Tortorella Pools, a frequent bridesmaid in the men’s 7-on-7 soccer league, won the spring-summer season’s playoff trophy at East Hampton’s Herrick Park on July 23, defeating East Hampton F.C.-Bill Miller 4-1 in a penalty kick shootout that followed an hour and a half of intense, but scoreless play.
Tortorella lost to Bill Miller in this game last year, and lost, as well, to the perennial champion, Maidstone Market, in the fall’s final.
The teams went at it from the get-go, though Bill Miller seemed to have the strategic edge because of its excellent center midfielder, Jose Almansa.
Almansa himself missed an early chance, bouncing a shot off the crossbar of the goal at the Waldbaum’s end after receiving the ball from Andriy Pozdniakov, who had beaten Rodolfo Marin on the right side.
Bill Miller continued to push, but Tortorella’s goalie, Alejandro Bolanos, was up to the task, turning away shot after shot.
Tortorella began to get it together in the second half, with Eddie Lopez, Danny Bedoya, and Alex Mesa leading the way. Marin was presented with a golden opportunity midway through the period after Alex Ramirez, the referee, assessed a penalty against Bill Miller in the box.
But Olger (Quique) Araya, Bill Miller’s goalie, didn’t have to worry as Marin’s penalty kick went wide to the left.
Bolanos erred soon after, coming out to pick up the ball that had been passed back to him, which gave Bill Miller a free kick in close, but Oscar Reinoso’s shot went wide left.
Two 15-minute overtime periods under the lights followed. Mesa muffed a great chance in the opening minutes of the first O.T., misfiring while facing an open net after intercepting an Araya clear attempt, a gaffe that prompted him to pull his shirt down over his head.
The second O.T. was scoreless as well, though again Tortorella came close near its end as Lopez’s header of a corner throw-in by Stiven Orrego sailed wide right of Bill Miller’s goal.
“Everyone looked tired going into penalty kicks,” Leslie Czeladko, the league’s spokesman (and Tortorella’s captain) said in a web account afterward. “This was the longest championship match that we’ve had in 20-some years.”
Orrego was the first to go, easily beating Araya, after which Almansa tied the count at 1-1. David Rodriguez, Tortorella’s second shooter (and the league’s “goleador” award winner, with 10 goals), ricocheted a shot into the nets off the inside of the left post, putting Tortorella up 2-1.
That lead was to hold up as Pozdniakov’s subsequent attempt was parried by Bolanos. Mesa then increased Tortorella’s lead to 3-1, depositing a high shot into the nets under the crossbar.
Roger Quinceno of Bill Miller missed, leaving the score unchanged, after which Munoz, whose penalty kick was good, nailed the lid down.
That’s it, then, for East Hampton’s 7-on-7 play until the fall, though at least two teams from here are expected to play in the Simon Gavron memorial 7-on-7 tournament on Shelter Island next month.
The tourney is to be played on successive Monday evenings on Shelter Island’s Fiske Field, beginning at 4:30 p.m. with 12-minute pool play games on Aug. 11, after which the eight teams will be seeded for the final night of play on Aug. 18. The championship game is to be played at around 7 p.m.
Last year, B&R, a team made up largely of Maidstone Market players, won, edging Bill Miller 1-0 in the final.