Your thoughts, Sean Moran, after watching your shot find the net for the winning goal yesterday?
Uhh, well, he didn't actually see it. The midfielder flicked the ball toward the right corner of the net and by the time it went in, his back already was turned as he raced toward teammate Ryan DiGregorio.
"If it hadn't gone in, that would've looked pretty bad," Moran said with a chuckle. "But once I hit it, I knew it was good."
And knew his team was again a champion. Moran's goal, with 42 seconds left in overtime, lifted No. 2 Southold over top-seeded Pierson/Bridgehampton, 1-0, as the Settlers captured a second consecutive Suffolk Class C title.
"I've been on bus rides after playoff losses," said DiGregorio, who had the assist. "That's made me thoroughly appreciate these last two seasons."
Southold had a shot saved with 58 seconds left, but Shayne Johnson regained possession. He sent the ball to DiGregorio, who squibbed a short pass to Moran on the left flank. Moran, using his left instep, fired from about 8 yards into the far corner.
And pandemonium ensued as the players, delirious, rushed the field in celebration. Joe Worysz repeatedly jumped for joy, about 40 inches off the ground.
Nassau has no Class C teams, so the Settlers (12-5) advance to the regional final at 11 a.m. Saturday at Diamond in the Pines.
"There was a greater sense of urgency in overtime," Southold coach Andrew Sadowski said. "They wanted it to end right there."
It almost ended three minutes earlier, in favor of the Whalers (11-6). Jack Fitzpatrick fired from about 10 yards, but goalie John Funke made a diving stop to save Southold. The Settlers controlled the first half and had a 7-2 edge in shots, but Pierson's low defense and Chase Zimmerman (eight saves) kept it scoreless.
Michael Christman, Zach Ellis and Alex Lincoln led a smothering Southold defense. "We communicated well and everyone marked up," Christman said of containing Fitzpatrick, Suffolk's second-leading scorer with 21 goals and 15 assists. "We were totally focused. In a game like this, there was no way we could let up."
There won't be a letup now, either, the Settlers insisted. "This is amazing, but we're not done yet," Moran said. "Our work is just beginning because the real goal is a state title."
His vision of that is clear.