Top-seeded Port Jefferson boys soccer entered the 2012 season with only one goal -- getting back to the state championship. The Royals got one step closer Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Southold in the Suffolk Class C championship.
"This group of boys -- there's only one option to call it a successful season and that's winning another state championship," coach John Poulianos said. "Anything less is a step back."
Vincent Antonelli headed in two crosses from Blake Bohlen in the first half to stake the Royals (17-0) to a 2-0 halftime lead and Connro Crovello poked in a tight pass from Antonelli in the second half to give Port Jefferson that ever important three-goal lead. "When you're up 2-0 that next goal is critical in terms of turning momentum," Poulianos said. "That third goal was huge."
It was more than enough for the senior laden team that had been preparing for these playoff matches since the summer. "For this team there's no next year," Poulianos said. "It's here and now and I think we've spent the entire season just getting ready for the playoffs."
Despite running roughshod over League VII, the Royals can look back at last year's championship run that concluded with four one-goal wins, including an overtime and double overtime game. "Their goal from day one of practice was to win a state championship," Poulianos said. "They've stayed really focused during the course of the season and we've been able to play well enough to put us in this position where we're now four games away from it."
The next game for Port Jefferson will be against perennial Nassau contender Friends Academy in the Southeast Regional Semifinal / Long Island championship at 11 a.m. Monday at Mitchel Athletic Complex. It will be the fourth consecutive championship match up between the two schools and the winner has gone on to win the state championship each year.
"I think it will be our biggest challenge of the season," Poulianos said. "I think it will be a one-goal game either way. I don't see anybody walking off the field with a four goal win and I think it's going to be 80 tough minutes and a tight finish."