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Andrew Lule’s hat trick leads Glenn over Southampton

Andrew Lule #5 of Glenn, left, gets congratulated

Andrew Lule #5 of Glenn, left, gets congratulated by teammate Thomas Witthuhn #22 after he scored his third goal of the match in the second half of a Suffolk League VI boys soccer game against Southampton at Glenn High School on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Photo Credit: James Escher

Here’s a scary thought for Suffolk Class A boys soccer: Even at less than 100 percent, Andrew Lule is dominant.

The senior midfielder posted his third hat trick in four games this season, leading Glenn to a 6-3 win over visiting Southampton on Friday. Thomas Witthuhn had a goal and an assist.

Lule told coach Lou Hanner he was not feeling well during the school day, and Hanner sent him home when he learned the match’s 4:30 start would be delayed an hour because of a heat advisory.

“He never — I’ve known him for four years — he never says he doesn’t feel well, especially on a big game like today,” Hanner said.

Lule’s play on the field indicated everything was fine.

In the fifth minute, he gathered a loose ball off Christian Velasquez’s back and scored from just inside the top of the box to give Glenn a 1-0 lead. Four minutes later, he got just enough on Joe Franzese’s long ball into the box to double Glenn’s lead.

And after Southampton had cut a three-goal deficit to 3-2, Lule rose above the pack and headed in Adam Astarita’s corner kick in the 65th minute. Southampton never got within one goal again.

“You can’t give him an inch,” Southampton coach Dave Riley said.

For Lule, Friday was just the continuation of a start he never could have envisioned. He already has 10 goals and three assists after posting four goals and 10 assists all of last season.

“It’s just surreal,” Lule said. “It feels like it’s not happening.”

Lule said he dedicated his summer toward evolving into a potent player capable of carrying a team. In the afternoons, he spent hours on the field, taking shots and refining his passing and touches. In the evenings, he ran three miles.

His motivation: the gut-wrenching memory of Amityville celebrating its overtime victory over Glenn in the 2015 county semifinals. And the semifinal loss to Comsewogue two years ago. And losses in the finals when he was a freshman and an eighth-grader.

Glenn has not won a county title since 2007.

Said Lule: “I just want to get [that] back.”

For Southampton, this season is a new challenge.

The Mariners won the 2015 Suffolk Class B title but moved up to Class A this season. Suffolk coaches voted Southampton as the sixth best Class A team in the preseason and the second in League VI.

So Friday’s match against Glenn, which ranked second in Suffolk Class A in the preseason and first in League VI, offered an opportunity for the Mariners to gauge their standing among the new competition.

“This is what we’re here for, matches like this,” Riley said. “We were a little flat here and there, but we played well.”

Though the Mariners (1-1) allowed six goals and trailed 3-0 after 47 minutes, they fought until the final whistle. Carlos Rodriguez scored and then assisted Devon O’Brien’s goal in a three-minute span that cut the gap to 3-2 with 27:25 left. And Rodriguez scored again with 4:53 remaining to make it 5-3.

“They weren’t quitting,” Hanner said. “They battled. I’m impressed.”

Said Riley: “They showed that they had some gumption and they didn’t give up. That was a high energy game. I’m proud of them. We’ve come from behind before, so they know what that takes. They left it all on the field for sure.”

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