Pierson Boys Soccer Is One Win Away From Reaching State Tournament After Clinching Long Island, Suffolk County ‘C’ Titles

A rainbow came through after the Whalers played their entire game in a steady rain. CAILIN RILEY

The Pierson/Bridgehampton boys soccer team is one win away from reaching the New York State Championships after defeating Carle Place, 1-0, in the Long Island Championship at Mitchell Field in Nassau County on Tuesday.

The Whalers, which defeated Southold, 2-0, in the Suffolk County Class C Championship at Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram on Saturday afternoon, can punch their tickets to states with a victory in the regional final on Saturday, which, as of press time, neither a location for the match or an opponent had been determined.

The Whalers celebrate after 2-0 win over Southold in the Suffolk County Class C Championship. CAILIN RILEY

David Moreno scored the only goal of Tuesday’s game on an assist from Halsey Burton. Although head coach Peter Solow — who earned his 100th career victory — didn’t have an exact number of saves for his goaltender Gavin Gilbride, he said he “certainly played a determining factor in the game,” coming up big and stopping numerous corner kicks and various other set plays, which Carle Place had many of.

The Whalers (9-7-1) became county champs again for the first time since 2017, avenging a loss to the Settlers (6-10-1) from the same game in the shortened pandemic season this spring.

Junior midfielder Jose Ulloa opened the scoring on the rain-soaked field on Saturday, tallying the first strike off an assist from sophomore midfielder Helio Paucer just seven minutes in. Pierson added an insurance goal just before the end of the half, when junior midfielder Halsey Burton got loose on a breakaway up the left side and sent a pass to senior captain Brandon Winenga, who buried the shot with just 2:20 left before the break.

The Whalers dominated possession for most of the game, but the Settlers put some pressure on in the later stages of the second half. Ultimately, it was not enough, and Pierson came away with the victory. Junior goalie Gavin Gilbride was credited with the shutout.

Just as the sun was finally beginning to break through the clouds that had dumped steady rain on the players for the entire contest, several Whalers emptied their water bottles out on Solow’s back, as a celebratory gesture for the win. Moments later, a full rainbow emerged.