By Gavin Menu
It had been a long couple of days for the Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer team, as rivalry week turned bad and out-of-town foes got the best of the Whalers during the opening stretch of the 2012 season.
The Whalers suffered grueling non-league losses to Hampton Bays and Westhampton last week, and, more devastating, they lost one of the team’s key players in junior Nick Kruel, who suffered a compound fracture to his ankle in the game against Hampton Bays. Kruel was rushed to the hospital and will be out for the remainder of the season.
And so when Southampton showed up at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday and quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, it looked like more bad news for the Whalers.
But then something magical happened.
Two second-half goals by Whalers Drew Harvey and Forrest Loesch sent the game to overtime, and then good defense by both sides sent it to a second overtime, where Pierson’s Alex Liro scored a miraculous goal in the final two minutes to give the Whalers a most unlikely win during what has been an especially difficult early season.
“It was really a measure of the quality of the team,” head coach Peter Solow said soon after the game had ended. “We gave up a lot of goals in the first two games we played, and they were tough games. And Southampton is a terrific team as well, so to come back like that showed a lot.”
The win sent Pierson into this weekend’s final games of the Bridgehampton National Bank Cup tournament with a 1-1 tournament record, and an overall record of 1-2 following a 5-1 loss to Westhampton on September 8. That came in the wake of a 6-2 loss to Hampton Bays on September 7, the day Kruel was lost to injury.
Even in the game against Southampton, Solow took the non-league games as an opportunity to play most of his roster, which is something he feels will be beneficial when the League VIII season starts today, September 13, at home against Smithtown Christian.
The final games of the BNB Cup will be played this Saturday, September 15, at Greenport High School, where Pierson will face Center Moriches at 4 p.m. The tournament, which also includes Greenport and Southold, along with Hampton Bays and Southampton, will award the team with the most total wins as the champion. In the event of a tie, the champion will be decided by goal differential
Lady Whalers Soccer
The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls soccer team will have a week off to prepare before they begin their League VIII season next Thursday, September 20, at home against McGann-Mercy. The Lady Whalers, who missed out on the postseason last year by just one game, lost, 2-1, in a hard-fought non-league match against East Hampton on Saturday and then played a scoreless tie with Southampton on Tuesday.
Goalie Julia Schiavoni played well in both games, totaling 20 saves, 11 of which came on Tuesday against Southampton.
The East Hampton game was the season-opener for both teams and the Lady Whalers fell behind 2-0 on goals by East Hampton forward Rachel Harty. Early in the second half, senior midfielder Sophie Gianis scored a beautiful goal from the left corner after a great pass by Sara Hartman that pulled the Lady Whalers within striking distance. Both teams had scoring chances late in the game, but many of the players showed fatigue, which is common early in the season, according to Lady Whalers head coach Haley Luzim, who said she would stress fitness during this week of practice before the league season begins.
“We’re going in the right direction,” Luzim said. “In our scrimmage we weren’t playing together; but today they tried to possess the ball more and defensively they were more in command.”