Sports

With 18 minutes left in the game, Ward Melville’s field hockey team retied the game at 4-all before Northport sophomore Shannon Smith scored the go-ahead goal two minutes later. It would prove to be just enough for the Tigers to edge the Patriots to win the game 5-4 at home in a Div I matchup Sept 11.

Northport’s scoring came from five different players. Along with Smith’s goal, senior Kate McLam rocked the box as did her younger sister, freshman Emma McLam. Sophomores Anna Trizzino and Sophia Bica also helped stretch the net.

Courtney Quinn, a senior, had a pair of goals for the Patriots while Amanda Lee and Isabella Paglia both put one in the back of the box.

The win puts Northport at 3-0 early in the season and the Patriots slip to 2-1.

Ward Melville retakes the field Sept. 13 at home in a non-league contest against Southampton, set to start at 6:30 p.m. The Tigers are back action the following day, Sept. 14 where the travel to Sachem North for a 12 p.m. start.

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SWR Senior and football team captain Xavier Arline speaks at Sept. 10 board meeting. Photo by Kyle Barr

Nearly 30 young men in yellow and blue football jerseys sat huddled together in the Shoreham-Wading River High School auditorium Sept. 10 to support their head football coach they said had only wanted to protect their safety.

Varsity football coach Aden Smith, far right, was removed from the team by district officials just before a game against Bayport-Bluepoint Sept. 6. Photo from SWR

SWR’s varsity football coach Aden Smith was effectively suspended from the team Sept. 6 after an alleged “incident” in a preseason scrimmage game against Islip Aug. 30. The board held an emergency meeting discussing a personnel issue the Thursday before. In the Tuesday night meeting, nearly the entire football team sat in support of their coach, asking him to be reinstated.

Section XI’s website said Aug. 30 was a multiteam nonleague scrimmage taking place at Islip High School. Players and parents said the game was largely unsupervised by security staff or referees. Islip school district officials said in a statement it was a “brief scuffle.”

Players painted the picture that players had become violent on the field, and lacking referees, nobody stepped in to break up the unfolding violence except for Smith.

Senior Xavier Arline, team captain and quarterback, gained thunderous applause from attendees in his support of the coach.

“I played many sports over my life, and I’ve had coaches that have cared more about the sport or the result more than their players — coach Smith is not that,” he said. “That day of the scuffle, he did nothing but stand up for his players. … If a scuffle is going to happen, we rely on our coach — we expect our coach to come to the rescue. If we can’t count on him, who can we count on?”

Fellow team captain and senior Mike Casazza echoed his teammate’s words.

“Coach Smith is so invested in our team but at the same time focuses on helping every single one of his players,” he said. “In the summer he sent every kid a letter. He told them what they can improve on and gave us tips as well.”

Other team members said Smith often went above and beyond for his players, including meeting with them off the field or bringing in a person to talk with them about the dangers of drunk driving.

John Arline, Xavier’s father, related back to previous tragedies in SWR football history as to why Smith ran out onto the field that August day.

“When it’s your son lying at the bottom of a pile, who comes to your son’s rescue?” he said. “When it’s your son being hit helmet to helmet, who do we expect to protect them? … [Smith] provided safety and tried to defuse the situation.”

While details on the fight remain fuzzy, Rick Casazza, Mike’s dad, said there was an obvious lack of referee supervision. He added in a play prior to the scuffle an Islip player had pulled his son’s helmet, punched him in the face and grappled with is face mask.

“Coach Smith was the only coach to step in and verbally handle the situation,” he said. 

Players and parents continued on saying Smith had been a mentor to the players, with Casazza’s father saying the coach had shared college prospects with him over the phone.

Board President Michael Lewis said the district would be receiving additional information for their investigation come Friday, including written statements from people there at the scrimmage and advice from attorneys.

“This board is not sitting back,” he said. “We’re making sure we get it right.”

Jeff McAuley, a longtime member of the football and soccer booster club, said Smith has been ostracized due to the news, but on Aug. 30 he was teaching his players to step in and protect those who need it.

“Coach Smith stepped in and protected his players at all costs.”

— Xavier Arline

“If this community has been rocked with tragedy, we have the opportunity here to prevent what I feel is a tragedy,” he said. “He came to the aid of a player. Nowhere are the other coaches being suspended, nowhere are the referees that should have been there, and he’s being ostracized.”

