By Gavin Menu
When it was announced earlier this year that perennial boys soccer powerhouse Port Jefferson had moved up to League VII and Class B for this season, a glimmer of hope appeared in the collective eye of the Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer program. With Port Jeff stumbling through a two-win season, the Whalers are now the class of League VIII.
The team’s 2-1 road win at second-place Southold on Friday clinched Pierson’s first league title since “the last century,” according to head coach Peter Solow, and improved the Whalers’ league record to 8-0-1 with just one game remaining on the league schedule.
The Whalers, who are 9-2-2 overall, hosted winless Knox School last night after press time, a team they beat 11-0 in their first meeting earlier this year.
Solow on Tuesday said the game against Southold (7-2 League VIII) was extremely competitive and physical, which was no surprise considering Southold’s only two losses in league play this year came against the Whalers, both by one-goal margins.
“We’re going to have to play them again in the playoffs,” Solow said, adding that it may be just two teams that will qualify from Class C. “They are a very effective team, a very good team, and I think for portions of the game on Friday they outplayed us. It really could have gone either way.”
Pierson junior Jack Fitzpatrick scored both goals against Southold, the second coming late in the second half off a breakaway set up by senior Forrest Loesch, Pierson’s tireless midfielder. The goal was Fitzpatrick’s 17th of the season, which is tied for the second highest total in Suffolk County behind James Thristino (22) of Comsewogue.
“Jack has been a revelation this year,” Solow said. “I knew he was going to be very good, but I didn’t know exactly how he was going to contribute. Since I’ve been coaching, I don’t think we’ve ever had a kid score even 10 goals in a season.”
Pierson senior Drew Harvey has 10 goals and five assists this season as part of a dangerous one-two punch for the Whalers, whose offense has clicked all season long.
“Last season I had three goals,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that he never expected the kind of productivity he has contributed this season. “The team chemistry on offense is the key to it all.”
Pierson likely cruised last night against Knox, but things are about to become decidedly more difficult for the Whalers, who will play non-league games against Southampton and Mattituck, two of the best Class B schools in Suffolk County over the last decade. Both games will be played on the road, starting Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Southampton.
Mattituck will host the Whalers on October 22 at 4 p.m., with the Suffolk County Class C playoffs tentatively scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 30.
“If we want to be successful in the playoffs we have to become more disciplined, we have to be more fit and we have to get 100 percent from all of the guys,” Solow said. “I don’t think there’s any better way of preparing for that than playing some really good schools. For us, to play them is going to be a massive challenge.”
Girls Soccer Falls at Home
The Lady Whalers girls soccer team has not been as successful this season and recently dropped two straight home games against tough competition. The team lost, 3-1, to Mattituck on October 10, with Zoe Diskin scoring a goal in the second half as the Lady Whalers could only muster four shots on goal. Hayley Lund had 8 saves in the game. Pierson lost, 6-0, to Port Jefferson on Tuesday to fall to 1-10 on the league season.
The Lady Whalers will play at Babylon tomorrow, October 18, at 4:30 p.m. before returning home on October 22 for a game against Stony Brook at 4:30 p.m. They will close out the regular season at Southold/Greenport on October 23 at 4 p.m.