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Bill Landon

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Newfield junior Dalia Perez digs one out during the Wolverines' 3-1 victory over Centereach on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield junior Dalia Perez digs one out during the Wolverines' 3-1 victory over Centereach on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield junior Dalia Perez digs one out during the Wolverines’ 3-1 victory over Centereach on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After dropping the first set to the Centereach, Newfield won the next three on the road, defeating their crosstown rival 3-1 in League III volleyball action Friday afternoon.

The Wolverines looked to put the first set away, leading 20-15 at the first time out, but the Cougars battled back to tie it at 24-24, ultimately winning 26-24.

Newfield head coach Christy Innes said her team came out flat.

“The girls did not come out with a lot of energy, but they turned it around in game two,” she coach.

The second set was very different from the first.

The Wolverines turned up the intensity, and in convincing fashion, claimed the second set 25-16, to tie the match.

Centereach senior Lauren Meigel makes contact with the ball during the Cougars' 3-1 loss to Newfield on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach senior Lauren Meigel makes contact with the ball during the Cougars’ 3-1 loss to Newfield on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon

Centereach senior co-captain Lauren Meigel said she wasn’t surprised at the margin of victory in set two.

“That was to be expected as they were angry and wanted to get back [at us],” Centereach senior co-captain Nicole Fellone said. “Today we had great communication, where we had problems [with that] before.”

Trailing by six, Centereach battled back in the third set to tie the game at 21-21, and took a 24-22 advantage, but Newfield refused to lose, rallied back to tie it at 25-25, and neither team would give way, as the rivals retied the game at 26-26.

“Our attacking was a lot better in the later matches,” Newfield junior Rachel Mennonna said. “We talked a lot more and we moved our feet better.”

Newfield senior Gabby Darnaby sets up the ball during the Wolverines' 3-1 win over crosstown rival Centereach on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield senior Gabby Darnaby sets up the ball during the Wolverines’ 3-1 win over crosstown rival Centereach on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon

With a 27-26 lead, Newfield finished the third set, to go up 2-1 in the match.

“We played a team that was better than us,” Centereach head coach Mike Weaver said. “We’ve had a number of injuries over the season. We’re down three starters.”

Newfield showed why they took third place in league play this season, by stretching their legs in the fourth set to break out to a 19-11 lead, thanks to the senior captain Gabby Darnaby. On a service tear, rattling off eight consecutive points, Darnaby propelled her team to a 22-11 lead with a pair of service aces along the way.

“We had better energy after that first set — we had better communication and we played better defense,” Darnaby said. “We set up the blocks where they were supposed to be, and that helped a lot.”

Centereach junior Rachel Masullo leaps up to spike the ball in the Cougars' 3-1 loss to Newfield on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach junior Rachel Masullo leaps up to spike the ball in the Cougars’ 3-1 loss to Newfield on Oct. 23. Photo by Bill Landon

Newfield junior Dayna Hunter brought her team to the brink with her kill shot for a 24-11 advantage. Coping with an injury-riddled lineup, Weaver had to make adjustments — rotating players to fill the holes.

“Emily Timarky, who is a freshman who was thrown into a spot she’s never played, she stepped up and had nine kills, so I was very happy,” Weaver said.

But it was too much for Centereach, as Newfield put the fourth set away, 25-11, to win the match.

“I think we worked as hard as we possibly could everyone gave 100 percent,” Meigel said. “We hustled the whole way, and on offense, we just kept swinging away; we swung hard and we were not going down without a fight.”

With the loss, Centereach fell to 5-8, and with a win to finish off the regular season, Newfield improved to 10-4, which places them solidly in the playoff picture, which gets underway Monday Nov. 2.

Harborfields' Katie Hammer moves the ball downfield in the Tornadoes' 1-0 win over Comsewogue on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue's Jamie Fischer and Harborfields' Christiana DeBorja battle for possession in the Warriors' 1-0 loss to the Tornadoes on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Jamie Fischer and Harborfields’ Christiana DeBorja battle for possession in the Warriors’ 1-0 loss to the Tornadoes on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Harborfields girls’ soccer team needed a win to bolster its playoff seeding and got it, blowing through Warriors territory and leaving Comsewogue unable to find its first win of the season. The Tornadoes took the victory, 1-0, on its rival’s senior night.

The lone goal of the game came at the 17:31 mark of the first half when Harborfields junior Caroline Rosales fired a shot from 25 yards out that never touched the ground and slipped under the top post just off the fingertips.

“It was a rebound, and I just hit it off of a defender and I happened to be there and I just ripped one,” Rosales said. “They played hard as you would expect them to — it was their senior game, so of course we expected them to [come at us] hard.”

From there, it was a defensive struggle on both sides of the ball the rest of the way.

“They definitely came out strong, but we stayed with them,” Comsewogue senior Amanda Cirrincione said. “But we played really well today, and we were very strong defensively.”