Though as the investigation goes on, the number of weeks left in the season depletes as well. 

The suspended head coach could not be reached for comment. Interim head coach Virgil Romer instead led the team to an opening home victory last Friday against Bayport-Blue Point.

Players did not give a full description of what happened at the game from their point of view. Instead Arline made a statement on behalf of the team.

“Coach Smith stepped in and protected his players at all costs,” he said.

Smith was installed as head coach last year and he helped take SWR past division finals in the 2018 season and to the top-seeded spot in Division IV for this year.

There are about eight weeks left in the season until playoffs. The board nor Superintendent Gerard Poole could give a timeline when the investigation would be concluded.

The Harborfields Tornadoes had the measure of the Lady Royals of Port Jefferson in their season opener Sept. 10, winning the game at home 7-1. Senior Co-Captain Gracie Heil led the way for the Tornadoes with two goals, while junior Katie Davis scored along with an assist. Junior Kate Christensen, senior Mia Desiderio, junior Taylor Sammis and freshman Melissa Neder rounded out the scoring with a goal apiece. Harborfields senior keeper Zoe Krief made seven saves at net.

The Royals broke the ice in the second half when Sophomore Abigal Rolfe’s shot found the net with 18 minutes left.

Port Jeff plays an away game against Hampton Bays before they take on Kings Park in their first home game Sept. 18  at 4 p.m.

The Tornadoes retake the field Sept. 16 at home where they’ll try their hand against the Lady Kingsmen. Game time is also 4:00pm.

 

The vessels’ pennants and flags quivered in the mid-morning wind. Those who knew their way around a boat could tell Sept. 7 was going to be complicated day for sailing, as a storm that blew over the day previous left lingering swathes of somewhat choppy seas and miniature gales. The 10th annual Village Cup Regatta was going to be interesting one way or the other.

And it was, even before the race started, with the annual regatta raising $91,000 for cancer research, the most it has ever raised since the event started with help from the Port Jefferson Yacht Club 10 years ago. The amount is being split evenly by the national nonprofit Lustgarten Foundation’s pancreatic cancer research program and John T. Mather Memorial Hospital’s Palliative Medicine Program. The event has raised well over $600,000 in the 10 years since it was created.

After hours of tense racing through Port Jefferson Harbor, Port Jeff village regained the cup from Mather, who held it after winning it in 2017. The 2018 event was canceled due to weather, and the winner of the cup went to Mother Nature instead.

At a party after the race at the Port Jefferson Village Center, Mather Hospital gifted the yacht club a plaque commemorating its efforts to help put on the event. 

Joan Fortgang, a Port Jeff resident who has raced for the village the past nine years along with her husband Mort, said she has loved the event since the beginning. As part of the yacht club since 1973, she said their group has lost several good people to cancer, which originally helped prompt the idea for the event.

“This is great fun,” she said.

 

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Senior quarterback Xavier Arline lunges into the endzone for SWR against visiting Bayport-Blue Point in the Wildcats season opener Sept. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior quarterback Xavier Arline led the Shoreham-Wading River with five touchdowns to power the Wildcats past visiting Bayport-Blue Point 41-7 in the team’s opening game of the season at home. Arline amassed 227 yards on 25 carries delivering interim head coach Virgil Romer his first varsity career win. Romer took the helm after 3year head coach Aden Smith was removed from the roster following an alleged incident Aug. 30 at Islip high school in a multiteam preseason scrimmage.

It was midway through the second quarter before Bayport-Blue Point put points on the board, their only score of the game. SWR sophomore running back Max Barone punched in from short yardage for the score and Jake Ekert, a junior, split the uprights five times in the rout. Outside linebacker Jake Wilson, a junior, was credited with a pair of sacks in the victory. The Wildcats hit the road Saturday, Sept. 14 to take on the Royals of Port Jefferson. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Smithtown West girls soccer scored three unanswered goals on the road handing Ward Melville a 3-0 loss in a Division I matchup Sept. 9.

Freshman standout Stephanie Schubert scored twice for the Bulls, and Nicole Menella, a sophomore, found the net for their second win of the early season. The Bulls beat Patchogue-Medford two days earlier and look to build on their winning momentum. 

Emily Wallace, a senior, had four saves in net for the Bulls, and Ward Melville’s Elyse Munoz had five, along with teammate Rebekka Dill who stopped four.

