Bohlen's goal lifts Port Jeff to NYS 'C' title
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- As soon as Port Jefferson departed the awards ceremony after winning a soccer championship last season, the goal was to repeat. Just about every player said that with every starter returning, it would not be a successful season unless they did.
Consider it a success. Blake Bohlen scored off a pass from Connor Crovello with 20:24 left in the game to lift Port Jefferson (21-0) to a 1-0 win over Lansing Sunday in the Class C boys soccer state final at Middletown High School.
"It feels amazing," Bohlen said. "We set high standards and we pulled through two years in a row. This year's even better because we went undefeated. It was just a perfect season."
Bohlen scored the winning goal for the third consecutive game and finished with 33 goals. It was only the second goal Lansing (20-1) allowed all season, which set a state record.
"As a coach, you're always aware of the big players on the other team," Port Jefferson coach John Poulianos said. "[Lansing] doesn't have the player that when I see the kid get the ball, I get a knot in my stomach. They're all good players, but Blake is that one kid. The reality is he has the ball at his foot and at some point, that player is going to score a goal."
The Port Jefferson defense wasn't tested much this year. Against a talented Lansing team that scored 81 goals this season, the Royals limited any good looks at goalkeeper Gabe Davis, who made five saves for the shutout.
"It's a huge credit to the defense," Bohlen said. "They take a lot of pressure off the offense. They give up no goals basically every game. I know once I have the opportunity, I will put it in."
Bohlen got that chance because of Crovello.
"Blake faked a guy and created some space," Crovello said of the pass. "When you make a great run like that, it makes it easy to get him the ball."
After their previous couple of victories, there was no celebration by Port Jefferson. Finally, the Royals celebrated Sunday.
"We knew if we fell short, we wouldn't consider it a successful season," Crovello said. "When you set the standard that high and when you finally get it, it feels pretty incredible."
Notes & quotes: Lansing intended to get a charter bus to help more of its fans make the 170-mile trip to Middletown. Lansing coach Adam Heck opted against it, instead using the $1,000 to donate to the Suffolk County Boys Soccer Association to aid any soccer families on Long Island impacted by superstorm Sandy.