Girls soccer, the first of East Hampton High’s teams to play in the postseason this week, thrilled its fans here Monday, defeating Westhampton Beach 4-3, thus coming out on top in the decade-old program’s first-ever playoff appearance.
Tiffany Lamprecht, the varsity assistant coach, who played on East Hampton’s first girls soccer team in 2000, said afterward that “we were playing today for Mike [Vitulli, East Hampton’s head coach, whose mother died this past weekend]. The girls dedicated this win to him.”
She told her charges in the postgame huddle that Vitulli, who was to have attended wakes that day and evening, would be “so proud of them.”
Lamprecht was proud too, though she admitted later that she’d also been a little nervous, especially when, following a stellar start, Bonac’s defense let the Hurricanes get back into the Class A outbracket game.
East Hampton’s junior forward, Raffi Franey, who seems to score just about every time she shoots, had a hat trick Monday. She scored the first time East Hampton went downfield, depositing a hard shot from the right side into the left corner of the visitors’ nets.
Soon after, in the 12th minute, Franey figured prominently again, bringing the ball down the right side before crossing it onto the feet of Amanda Seekamp, who, from about five yards out, tapped it by Westhampton’s beaten keeper.
And, with the first half barely at the midway point, Franey, whose shots match up well with those of the boys, blasted a high one from 10 yards out that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down over the goal line for 3-0.
It looked then that a rout was under way, but Westhampton, a team that East Hampton had twice defeated during the regular season, and which also went into the game with a 6-6 league record, was to wind up giving Bonac’s girls all they could handle, lending credence to the saying that it’s hard to defeat a team three times in a row.
Before the half ended, the visitors, presented with an angled free kick from about the 20 after a defender, Rebecca Friedes, had taken down a Westhampton attacker, got on the scoreboard, the kick into the goal mouth, which drew Bonac’s goalie, Kathryn Hess, out to the right, having been chested past her.
Still, at that point, with 8:23 left until the halftime break, it didn’t seem as if Westhampton would be capable of inflicting much more damage.
Franey contributed further to that ho-hum feeling when, in the first minute of the second period, she just missed, banging a well-aimed 20-yard shot off the crossbar.
Then Westhampton, which had some quick forwards, reasserted itself in surprising fashion, scoring goals in the 43rd and 45th minutes that tied the game — and wiped the satisfied smiles off the faces of Bonac’s fans — at 3-3.
Hess, who’s rangy and aggressive, couldn’t be blamed for either of them. A rebound from a great sliding save she’d made in thwarting a one-on-one breakaway accounted for the first, and the next, which tied the game, resulted from another defensive lapse that allowed a Westhampton forward to break in on the goal unhindered.
With the visitors emboldened now, the remaining half-hour of play proved to be tense indeed. In the 62nd minute, Hess had a close call as the ball zipped in front of her one way and then zipped back the other, without, luckily, a Westhampton foot having been applied to it.
Meanwhile, Lamprecht and Joe Vas, East Hampton’s athletic director, who has coached state-championship teams in boys and girls soccer in his career, were urging East Hampton’s attackers, some of whom were getting rid of the ball too soon, not to panic.
In the 73rd minute, East Hampton was awarded a corner kick. Seekamp took it, from the right side, and lofted the ball into the goal mouth where Franey, one of a number of attackers and defenders in contention, won out, heading in what was to be the game-winner as her teammates, those on the field and those on the bench, and Bonac’s fans leapt up.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy — we knew we’d be in a fight,” Lamprecht said afterward as East Hampton’s players, who had reached the outbracket playoff game as the result of defeating Amityville 3-1 on Friday night, celebrated.
The Bonackers were to have played at top-seeded Sayville Tuesday. The Golden Flashes shut East Hampton out 4-0 here last week, though the latter half of the second half, during which two of Sayville’s goals were scored, was played in the gloaming — in the dark really in the final minutes.
Seekamp, Franey, and Gabriella Penati scored Bonac’s goals Friday. “We must have had 20 shots in the first half, but it ended scoreless,” said Lamprecht. “In the second, Amityville scored first, but then we picked it up.”
Lamprecht reported as well that Franey has been named to the all-county team, that Hess, who’s a senior, and Seekamp, who’s a sophomore, have been named to the all-conference team, and that Saoirse McKeon, the senior sweeper, has been named to the all-league team.
Having made the playoffs was all the more notable, she agreed, given that during the season a number of players, including Tiffany Gutierrez, Tenae Walker, Bonnie Spink-O’Brien, and (until recently) McKeon, had been sidelined with injuries.