For three straight years, the result was the same.
Pierson and Southold would meet in the Suffolk Class C soccer championship, and Southold would always win. It was such a routine that when it finally changed those involved were at a loss for words.
“I’m sort of in a daze,” said Pierson coach Peter Solow, whose No. 1 Whalers defeated the No. 3 Settlers, 1-0, Saturday at Diamond in the Pines. “I’m used to coming here and going through this and then having our players on the field afterwards in tears.”
There were no tears, just a frenetic sideline after Borys Zasada received Luis Padilla’s pass over the top and scored a breakaway goal with 3:14 left. The Whalers (11-4), who last won a county title in 1995, will face Florida S.S. Seward Institute (Orange County, N.Y.) in a state regional semifinal Tuesday at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
“I’m really hyped that we won,” Padilla said. “We created so many chances in the beginning but couldn’t finish them. Thank God we got the goal.”
Zasada is certainly thankful, too. He initially thought he would miss the shot.
“When the ball was played over to me and I got control I was like I might miss this,” Zasada said. “When I got to a second before I shot I was like I can’t miss this. There’s no way, and I didn’t.”
Southold (7-11) had plenty of chances, but Kevin Feliciano made three saves and the Settlers also missed a few shots from close range. That all added up to a broken routine.
“They’re a good team, and it was close every year,” said senior Charlie Pintado, the Whalers’ only four-year player. “They had a good team this year, but we’ve been working hard all season and we deserved to win.”
Center Moriches wins Suffolk Class B title
There’s no doubt about it: Ben Hamilton can score.
The Center Moriches junior has more goals than anyone in Suffolk, other than Glenn’s potent duo of Luke Karen (30) and Andrew Lule (23). But neither Karen, Lule nor anyone else has more assists than Hamilton (23 goals, 17 assists).
Rather than lead No. 2 Center Moriches with his finishing ability, Hamilton deftly assisted a pair of goals in a 3-0 win over No. 1 Babylon to earn a Tuesday date against Nassau champion Carle Place.
“Even though he’s one of the best scorers in the county, having two assists in a county championship is priceless,” coach Chris O’Brien said.
Hamilton took a ball down the right side and crossed it towards the net in the 27th minute. Liam Pulsipher made a run toward the goal and converted the pass into a 1-0 lead.
“That gave us the momentum,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been scoring goals in bursts all season. In that part we didn’t, but we scored two in two minutes in the second half and it got us rolling.”
Jhon Quizhpe ripped a 30-yarder into the net in the 54th minute. Not even two full minutes later, Hamilton perfectly placed a ball to Eric Amaya, who beat two defenders and scored.
Those two goals took the wind out of the sails of No. 1 Babylon, which reached the postseason for the first time since 2005, according to coach Dennis McGovern.
“You can’t ask for a better player than [Hamilton],” Amaya said. “He always looks for me. I always look for him, and we always play together.”