And with a roar, the Lions of the South Shore made school history.
West Islip’s boys soccer team defeated Hilton, 5-0, in upstate Middletown in the Class AA New York state final on Sunday.
Taking home the state championship is the cherry atop an impressive 16-2-1 season.
“They had a great run last year and with a lot of kids returning … they came into the season with high expectations,” said Timothy Horan, director of athletics for the West Islip School District.
In the county playoffs, Horan said the players and coaches Edward Pieron and Brian Cameron faced a number of quality teams before defeating Huntington to capture the program’s first Suffolk County championship title since 1973.
“They run a controlled type of scheme, very highly skilled ball control,” Horan said. “But at the same time, they’ll push it and get up and down the field aggressively to convert opportunities. We had so much offensive fire power, and a tremendous defense.”
Throughout seven postseason games, the Lions outscored opponents 25-5, including 10-1 in the state semifinal and final matchups.
Horan said championship titles are great for the community and school spirt, as well as for the athletics program, as more students sign up for sports following a successful season.
“It puts a spotlight on the program and creates tremendous enthusiasm,” Horan said. “Families and students are more likely to come out and support the team. We are really happy for our student athletes, our coaches, our parents, families and community to share in this tremendous accomplishment.”
Top: Photo taken from West Islip Boys Soccer Facebook Page