SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – Somers was frantically trying to get that game-tying goal but the Tuskers, who scored in bunches all season, couldn’t find it.
Third-seeded Somers fell to top-seeded Rye, 3-2, in the Section 1 Class A finals on Nov. 2 at Lakeland High School.
“Rye is a well-coached team with skilled players,” Somers senior defender Joe Grippo said. “I think that everyone on the team left everything they had out on the field. We just didn’t get the right result.”
Trailing 2-1 at halftime, the Tuskers tied the game when Grippo sent one in, it bounced around in a crowd and Daniel D’Ippolito turned and blasted it into the net with 31:50 left in the second half.
Rye regained a lead it wouldn’t relinquish with 12 minutes to go.
The Tuskers furiously tried to tie the game, but to no avail. Bennett Leitner broke loose but fired wide with six minutes left on the clock. Grippo had an opportunity from distance with two minutes to play, but the shot was off.
Somers took an early lead just over 10 minutes into the game. Leitner sent the ball down the sideline, Ethan Cukaj crossed it and Drew Lasher finished to make it 1-0.
Rye answered on a header off a big throw in midway through the first half and then took a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining.
“It was a good game but unfortunately the ball didn’t bounce our way and we came up a little short,” Lasher said.
Anthony Tucci made 7 saves for Somers, including a diving stop right after the Garnets went up 3-2 late in the second half.
It’s been an incredible run for the Tuskers (17-2) under head coach Brian Lanzetta. They’ve won two section titles and a state title in the last four seasons. Last year, they were state finalists.
“It’s been a great four years,” said Lasher, who was called up to varsity late in his freshman year. “We have had highs of winning a state title and lows of not even winning the league, but this team has a lot of talent and every year they go out, work hard and leave it all on the field.”
Lasher said that playing soccer for Somers is about more than just a game.
“As a team, we came together and are a family,” he said. “I will miss going out every day and putting on the Somers jersey and playing with all of my brothers. The relationships I built with all of the guys will last a lifetime.”
Grippo shared similar sentiments.
“I’m fortunate I was able to be on such talented teams these past few years,” he said. “The state title run last year was the highlight of my junior year. But even though we came up short this year, I’ve never had this much fun with a soccer team in my whole life. I’ll miss bonding and making memories with my teammates. The soccer team is almost like my second family.”
The Tuskers graduate a talented senior corps, but will return plenty of key pieces in 2020.
“I truly love Somers soccer,” Lanzetta wrote on his Twitter page. “I will continue to coach year-round and work even harder. We had an amazing season in 2019. I love everyone who supports Somers soccer. We will be back.”
Somers 4, Pearl River 2
In a rematch of last season’s section championship game, Somers went on the road and defeated second-seeded Pearl River, 4-2, on Oct. 30.
D’Ippolito tallied 2 goals while Leitner and Lasher had a goal each in what was Somers’ 14th consecutive win.