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Nov 5, 2017 9:32 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pierson Boys Soccer Advances To State Final Four

The Pierson boys soccer team beat S.S. Seward, 3-1, on Saturday to win the Class C regional final and advance to the New York State Final Four. CAILIN RILEY
Nov 7, 2017 10:01 AM

Pierson boys soccer head coach Peter Solow remembers the last game he played. Not a week goes by that he doesn’t think about it, he said, despite the fact that it happened nearly 40 years ago. The memories of that game—a loss—aren’t pleasant, which is why he had some important words for his team before it took the field in the Class C regional final against S.S. Seward at Diamond in the Pines in Coram on Saturday.

“I told them that if this was going to be the last game they played, they wanted to make sure the memory was something positive.”

The Whalers heeded that advice, and in the process erased what was a painful memory from last year, defeating Seward, 3-1, to advance to the New York State Final Four for the first time in program history.

Pierson’s playoff run came to an end last season in heartbreaking fashion at the hands of Seward, who beat the Whalers in overtime after scoring with just three seconds left in regulation to force the extra session.

This time around, Pierson (16-1-1) did not leave room for doubt. Senior captain Sam Warne scored what would be the game-winner with 5:35 left in the game, breaking a 1-1 halftime tie. Luis Padilla had sent in a high ball, and both Warne and Seward goalie Bobby Verblaauw went up for it in close proximity. Warne was able to get his head on it, deftly directing the ball toward the goal, and it rolled in with Verblaauw out of position. The insurance goal came with 1:49 left, when Grady Burton sent a through ball to Jorge Alvarado, who poked it in to make it a 3-1 game.

Warne had scored unassisted in the first half, and Seward tied it when Jake Gardiner made good on a bicycle kick.

Pierson will make the trip to Middletown, New York, for the state final four this weekend. The Whalers will play in the semifinals against Lansing (18-2) of Section IV on Middletown’s turf field at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and if they win, will take on the winner of Lake Placid/Byron-Bergen on Sunday on the grass field at 10:30 a.m.

Warne, a four-year varsity player who leads the team in goals and assists, was the standout on the field on Saturday. Like many of his teammates, he remembers the pain of last season’s loss to Seward, and said they were determined to feel something different.

“This time we really just went out on the attack,” he said, comparing the victory to last year’s defeat. “We didn’t give up this time.”

Solow said that while his team is stacked with dangerous players this season, Warne’s intensity level sparked the squad in the victory.

“What you saw today was this kind of energy,” he said. “There was nobody on the field that was putting more of an investment into what he was doing than Sam was.”

It’s the kind of energy Solow hopes to see from his entire team upstate next weekend, and he hopes that his players, especially seniors, can finish their high school soccer careers on the kind of positive note he never had.

“I want these guys to remember the good stuff,” Solow said. “What it feels like to be a team and go out and give 100 percent.”

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Great team effort,congratulations.
By taxpayer1 (54), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 1:16 PM
Well done athletes...
By knitter (870), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 4:29 PM
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