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Lael Kutame leads Stony Brook to PSAA boys soccer crown

Goalie makes six saves to hold off Long Island Lutheran for first PSAA title.

Lael Kutame preserves a 2-1 lead in second

Lael Kutame preserves a 2-1 lead in second half for Stony Brook against Long Island Lutheran. Photo Credit: James Escher

The final minutes dragged on for Stony Brook in its PSAA boys soccer championship match with Long Island Lutheran Friday.

Stony Brook was up but Lutheran was ready to strike at any minute. With 10 seconds left, the countdown started on the sidelines.

After time ran out, the Stony Brook squad became the new PSAA boys soccer champions defeating Long Island Lutheran, 2-1, Friday afternoon at Cantiague Park.

The win, like the final minutes of the game, was a long time coming for the Bears.

“I waited a long time for this win,” goalie Lael Kutame said.

Jai Narain added, “Getting here is something we haven’t accomplished in our four years. We always came up short…It’s been a long time since we got a win in the playoffs. We put in a lot of work this season and the win makes it all worth it.”

Kutame and Narain joined the team together in the eighth grade and according to Narain, “worked their butts off to make it on the varsity squad.”

They did the same to secure the win.

Lutheran scored first. Andre Curbelo received the ball and went 1-on-1 with Kutame, a move he saw throughout the match. This time it worked, giving Lutheran a 1-0 lead with 4:41 remaining in the first half.

The Bears came back stronger in the second.

Narain tied the score with 38:10 on the clock. There was a fumble near the net, the ball was dropped and Narain pounced.

“Every game you get that one chance on a bad break,” Narain said. “I saw the ball and didn’t think about anything except putting the ball in the net.”

Mo Romeus scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty kick with 18:22 on the clock.

“Over the summer all we practiced was penalty kicks,” Romeus said. “I wasn’t ready when I went up there but I knew my team believed in me.”

Kutame totaled six saves. He wasn’t afraid to get out of the box and assist the defense, stopping the breakaways. “It took a lot of hardwork figuring out how far I can go out,” Kutame said.

Narain gave Kutame more credit, “There’s no goalie who puts in more work than Lael. He’s there late early all the time.”

The win ends a 20-year drought for the Bears (13-3-2) in boys soccer. Narain and Kutame are graduating but Romeus will be left to continue the winning tradition.

“There’s been a lot of ups and down with this team,” Romeus said. “But pulling through with this team is special for me. I’ll keep doing my best for them.”

Narain shook Romeus’ head and added, “He’ll be back for us!”

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