MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — It was only a few minutes after Pierson/Bridgehampton’s 2-0 loss against Lansing in the state Class C boys soccer semifinal, and the Whalers’ Sam Warne started reminiscing.
“I grew up with this program,” said a smiling Warne, who attends Pierson. “I remember playing soccer behind the school.”
Although this season didn’t end the way Warne and the Whalers (17-2-1) wanted on Saturday, it didn’t take away from a successful season and the program’s first-ever trip to a state semifinal.
“For us to get this far, I’m really proud of the team,” Warne said. “We had three or four chances, but we couldn’t capitalize.”
But that’s exactly what Lansing (19-2) did just four minutes into the game. Senior midfielder Nick Parkes scored his 15th goal of the season as Lansing — which advances to Sunday’s state final — took a 1-0 lead.
“That took us by surprise,” said Whalers senior goalkeeper Will Martin, who made eight saves. “It happened so quick, we didn’t even know what to expect.”
From that point on, both teams played well and had scoring chances. Martin — who attends Pierson — made a huge stop in the 19th minute to keep it to a one-goal deficit.
The best chance for a Whalers goal in the first half came in 27th minute on a shot from Grady Burton, but Lansing’s Jack Yahn (7 saves) made the stop.
Martin made key saves in both the 62nd and 68th minute to give the Whalers hope. Warne took a sliding shot from about 20 yards out a few minutes later, but couldn’t get much on the ball.
Finally, Lansing added a second goal in the 77th minute, as the Whalers’ run finally came to an end.
“I didn’t even have an expectation or an understanding that we could get this far before this season,” Whalers coach Peter Solow said. “I’ve never coached a team that was as much as a family as this group. They cared for each other and played hard for each other. I couldn’t be prouder.”
The Whalers had no regrets as they walked off the field as a team for the last time this season.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Martin said. “This has been an unbelievable group, who really bonded with one another. It’s going to be an adjustment to not see each other every day, anymore.”