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Amityville falls to Somers in Class A state final

MIDDLETOWN — Every great sports matchup deserves a trilogy, right?

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The Amityville and Somers boys soccer programs — two of the top programs, not only in Class A, but overall in the state — met Sunday for the third time since 2016 in either a state semifinal or final.

Somers knocked off Amityville in overtime in the state semifinal in 2016. Amityville answered and won the state championship against Somers in 2018. So which program would win Amityville-Somers III?

Unfortunately for Amityville, Somers had a one-two-three punch that delivered the knockout shots, yes shots, to Amityville. Bennett Leitner registered a hat trick, and Jacques Verard and Daniel D’Ippolito each had two goals as Somers won the state Class A final, 7-2, at Faller Field before a crowd of 800.

Bryce Cherry gave Amityville (18-2-1) a 1-0 lead with a goal in the sixth minute, and later made it 4-2 in the 56th minute.

“It wasn’t enough because we lost,” said Cherry, who finished with 25 goals this season, the second-most in Amityville single-season history according to assistant coach Chris Gannon. “There were a lot of great things this season, but in the game of soccer, it doesn’t always swing your way.”

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Sunday was one of those kind of days for Amityville, which went up against Somers — a team that played the best game of the weekend regardless of class.

“I thought our boys did well,” Amityville coach Mike Abbondondolo said. “But Somers deserves to be the top team in the state.”

Still, Amityville had chances. After Leitner earned his hat trick to make it 4-1 with 28:33 left in the game, the referee later awarded Amityville a penalty kick.

Juan Ponce quickly stepped up and sent a rocket toward the left side of the net, but Somers keeper Anthony Tucci (5 saves) made a huge save. He later stoned Ponce again on a blast.

Cherry’s second goal made it 4-2, but Amityville — which has won state crowns in 2015 and 2018 — could not find any more offense. Somers (22-1) continued to be the more aggressive team and even scored a seventh goal with 22 seconds left after Abbondondolo started subbing in seniors with eight minutes remaining.

Abbondondolo and his staff guided Amityville to its first state title in 2015. They lost in the state semis in 2016 and won their second state crown in 2018.

“I don’t think people understand how hard it really is to get to a championship game,” he said, “let alone a state tournament [semifinal], let alone win it.”

“Look, the credit goes to Somers,” Abbondondolo continued. “They got the bounces, and they played well, but I’m really proud of my team.”

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