Both teams are back in action Sept. 12 when the Patriots hit the road where they’ll take on West Islip searching for their first win; game time is 4:15 p.m. The Bulls play East Islip at home with a 4:30 p.m. start.

September 2, 2019 - Sportime2 youth tennis program during an on court demonstration at the 2019 US Open. (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/USTA)

Sportime2, a youth tennis league in Kings Park, participated in a Net Generation “Kids on Court” activation at the 2019 U.S. Open on Sept. 2. Twenty-four kids from the program were part of an on-court tennis demonstration prior to the start of a match between Aidan Mayo and Shunsuke Mitsui on Court 12. Sportime2 member Diane Durante, tossed the coin prior to the match and then posed for a photo with the players. 

Kids On Court, part of the USTA’s youth tennis brand, Net Generation, is expected to give more than 1,000 youth tennis players from across the country the opportunity to play this year on the iconic courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Kings Park kids on the court at U.S. Open

This year marks the first time American tennis has one unified youth brand for children to get into the sport. Net Generation will make it easier for kids and their parents to learn about tennis and get into the game in schools, parks and tennis clubs across the country. The movement embraces all aspects of youth play for kids ages 5 to 18. For more information, visit www.NetGeneration.com.

-Compiled by Donna Deedy

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Varsity football coach Aden Smith, far right, was removed from the team by district officials just before a game against Bayport-Bluepoint Sept. 6. Photo from SWR

Shoreham-Wading River’s varsity football coach Aden Smith has been removed from his position in time for tonight’s game after an alleged “incident” in a multi-team scrimmage event in Islip last friday, the district said.

A statement from Superintendent Gerard Poole said Head Coach Smith had been involved in a scrimmage against Islip that took place Aug. 30 at the Islip High School. Section XI’s website said it was a multi-team nonleague scrimmage.

The district did not provide further details on what kind of incident took place.

“While this investigation is underway, the head coach has been removed and the current assistant coaches will be leading the team,” Poole said in the statement.

Smith could not be reached for comment. 

The team was set to play against Bayport-Blue Point’s Phantoms today at 7 p.m. at the SWR high school, and district officials said the game is still on.

Smith was installed as head coach last year and he helped take SWR past division finals in the 2018 season and to the top seed spot in Division IV this year.

The next SWR board of education meeting is set for next Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

 

22 veterans kayaked across Long Island Sound to help promote PTSD awareness. Photos by Kyle Barr

August 30 was a day about numbers.

Twenty-two kayakers in 11 boats. Twenty-two miles from Bridgeport to Port Jefferson. 

22 veterans kayaked across Long Island Sound to help promote PTSD awareness. Photos by Kyle Barr

On each of their minds, the estimated 22 veterans who commit suicide each day, and the many thousands more both veterans and others who suffer from PTSD.

In the final days of summer, the 22 veterans left Bridgeport at just after 10 a.m. and arrived in Port Jefferson at just before 5 p.m. As the fourth year of the event, called the 22-PTSD Awareness Challenge, those veterans have a long way to travel, having to turn their boats in a slight parabola to make it the full 22 miles. 

Frank Lombardi, one of the co-founders of the event and a veteran himself, said the event is extremely poignant just by the number. Veterans Affairs averages the number of soldiers and veterans who commit suicide at approximately 20 a day.

“Twenty-two veterans make the 22-mile trek, and that’s the magic number,” he said. 

22-PTSD Awareness Challenge was started in 2016 with Lombardi, fellow veteran Chris Levi and Alex Rohman, an executive of the Port Jefferson Station-based financial advisors Time Capital. That business, plus three others, helped get the first event up and running. At first, the three co-founders were the only ones to cross. Since then the number of veterans taking the challenge has only increased.

“I found that if I can get veterans to help other veterans, that’s the best way to help them,” said Rohman. “A lot of organizations compete for veterans, in a way, and we wanted to open this up to as many nonprofits as we can, so a veteran can walk in and see a multitude of services that can help.

On their arrival in Port Jefferson, the Port Jeff Village Center was crammed full of a number of veterans services initiatives for them to peruse. PSEG Long Island, while not sponsoring the event, aided the initiative through its community partnership program by providing volunteers. Eight of the kayakers were also employees of PSEG Long Island. 

