seed most likely in the cards for the Mariners, they still hadn’t technically wrapped up the league title with three games remaining on their schedule as of Tuesday morning. Southampton played at Southold on Tuesday, is expected to host Mattituck this Thursday, October 17, at 6:30 p.m. and then play at Babylon on Saturday at 10 a.m. to finish the regular season.

Hampton Bays was able to turn around what was a 5-0 loss to the Mariners back on September 16 into a one-goal loss the second time around, and head coach Scott Garofola said that he appreciated the fight his players showed.

“We played hard. We decided it wasn’t going to be a repeat of last time,” he said. “We were playing without Milan [Moraga] due to another injury. That was a bit difficult. A lot of our offense has gone through him lately. Even his back pressure at times creates turnovers, which are good for us. Considering all of that, the boys played hard and we were a little more prepared this time around and knew what to expect out of them.

“[Southampton] is solid,” Garofola continued. “They don’t give up too many opportunities, they’re good on the ball, very quick on the outside so we had to adjust some defenders. All of those things came into play and they got one more than we did.”

Hampton Bays played Babylon to a scoreless draw on Thursday, October 10, in what was played in wet and windy conditions which definitely played a part in the game, Garofola said.

“The wind was the biggest factor. The team with the wind spent 80 percent of the time in the other team’s end and it became, if you could survive your half against the wind, then you were okay, because it was difficult. I think both teams handled it well. Both teams played smart. No team bent to a big mistake. Both teams did give up chances, and we dealt with a lot of corner kicks, especially in the half where the wind was against us, but we defended it well. No one was really able to capitalize. It was kind of one of those messy games that leads to zero-zero draw.”

Hampton Bays (6-5-1 League VII) is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, needing to win two of its final four games, or a win and a draw. The Baymen hosted Greenport on Tuesday, Pierson on Thursday, October 17, at 4:30 p.m., will have their home finale this Saturday morning at 10 a.m. against Port Jefferson, and will finish the season at Center Moriches on Tuesday, October 22, at 6:30 p.m.

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