A shock wave was sent through the Southampton boys soccer team Saturday.
The No. 1 Mariners, which went on a 12-0 run to start the season en route to the program’s first Suffolk County final appearance since 2015, lost in the November 2 Class B championship game to Center Moriches, 3-1.
“It’s unfortunate. There was probably a bit of nerves, definitely some unlucky breaks, and Center Moriches did a good job playing out the clock at the end and changing their formation to make it tough to get through,” head coach Dave Riley said. “But what a great group of seniors this has been. They made an impact on Southampton soccer for sure.”
The No. 2 Red Devils (14-2-2) came in hot, with Michael Luongo (two goals) rocketing a shot into the right corner past a diving Ashton Triffitt (three saves) for the 1-0 lead with the game less than 10 minutes old. Two minutes later, Southampton senior forward and co-captain Parker West attempted to even things with a big kick up the middle off a cross-field pass, but the ball was stopped by Colin Raupp (seven saves).
“That goal by Luongo was world class,” Riley said. “Nothing you can do on that one. I thought the guys responded well; they did everything they should have.”
At the 24:03 mark, West got one past goalkeeper and made it a new game. He got the ball from 30 yards out, dribbled it up to the top of the box, regained possession off Raupp’s deflection, and knocked it into an open net.
“We played a good game,” West said. “We played our hearts out.”
Ryan McDermott made it 2-1 off a corner kick with 9:54 to go in the first half, and Luongo 3-1 when the ball bounced through to him — open and unmarked — after three Southampton defenders raced to bat the ball away from his teammate. Center back Anthony Sundermann also made it difficult for the Mariners to get the ball to goal.
“They kept their edge, but I’d like to think we could beat them on another day,” Riley said. “That’s the heartbreak of soccer.”
The group of seniors have a chemistry unmatched by most teams, with the boys playing together since they were 3 and 4 years old.
“We’re practically family at this point,” senior midfielder and co-captain Logan Whitall said. “Every week we’re with each other at least five days a week.”
“Regardless, the season was fun,” senior midfielder and co-captain Joey Avallone said.
Senior back and co-captain Ben Luss said while these things happen, there’s a silver lining.
“It’s a good lesson learned — good thing to take with you through life, a tough hardship like this,” he said. “You have to be proud of what you did all season. You can’t take it away from anyone on this team.”