Jericho High School's boys soccer team defeated East Hampton High School for the Long Island Class A Championship on Wednesday at Dowling College in Shirley.
Though the Bonackers fell 2-0 to the Jayhawks, the defending Long Island champs whom the Bonackers also fell to last season, East Hampton still has its second consecutive Suffolk County title to celebrate.
"Jericho is a tough team," said Rich King, who coached East Hampton to a 13-4-3 record this season. The team was "heartbroken" he said to lose the Long Island title for a second year in a row.
The Jayhawks came out strong from the start, King said. "We did a good job the first few minutes matching their high intensity," he said, but then "we gave up a goal" 15 minutes into the first half, and the team was never able to recover.
Jericho scored a second goal with 1 minute left in the half to bring the score to 2-0.
In the second half, East Hampton rebounded a bit and created some better opportunities to score, but "we were unable to do so," King said.
"We're happy with the kids' effort against a quality opponent," he said. "It's not something they can't come back from," though he acknowledged the disappointment for those who won't be returning next year.
They are losing four seniors. JC Barrientos and Alex Serna "played a huge part" on the team with Barrientos as an offensive leader and Sena as a defensive leader. "We're goign to nee to replace them right away," King said.
Brian Ordonez and Christian Talley, the two other seniors, were role players at the start of the season and both ended as starters.
"Losing guys with senior experience is tough — whether its 4 or 14, its hard to replace," King said.
In the offseason, he hopes the returning players will focus on getting stronger by lifting weights, to better compete with the top teams in the states. "We'll be better next year because of this."