Friday Update: The Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer team clinched a playoff berth on Thursday with a 2-1 road win over Stony Brook. Christian Bautista and John Chisholm scored goals for the Whalers and Alex Gurvich added an assist. Bautista also assisted on the goal by Chisholm and Ian Barrett made three saves in goal.
The Whalers (6-3-1) will play at Greenport tomorrow night and a win would assure the team of the third-seed in the Suffolk County Class C playoffs, which would mean an opening-round game against Southold on Wednesday, October 31. Undefeated Port Jefferson has locked up the top seed for the playoffs.
From Thursday’s edition:
By Gavin P. Menu
Potential has never been a problem for the Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer team. Consistently living up to that potential seems to be where the Whalers fall short.
“We’re capable of playing a beautiful kind of soccer,” head coach Peter Solow said late on Tuesday after the Whalers had defeated rival Ross, 3-1, in a chilly road game up Route 114. “These guys are capable of playing better than any team I’ve ever coached, but they’re not doing it on a consistent basis.”
Pierson (5-3-1, League VIII) dominated the action during an extremely physical game against Ross and moved one win away from clinching a berth in the Suffolk County Class C playoffs, which begin Wednesday, October 31.
Jack Fitzpatrick, Forrest Loesch and John Chisholm scored goals for Pierson, while Ross’s Ben Stein scored the lone goal for the Cosmos late in the second half, long after the game’s outcome had been determined.
Solow was not pleased with his team’s performance, however, and after the game pointed instead to the team’s 3-2 loss to Southold on October 10, saying it was “one of our most complete performances of the year.” Solow said that kind of effort is required to propel the Whalers to the postseason, and even allow them some success once they arrive.
“That game could have gone either way,” Solow said of the game against Southold, which defeated Pierson twice this year and sits in second place behind undefeated Port Jefferson. “I always said right from the beginning of the season that we could match up well against them.”
The Southold game was tied, 2-2, late in the second half on Pierson goals by Christian Bautista and Alex Liro. The Settlers were awarded a free kick just outside the goal box with less than two minutes to play and Southold’s Cole Hiney scored on the ensuing play to take a lead that held up over the frantic final minute.
What Solow would like best is to win at least two of its remaining games against Greenport, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson, which in all likelihood would give the Whalers the third-seed in the Class C playoffs and a likely third meeting with Southold. Greenport, if it gets in with the fourth seed, would play top-ranked Port Jeff, which is also the defending New York State champion.
“I don’t want to go on the road and lose to Greenport and I don’t want to go on the road to lose to Stony Brook,” Solow told his players during an impassioned postgame speech. “And when Port Jefferson comes to our place on Tuesday, I want to beat them.”
In order to do that, however, Solow said the Whalers would have to play at their best, with all their different components working together. Bautista, the team’s senior captain, has been masterful at times running the team’s offense from the midfield, and has helped set up an abundance of scoring chances that far too often the team has been unable to capitalize on.
“Christian is the catalyst for almost everything we do,” Solow said when asked about the role Bautista plays. “The irony is that for everything he and Alex [Liro] and Giordan (Zeas) are able to do with setting us up, we’ve had 20 opportunities to score where we were one-on-one with the goalie and we didn’t put the ball on goal. That has to change against these better teams.”
The Whalers will play at Stony Brook today, October 18, at 4:30 p.m. and then at Greenport on Saturday night at 6 p.m. under lights. The regular-season finale against Port Jeff will be on Tuesday at Mashashimuet Park at 4:30 p.m.
Lady Whalers Also Have Chance at Playoffs
Clad in pink uniforms to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Pierson-Bridgehampton girls soccer team scored a 4-2 win over Ross at home on Monday to improve to 4-4-1 with three games remaining this week.
The Lady Whalers were 2-1 over the last week with a 1-0 loss to Southold-Greenport on Friday as the lone blemish. A 3-1 win over Mercy on October 11 coupled with the win over Ross on Monday will give the team a chance this week to claim a berth in the Suffolk County Class C playoffs.
Against Mercy, freshman Courtney Kinsella scored two goals and Zoe Diskin scored once. In the win over Ross, Sabrina Baum scored two goals while Vanessa Cruz and Sophie Gianis scored one goal apiece.
With a .500 record required in order to advance into the playoffs, Pierson will have to win two of its last three games against Stony Brook, Port Jefferson and Smithtown Christian. The first two games will be on the road, today at Stony Brook at 4:30 p.m. and at Port Jefferson on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Whalers, who are 0-2-1 against those teams so far this season, will close out the regular season at home on Monday against Smithtown Christian at 4:30 p.m.