By Mike Dougherty
NORTH SALEM After watching a significant lead melt away, Pearl River spent most of the second half and overtime periods scrambling around on the defensive end.
The Pirates were no doubt running scared.
Matt Bosco had to lunge in order to control a low pass just outside the crease and let the momentum carry him to the cage for the improvised game-winner, giving Pearl River a surprise10-9 victory in triple overtime Monday.
It was the first possession in more than 15 minutes that resulted in anything good for the Pirates.
“The pass was low so I came under the defender,” Bosco said. “I was able to finish it. I saw and opening and went for it.”
Pearl River (3-4) was definitely feeling a little fortunate after building an 8-3 lead midway through a bumpy third quarter and then letting it get away. The offense was handling the ball like the proverbial hot potato down the stretch and kept feeding a dangerous team in transition.
“We controlled the first half,” Pirates coach Al Staker said. “They controlled the second. Our defense stood tall, we blocked a couple of shots and we got a little lucky at the end. It wasn’t the play we had drawn up, but Matt put the ball in the back of the goal.”
Thomas Marchese and George Corde each scored late in regulation to get the Tigers even, 9-9, but that’s where the run ended.
“It killed me, seeing how many opportunities we missed,” North Salem coach Kevin Flynn said. “The defense stepped it up, though. We made the adjustments we needed to so we could get the ball in our possession. Offensively, it was there all day.”
Three shots by the Tigers went off the pipes in the overtimes.
“It was the most intense thing I’ve ever done,” North Salem midfielder Conor Kelly said after picking up 17 ground balls. “The only thing going through your head is winning the game. It’s brutal knowing that you worked that hard and lost, but it happens.”
Bosco finished with three goals and one assist to lead Pearl River, and Joe Mayernik had one goal and three assists. John Beckerle was big when it mattered in goal, finishing with 14 saves.
North Salem was on every ground ball that mattered, but just couldn’t sink the dagger.
“It was a lot of pressure,” Mayernik said. “We started off the game ahead, then we slowed down. They came back, but we pulled through at the end. We got a couple of breaks at the end. We turned the ball over, but finished on the last one.
North Salem (1-4) is playing much better than its record indicates. The other losses came against Hen Hud, Brewster and North Rockland. Marchese led the Tigers with four goals and three assists while Corde had three goals and two assists.