By Gavin Menu
For more than a half of play on Saturday night, the Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer team was in complete control of perennial Class B powerhouse Southampton, leading 3-1 on the Mariners’ home turf.
But like most great programs do when they are down, Southampton fought back, tied the game late in regulation and went on to win the non-league meeting five minutes into overtime on Jesse Scanlon’s third goal of the game.
It was the Whalers’ first loss since September 10, before the League VIII season even began.
“We played as well as we have all year,” head coach Peter Solow said. “We were very intense in the beginning but we ran out of gas. We now have two weeks to improve our conditioning.”
The Whalers played another tough non-league game against Mattituck on Tuesday and now turn their attention to the Suffolk County Class C Championship, which will be played against Southold on Saturday, November 2 at Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram at 1 p.m.
The Whalers last played at Diamond in the Pines late last fall, when they were dismantled by Port Jefferson in the county final. Port Jeff is a Class B team this season, which leaves only rival Southold between Pierson and a county championship. Solow believes that goal is in reach, especially if the team plays as well as they did against Southampton on Saturday.
“It was a good experience for our guys,” he said about playing the Mariners, who are a playoff team in Class B. “I’m pleased — not with the result — but because we were playing a very competitive team and it was a battle for everything.”
Senior forward Forrest Loesch scored two goals to lead the Whalers and Jack Fitzpatrick scored his 18th goal of the season as Pierson took a 3-1 lead to the midway point of the second half. Pierson dominated the midfield for the entire game, aside from a 10-minute period to close out the game in which Southampton tacked on two goals to send the game into overtime, where Scanlon launched a perfectly-placed long ball into the back of the net over the outreached arms of Pierson goalie Nick Stevens.
“There wasn’t anyone who didn’t have a good game for us,” said Solow, who rarely beams with such pride while the season is still in progress. “Now we need to play like we did in the first half for an entire game.”