Marcio Rodriguez of Evergreen Charter celebrates his goal in the LI...

Marcio Rodriguez of Evergreen Charter celebrates his goal in the LI Class C boys soccer championship against Pierson/Bridgehampton on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Credit: Neil Miller

The boys soccer team celebrating and posing so happily for photos on the Mitchel Athletic Complex turf arrived with just one senior and only two wins in 10 tries in this first season as a varsity program after one season playing on the JV circuit.

And yet the Evergreen Charter Bears, who were the only Class C team in Nassau and appeared in Tuesday’s Long Island C championship game without having to play a postseason match, blanked Suffolk winner Pierson/Bridgehampton, 2-0.


“Oh my God, it’s crazy,” coach Jose Figueroa said. “This is amazing. It’s so good. I’m so happy for the kids.

“We only have a senior. I’m so happy because that means I’m going to have the same team next year, and we’ll be facing … stronger teams than this. For us, it wasn’t that easy, but it was easier than competing with [Class] B.”

Figueroa thought that facing B teams previously “helped us a lot” in winning this championship game.

“It feels great,” Marcio Rodriguez said through an interpreter after the junior midfielder played a leading role with a goal and an assist.

So this team from Hempstead will play at Mitchel at noon Friday in the regional final against the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Section I winner North Salem and Section IX champ Mount Academy.

“[The title] means a lot,” said Alex Cruz, who made three saves in earning the shutout. “It’s the first year we started and we win it for the first time. I’m really proud of the team for that.”

The Bears finally broke through with 23:09 left. Rodriguez drove a shot from about 20 yards out past George Ingolia, who made six saves along the way.

Rodriguez then fed the ball toward the middle to Dary Duarte for the insurance goal with 17:51 remaining.

Through an interpreter, Duarte praised the team’s communication.

Cruz was happy about it, too.

“We focused on communication, not arguing with each other,” the junior goalkeeper said. “We fixed that.”

Pierson/Bridgehampton, which outlasted Greenport, 5-4, on penalty kicks in the Suffolk title game, ended up at 9-9.

“I just think we didn’t capitalize on our chances, the few chances we created,” coach Luis Aguilar said.

So was he surprised the Whalers lost to this young group?

“No, anything can happen in soccer,” Aguilar said. “That’s why we play the sport. That’s why we love it.”

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