22 veterans kayaked across Long Island Sound to help promote PTSD awareness. Photos by Kyle Barr

Two tables were for Independent Group Home Living Program, of which Lombardi is CEO. The money, Lombardi said, is going to Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County, a subsidiary of IGHL that provides therapy services for veterans, among its other services for those experiencing family violence and rape. The first year of the event raised $60,000 to start a treatment program at VIBS, hiring a treatment specialist. While the amount they annually raise has gone down to around $15,000 per event, the IGHL CEO said the event now focuses more on outreach and getting veterans in touch with the services that can help them.

The veterans who kayaked said the Sound was relatively easy on the swell, though that didn’t stop the wind from picking up at the opposite direction once they neared Port Jefferson Harbor. The kayaks they rode in used pedals instead of oars, though the trek wasn’t any less tiring for it, with veterans of several different ages participating.

Friends and fellow veterans Martino Cascio, of Huntington, and Dennis Stringer, of New Hampshire, laughed as they described Cascio flipping their boat to dunk Stringer in the water.

Still, the two, who together completed several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, had a refrain running through their heads. Both have known fellow veterans who suffer from PTSD and others who took their own lives.

“I personally had a couple soldiers I was in a unit with take their own lives,” Stringer said. “It’s definitely affected me personally.”

Bayshore veteran Donna Zephrine has completed the kayak crossing several times. Having done two deployments in Iraq and having seen many of her compatriots from the army days suffer from PTSD, a few taking their own lives, she said the event truly helps gather veterans from all over into a single place where they might find life-saving services.

22 veterans kayaked across Long Island Sound to help promote PTSD awareness. Photos by Kyle Barr

“I try to do it in remembrance of them, and all the brothers and sisters who are still struggling, and all those suffering from PTSD,” she said. 

Mattituck veteran Tom Gross has done the event three years in a row. He served in the U.S. Army from 1984 through 1986 in the 82nd Airborne. 

“Twenty-two vets a day commit suicide, that’s over 8,000 a year, that’s unacceptable,” he said. “It’s a brotherhood, I didn’t understand how much of a brotherhood it was 30 years ago when I was in it, and when I raised my right hand how far that would carry for the rest of my life.”

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The Suffolk County Junior Tennis League in Smithtown runs a demonstration Aug. 26 at the U.S. Open. Photo from Sharp Communications

United States Tennis Association, the national governing body for the sport of tennis, is shining a spotlight on its youth tennis leagues during the 2019 U.S. Open, and two local teams are participating in events. 

Children from the Suffolk County Junior Tennis League in Smithtown and the Sportime League in Kings Park are conducting on-court tennis demonstrations for fans. 

Net Generation kids on court before a match between Denis Kudla and Janko Tipsarevic at the 2019 U.S. Open Aug. 26. Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/USTA

The opportunity for young athletes to play a role in one of the world’s highest-attended sporting events has become a key component of the sport’s success. Suffolk’s founder and executive director, Joe Arias, was unavailable for comment this week, but national manager for USTA’s youth brand Net Generation, Leah Friedman, shared her insights. 

“Our on-court experiences allow us to celebrate our coaches, who are offering tennis in their communities and going above and beyond to impact their players,” she said. “Joe Arias and Suffolk County continue to inspire and engage their community. We want the next generation of greats leaving the U.S. Open with a lifetime of memories.” 

Madison De Cicco, 8, of Smithtown, tossed the coin Aug. 26 prior to the opening day match between Denis Kudla and Janko Tipsarević and then posed for a photo with the two players. The Suffolk County league delivered a demo session to fans prior to that match. On Monday, Sept. 2, the youth league at Sportime in Kings Park will put on a demo show on Court 12. 

Now in its third year, the program, called Kids on Court, has expanded each year with 60 groups nationwide participating. The demonstration program is part of the USTA’s youth tennis brand, Net Generation. The nonprofit organization expects to give more than 1,300 youth tennis players from across the country the opportunity to play on the iconic courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the first 10 days of the 2019 tournament. 

The youth demonstrations, called activations, will take place prior to sessions on each of the U.S. Open show courts: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand and Court 17 as well as Courts 5, 11 and 12. They will also be held in Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to four selected night sessions.

Net Generation wants to make it easier for kids and their parents to learn about tennis and get into the game in schools, parks and tennis clubs across the country. The movement is designed to appeal to kids ages 5-18. For more information, visit netgeneration.usta.com.