Whalers Drop Season Opener to Babylon

Pierson senior Coby Penefiel works the ball through traffic against Babylon on Friday. GAVIN MENU

The Pierson/Bridgehampton boys soccer team lost its opener, 2-0, to Babylon at home on Thursday, but from what head coach Peter Solow saw, there will be better days ahead for the Whalers.

Making his first-ever start in goal, Pierson junior Nick Collage allowed a goal when he kicked the ball directly to Babylon’s Luca Giammarino, who scored easily with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Collage nearly gave up another goal a few moments later, but made a nice save to maintain the one-goal margin.

Still, he was replaced in the second half by freshman Brandon Guanga, who was under constant attack and made a series of saves along with a number of physical assaults on the Babylon attack. Patrick Van Rossem finally broke through off a Lucas Montalto corner late in the second half to provide the game’s final margin.

“This is what we have to look forward to in terms of the quality of competition,” Solow said later. “There’s going to be teams that are going to be this quality or better.”

Pierson’s Brandon Guanga, a freshman, came on in the second half against Babylon on Friday and played well in goal for the Whalers, who lost 2-0. GAVIN MENU

Collage and Guanga have not played goalie prior to this season, and both are capable field players, so whichever way Solow and his staff decide to go, they will have one more able body to plug into the lineup. Pierson is playing a new system this year and has only been practicing for a week, so there is room for improvement. What can’t be taught, Solow said, is effort and athletic ability, both of which the Whalers have in abundance.

“All the stuff I saw we could improve upon is stuff we can control,” Solow said. “In terms of speed, we matched up really well with them.”

Pierson will move on to another challenging game at Southampton on Saturday night under the lights at 7 p.m.

“I think this team, in terms of quality of the guys, is comparable to the team that won the county,” Solow said about his team from two years ago, which advanced to the state semifinals. “It’s going to be very difficult in the league this year because we’re playing Center Moriches and we’re playing Mattituck and Southampton.”