Mattituck falls, 3-1, in state soccer semifinal

Livonia's Jack Simpson, left, and Sean Kidder pressure Livonia's Jack Simpson, left, and Sean Kidder pressure the ball from Mattituck's Stephan Urwand. (Nov. 17, 2012) Photo Credit: Adrian Kraus

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MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- After scoring a goal less than a minute into Saturday's state Class B boys soccer semifinal, it seemed as if Mattituck was on its way to a big day. But in soccer, things aren't always what they seem, evidenced in Livonia's comeback 3-1 victory to end Mattituck's run at a state title.

"I thought today was the day that the better team lost," Mattituck coach Matt Litchhult said. "That's the frustrating part about soccer; the better team doesn't always walk away with the victory."

The Tuckers (16-4-1) took an early lead when senior David Burkhardt scored 38 seconds into the first half. A defender deflected the ball and it landed at the feet of Burkhardt, who then fired it past a diving Sean Smith.

Mattituck continued to put pressure on the Bulldogs (20-0-1), dominating possession early on and getting some great opportunities. Livonia's Smith made some great saves.

"I thought [Smith] was excellent," Litchhult said. "He played a great game in the back. It was definitely what kept them in the match. I thought our strikers did their best to put their back line under pressure."

Despite the Tuckers' early domination, Livonia tied it in the 19th minute as Kory Zimmer scored. It was the first shot attempt by the Bulldogs, as Mattituck played excellent defense up to that point.

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The Tuckers did not let up, however. A shot attempt from a little over 30 yards went off the crossbar. "We controlled the entire play in the first half," Litchhult said.

The Bulldogs went ahead in the 54th minute when Mitch Kinney scored on a header. From then on, it was all Livonia, as the Bulldogs played the possession game to keep the ball away from Mattituck.

"I think we got a little out of our game, unfortunately,"Litchhult said. " did disrupt our flow a little bit; we started playing too direct, and that's not our game."

Holley capped the scoring with 3:00 left with a goal off a rebound.

Mattituck won its third consecutive county title. Burkhardt ended his high school career by scoring four goals and adding three assists. Mattituck won four games in six days to get to this point, including a 1-0 double-overtime win in the Long Island championship and a 5-4 win in the Southeast Regional final.

"The boys should be proud of themselves, they're champions," Litchhult said. "The way they played over the last 10 days put Mattituck and the community on a fantastic run. They should never look back on this and be disappointed."

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