By Jacob Sisson
The Pierson Boys Soccer Team took its game up a league to play Mattituck (1-1, 0-0) in its second consecutive match against a non-league opponent. Mattituck, who has found much success in the boys’ soccer arena in recent years, stood as a key litmus test for a Pierson team looking to establish itself before entering league play against Greenport/Shelter Island next Monday. Mattituck’s offense overwhelmed Pierson in Pierson’s 2010 home opener, netting four goals despite heroic efforts by Pierson’s goalkeeping corps. 4-0
While the score line displayed a lopsided victory in favor of Mattituck, Pierson was able to take home a number of positives. First and foremost was the performance of senior goalkeeper Tyler Gilbride, who, for the second straight game, recorded eight saves against a powerful Mattituck offense, and helped to keep Pierson within striking distance. Gilbride was relieved in the second half by senior Seamus Doyle who recorded another six saves to limit the damage to four goals. Mattituck’s Shawn Smiley, who had two goals, Brandon Lake and Andres Aldaz, who each added a tally of their own, scored those four goals.
It was the second straight game that Gilbride was able to record eight stops against a strong League VII opponent, after the shot stopper recorded eight saves against Westhampton on Saturday. Despite only letting in two of the ten shots Westhampton put on goal, Pierson was not able to generate the offense to match the performance of Gilbride, as Westhampton picked up a win in Pierson’s season opener. 2-0
Pierson, who lost six seniors to graduation last May, will be searching for a playoff bid after having their run to the post-season end on the 2009 season’s final day. Pierson’s aim will be to improve on 2009’s 5-6-1 record, with one more victory pushing them in to the Suffolk County Class C tournament. Playing against teams from stronger divisions, such as Westhampton and Mattituck will help the team learn valuable lessons and better prepare them for League VIII play. The Whalers have a team that will learn well from competition against stronger teams, as 13 seniors lead the team.
Pierson must now reset as they hit the road for their third straight non-league opponent in Bayport-Blue Point (0-2, 0-0), who play their league games in League VI. Thursday’s away game kicks off at 4 p.m. at Bayport-Blue Point High School. After that, Pierson rounds out its non-league schedule with a home game against League VII’s Hampton Bays (1-1, 0-0), which gets underway at 3:30 p.m. at Mashashimuet Park.