Lightning streaked across the sky, whistles blew, horns sounded, and, in a flash, Miller Place’s main goal switched from stopping Rocky Point’s suddenly relentless offensive attack to making it to the bus before the skies opened up.
And the Panthers made it, with mere seconds to spare. They rolled out of the parking lot carrying in barely dry jerseys and with a 1-0 lightning shortened victory over Rocky Point in a League V boys soccer game at Rocky Point High School Wednesday afternoon.
The match was called with 14:40 left and Rocky Point (2-2) furiously trying to net an equalizer. At least in the immediate aftermath, the game was considered official. However, Suffolk officials do have the option of resuming it if they see fit, referee Gene Murphy said.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Miller Place’s Nick Evola said. “The whole game, we were locking them down. We were really pressing hard.”
Evola scored the game-winner in the 31st minute, a tad surprised as he watched his attempted cross-feed sail into the upper righthand corner of the net.
“We had everyone trying to get on the back post, crash in, and see if anything can go in,” Evola said. “It went in. It was kind of lucky but, either way, we had people on the back post trying to get in.”
The second half, before the lightning struck, quickly turned into a defensive clinic, with Miller Place (2-2) trying to disrupt every bit of offense that Rocky Point could muster.
“We stepped into every ball and didn’t let them win anything or turn,” Evola said. “It made it hard for them to get anything off.”
“We had started to put pressure on them,” Rocky Point coach Joe Camarda said. “But we started the game flat and we woke up a little bit too late.”
Miller Place goalkeeper Kyle Korade made eight saves.
Miller Place came out strong in the first half, holding the offensive momentum for the majority of the first ten minutes. They were able to force Rocky Point shots wide later in the half.
Despite the disappointment, Camarda did take some positives out of the lightning- shortened loss.
“There were a lot of moments when we were moving the ball and they were doing what I was asking, trying to open up the field and play quicker,” he said. “When we were doing that, we had opportunities. But, when they were holding the ball too long, we were just feeding into their style of play.”