Smithtown Christian stands alone in its class.
"From Manhattan to Montauk, we are the only Class D boys soccer team," Knights coach Pat Nieto is fond of saying.
That means Smithtown Christian never really knows where it stands among the state's other Class D schools until the playoffs. After a 4-6 league record in Suffolk VIII, Nieto petitioned to get his team into this year's state tournament. "You don't always get a winning record when you have to play only A, B and C schools. But last year, we only lost, 3-2, in this game," Nieto said.
On Tuesday, however, Smithtown Christian found itself overmatched against undefeated Fort Ann, from the Lake George region, and fell, 3-0, in a state Class D sub-regional at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
"They were a very good team and we were nervous early," Nieto said of his 20-0 opponent.
Fort Ann's Tyler Ward took advantage with two goals in the first 5:22. "After the nervousness was put aside, we played with some confidence," Nieto said.
That was especially true for sophomore goalkeeper Aydin Olgun, who was under siege for much of the game but made nine saves to keep the score respectable. "He was on the JV last year and this is his first big game," Nieto said. "I have high hopes for him."
Olgun was especially proud of his diving stop with 5:37 left to prevent Ward from getting a hat trick he clearly wanted. "You could tell he was trying hard for that," Olgun said. "Once we got scored on early, we woke up. It was the first big game for a lot of us. We started to figure out who their best players were and got used to how they play. We played really hard in the second half and it will help us in the future. I really did love this experience."