By Gavin Menu
After an hour of tightly-played and highly-intense soccer, Jack Fitzpatrick found himself alone with only Southold goaltender John Charles Funke standing between him and the Pierson-Bridgehampton soccer team’s biggest win of the year so far.
Fitzpatrick, Pierson’s junior center-midfielder, was the beneficiary of two great passes from Jesus Padilla and Ian Barrett and scored the game winner with 47 seconds gone in double overtime.
It was Fitzpatrick’s second goal of the game for the Whalers, who claimed a 3-2 victory, their first win in two years over their rivals from the North Fork.
“I was wide open so I couldn’t miss,” Fitzpatrick said afterwards. “Jesus laid it off to me with a nice pass and I just put it away.”
Following the game, Pierson head coach Peter Solow called Fitzpatrick a patient player who often finds himself in the right spot at the right time.
“Jack is one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever known,” Solow said. “Sometimes you’ll think he’s not getting many touches but then he’s right there when it matters.”
The Whalers capped an impressive week in which they tied Smithtown Christian, 1-1, on September 17 and beat Stony Brook, 3-2, September 19.
Fitzpatrick scored the lone goal against Smithtown Christian and scored a goal, along with Padilla and Drew Harvey, in the win over Stony Brook.
With their dramatic victory over Southold on Monday, the Whalers improved to 2-0-1 and are in first place in League VIII.
“We’ve been in every game and we haven’t played up to our potential,” Solow said after the Southold game. “Today we came back from two goals down and it was a war of attrition at the end. It could have gone either way.”
Southold struck early with goals by Joseph Worysz and Drew Sacher coming within two minutes of each other early in the first half. Fitzpatrick assisted on a goal by Padilla at the 6:57 mark and later Pierson was given a gift as the clock was running out in the half.
An indirect kick near the Southold goal was intruded on by the Settlers’ defense, prompting the referee to stop the clock with nine seconds remaining. On the ensuing kick, a handball was called and Fitzpatrick was awarded a penalty kick with just four seconds left. He knocked in the goal and Pierson went into halftime tied at 2-2 and with momentum firmly on its side.
Pierson goalie Nick Stevens made eight saves in the game, including some big ones in the second half. He played well despite having a slight leg injury.
“He’s been exceptional this year and has been one of the major reasons why we’re better this year,” Solow said of Stevens. “He had a very solid game today.”
Following a scoreless first overtime, Stevens tossed a well-placed outlet pass to Harvey, who streaked up the left sideline dribbling the ball. He passed to Barrett, who then passed to Padilla, who found Fitzpatrick slipping through the Settlers defense. He knocked in the game-winner to launch a wild celebration and cap what was a difficult game all around.
“Later on we’re going to be playing some of the bigger schools, we’re playing Eastport-South Manor, we already played Mt. Sinai, and at the end of the season we’re playing Mattituck and Southampton,” Solow said. “If we survive the season, we’ll be in great shape for the playoffs.”