A Shootout Stunner

A very sad ending to yet another stellar season
Esteban Valverde and his teammates found John Glenn to be a much tougher opponent in a first-round county Class A playoff game here Monday than on Oct. 3, when the Bonackers defeated the Knights 4-1. Craig Macnaughton

    There was no joy in Bonac as the sun went down Monday afternoon given the fact that John Glenn’s boys soccer team had outscored the Bonackers 4-2 in a penalty kick shootout that followed 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime play.

    “Shootouts aren’t fun, whether you win them or lose them,” said Rich King, East Hampton’s coach, in the aftermath of what for Bonac fans was a very sad ending to yet another stellar season, one that had bid fair to end with the school’s first-ever state championship in the sport.

    Glenn, which had been routed 4-1 here on Oct. 3 (and which had, because of disciplinary reasons, forfeited to East Hampton on Sept. 12), was clearly eager to erase those losses Monday.

    The visitors came out strong and got on the scoreboard first as Johnathan Schefer, a sophomore, headed in a left-to-right cross from a fellow forward, Loic Besong, in the 10th minute.

    East Hampton came right back, however, when, four minutes later, Glenn’s goalie, Max Karen, misplayed a free kick taken by Nick West from about 30 yards out, an error that resulted in the ball, which West was chipping up to Donte Donegal, East Hampton’s chief inside threat on set plays, bouncing untouched into the left corner of the nets.

    And just a minute after that, it seemed as if Esteban Valverde, who was rushing goalward on a counter play following a Glenn corner kick, would put East Hampton up 2-1, but his hard, ground-hugging shot from about seven or eight yards out, which had Karen dead to rights, hit off the near post.

    And before the first half ended, Cristian Barrientos just missed a waist-high cross from Donegal at point-blank range.

    King said afterward he thought Glenn had the edge in the first half, but that his charges dominated in the second, a half during which both goalies, Karen and East Hampton’s Nick Tulp, each came up with dazzling saves.

    Four minutes into the second period Besong, arguably Glenn’s best player, had to come out after Bryan Oreamuno, one of East Hampton’s defenders, had slid in to take the ball away from him. There was no drop-off in the visitors’ play, however.

    Tulp, in the 63rd minute, made an uncanny kick save that prevented Glenn from taking the lead, and a minute later, Karen, who had the sun in his eyes, reached up to rob West at point-blank range.

    In the 69th minute it appeared that James Groark, the defender who’d been assigned to shadow Donegal, may have pushed a goal-bound ball wide of the left corner of the cage as he dived flat-out, but no call was made by the referees and the teams played on.

    In the final seconds of regulation, Groark again called attention to himself as he parried a close-in shot that Donegal was about to bury.

    The two 15-minute “golden goal” overtime periods that succeeded the 1-1 tie were scoreless. In the first, Karen made a great save on a shot taken by Juan Patino. Likewise, Tulp made leaping saves of free kicks that sailed into the goal mouth early in the second, and presumably breathed a sigh of relief when, with nine minutes left, a Glenn forward who had broken through the defense and who pretty much faced an open cage, hit the ball wide to the right from about 10 yards out.

    In the final minute, West dashed forward and, outrunning his defender, crossed a shot that Bonac fans hoped would bring the agon to an end, but it too went wide.

    The aforementioned shootout ensued, with each side ready to send five penalty kickers forth to face the opposing team’s goalie.

    Tulp got things going by parrying Schefer’s attempt, headed for the right corner, after which East Hampton’s Alvaro Aguilar pounded a high shot just over the crossbar.

    Alex Velasquez, a tall Glenn defender, put his team on the board with a shot that skipped in off the diving Tulp’s leg. Nick Quiroz got East Hampton even, at 1-1, outguessing Karen, who dived to his right as the ball headed into the opposite corner.

    Tulp was similarly victimized by Vincent Piccoli, whose goal treated Glenn to a 2-1 lead, but his counterpart in the lineup, West, blasted a shoulder-high shot that seemed to pass right through Karen.

    Sean Urda, Glenn’s fourth to go, brought cheers from his teammates, coaches, and fans when he beat Tulp with a high rocket into the right corner that gave the visitors a 3-2 lead, and, moments later, Karen was to preserve that lead with a diving, flat-out save to his left, foiling Oreamuno.

    Glenn’s Andrew Pick then nailed down the lid, his shot beating Tulp to the right corner.

    “It was the best soccer game I’ve ever seen,” one of the spectators, Lou Reale, said afterward. “Great athletes trying their best. And it was clean — not one yellow card was given out. It’s a shame that somebody’s got to lose.”

    Glenn then will face Sayville, a 1-0 winner in overtime over Miller Place that day, for the county Class A championship (which East Hampton has won the past two years) at Dowling College this afternoon. Glenn last won a county championship in 2007.

    To get to Monday’s semifinal, Glenn had defeated Harborfields 5-0 and East Hampton had defeated Rocky Point 2-0. Juan Patino, in the first half, and Nick West, in the second, scored the goals.