It sunk in for Carle Place's Dylan Klein moments before the start of the second half. The senior forward said the thought that he was 40 minutes away from potentially ending his varsity soccer career ran rampant in his mind.
He wasn't about to let Saturday's game be his last.
Powered by a goal and an assist from Klein in the second half, and a stingy defensive effort from senior Matt Carr, top-seeded Carle Place captured the Nassau Class B championship with a 3-2 win over No. 2 Wheatley at Adelphi. It's the first time Carle Place's boys soccer program has won consecutive county championships, according to coach Allen Foraker.
Carle Place (14-0-1) will play Mattituck at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Diamond in the Pines for the Long Island championship. Wheatley finished 10-5.
"It hit me hard, the thought this could've been it," Klein said. "It meant I had to do something in this game. Even if we were up one goal to nothing heading into the second half, I had to make a difference."
Said Foraker, "I told him we needed 40 minutes of Dylan Klein-type soccer."
Klein scored a goal from about 15 yards 12 minutes into the second half to put his team ahead, 2-0.
Brian Delay, who led Nassau with 16 goals this season, responded less than 10 minutes later with a goal for Wheatley. The Wildcats further secured momentum when goalkeeper Andrew Tripi, who had 12 saves, made consecutive kick-saves on close-range shots a few minutes later.
Yet Klein, again, made his presence known. While right near the crease, Klein took a step back with the ball, faked to his right and then fed teammate Pat Browne to give Carle Place a 3-1 lead with 17:30 left.
Jake Barroca scored with about seven minutes left for Wheatley, but Carle Place then dominated possession.
Carr made a plethora of key clears and tackles during the first half, and his clear with 17 seconds left while Wheatley was threatening from close range sealed the win.
"I was trying to give it everything I had this whole game," Carr said.
For Klein, after he realized his high school soccer career wasn't over quite, focus immediately shifted to what eluded his team last year -- a Long Island championship.
"It's definitely been a thought that has been lingering around us all season," Klein said. "Our goal was to get back there."