Tappan Zee Head Coach Jon Jacobs could only admire the goal that put Pearl River ahead to stay in the Pirates' 3-1 Section 1 Class A quarterfinal victory over the Dutchmen Monday at Pearl River.
Chris Coughlan made a long last to set up Brian Chiarello, who raced into position to beat Tappan Zee goalkeeper Juan Umana to break a 1-1 tie with just under 30 minutes remaining.
"It was a great finish, but the ball that was played in to him by Coughlan was just sublime," Jacobs said. "It couldn't have been hit any better. It was fantastic and Brian did the rest. Great effort all around."
"When I got the ball, I had a lot of space in the middle of the field," Coughlan said. "Brian made a great run. I was able to get it to him and he finished it. It felt so good running up the field after it."
Coughlan also scored the Pirates' first goal of the game off an assist by Aidan Noonan 13 minutes into the contest.
"That's why Chris is the best," Pearl River Head Coach Damon O'Keefe said of Coughlan's performance, "He is, in my opinion, the best player in Rockland County. That's the reason why. He gives you everything. He can defend. He can score goals, of course. That was number 12 or 13. His vision of the field is absolutely fantastic."
O'Keefe also praised the work of Chiarello, who also had a goal and an assist, setting up Manuel Arango on the Pirates final goal of the game with 4:40 remaining. "Brian has been great the last five games at striker," O'Keefe said. "He's getting them right when we need him the most."
Tappan Zee tied the game just under four minutes into the second half, with Michael Desposati tipping the ball in after a scrum in front of the goal. "We haven't been really effective playing from behind," Jacobs said. "The effort those guys put out there to chase the goal....the fashion we did it in was the fashion you would expect it to be in. It was a massive cluster of players. That seems fitting for this group of guys who can make something out of nothing. I'm just proud of them." Less than six minutes after Desposati's goal, Chiarello and Coughlan put the Pirates back ahead to stay.
"We were frustrated (when Tappan Zee tied the game), but the nice part is, these guys are resilient," O'Keefe said. "That was huge. We scored and put all the pressure back on them. We wanted them to come out of the five-back system they use, which they did with three guys. Three guys against Brian and Manny, that's going to be difficult for anybody."
Coughlan said having the win come against Tappan Zee made reaching the semifinals that much sweeter. The teams had tied both times they played during the regular-season.
"It feels great," Coughlan said. "I wouldn't want to do it against any other team. We tied them twice. It was huge to get the win."
Pearl River will play Keio at home Wednesday in the semifinals. Keio upset No. 2 seed Lakeland, 2-0, Wednesday.
"Keio, I saw them play two weeks ago against Byram Hills and they are fast and dynamic," O'Keefe said. "They have got six guys up top who can all play very well together."