Harborfields' Caroline Axelson stops the ball while Comsewogue's Haley Cooke tried to stop her in her tracks in the Tornadoes' 1-0 win over the Warriors on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Caroline Axelson stops the ball while Comsewogue’s Haley Cooke tried to stop her in her tracks in the Tornadoes’ 1-0 win over the Warriors on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Harborfields’ head coach Scott Wallace said Comsewogue was a different team from the last time they faced each other, when the Tornadoes won 4-0.

“They prevented us from doing what we normally do, which is possess in the midfield, and there they stepped on us,” the coach said. “So I give them a lot of credit. We didn’t play poorly, they just didn’t let us play well.”

Wallace said his defense played well, adding that it was a good team effort that helps prepare his team for the postseason.

“We’re going to finish 8-4, because our opponent on Wednesday forfeited,” Wallace said. “So I think we’ll get the last seed or the second to last seed, so we’re preparing for that. We’re going to be playing one of the top teams in the first round.”

The coach added that if his team can continue to play well defensively the Tornadoes might be able to surprise some people.

Harborfields' Katie Hammer moves the ball downfield in the Tornadoes' 1-0 win over Comsewogue on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Katie Hammer moves the ball downfield in the Tornadoes’ 1-0 win over Comsewogue on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Cirrincione said she thought her team moved the ball well, and had good positioning against Harborfields’ solid defense — it’s just that the Warriors missed some opportunities.

Her classmate Jenna Lynch echoed her sentiment.

“I feel that we’ve worked really well together on the field, but we just didn’t get the win,” she said.

The two victories in the Warriors’ record — they are 2-9-1 in League V — were both forfeits by Amityville.

“We haven’t won a game all season — this is a team that’s been executing our game plan to the letter, but just haven’t had a stroke of luck,” Comsewogue head coach James Bentley said. “If you were to rate nine out of 10 things, we’re phenomenal in nine sections — it’s just that we struggle to finish the ball.”

The Warriors will look for that elusive win on Wednesday when they travel to Westhampton Beach for a 4 p.m. matchup.

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Panthers pick off passes, make big offensive moves to annihilate Eagles, 53-14

By Bill Landon

The Panthers pounced early, and often.

On Saturday afternoon, the Miller Place football team outscored Rocky Point 53-14 in their homecoming game. After the pregame parade of floats, the marching band, fire trucks, cheerleaders and the crowning of the king & queen, the Panthers went to work.

Miller Place moved the chains four minutes in and appeared to stall on a 4th-and-19, but a call from the playbook was to go for it, and they did. Miller Place senior quarterback Stephen Farrell faked a handoff and rolled to his right, he was able to see a clear path to senior wide receiver Thomas Bell, who found the end zone for the score.

“We practice that play a lot and it was too far for a field goal, so we might as well take a shot with a play that we practice all week,” Farrell said. “And when it’s run the right way, it looks good.”

With the point after good, the Panthers took an early lead, 7-0.

Rocky Point fumbled the ball on its next possession, and Miller Place sophomore running back Tyler Ammirato, on a long run, put the Panthers in scoring position. Two plays later, Ammirato finished what he started by powering into the end zone for the Panthers second score. With the extra-point kick successful, the team took a 14-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Rocky Point fielded the ball on the 1-yard line, and stepped back into its own end zone and took a knee, downing the ball in the Eagles’ own end zone and handing the Panthers two points on a safety.

With 1:36 left in the opening quarter, Miller Place senior running back Kemonte Mosely made something out of nothing when he stalled up the middle and bounced outside, running eight yards to the end zone. With junior Eric Romero-Cisneros’ kick good, the Panthers took a 23-0 advantage into the second quarter.

“Coaches told us to come out here and play our hearts out,” Mosely said. “It’s homecoming, and the last time for our seniors to come out here and make it big. Rocky Point’s our neighbor — we knew it was going to be a big game for us, so we came out here and played hard.”

The Eagles found the end zone on the opening play of the second quarter when senior quarterback Harrison Lynch found sophomore running back Alec Rinaldi for the touchdown. Junior Sean McGovern split the uprights, and his team trailed, 23-7.

From there, it went from bad to worse for the Eagles, as the Panthers continued to light up the scoreboard. First, senior running back Matthew Bell, on a hand off, stepped outside and strolled into the end zone untouched. Rock Point was desperate to stop the bleeding and threw a long ball down the right sideline only to have it picked off by Miller Place senior defensive back and co-captain Mike Bodnar, who ran it back to the 16-yard line. With 8:55 left in the half, Farrell found Matthew Bell, who caught the ball and ran 21 yards for the score and 37-7 lead.

“Words can’t describe how bad we wanted it — we had the heart and the hustle,” Bell said. “We wanted it more and that’s what happened.”

The Eagles couldn’t get any traction, as Lynch searched for an open receiver and threw the ball down the right sidelines, only to have it picked off again, this time, by senior defensive back Kevin Kelleher.

The Panthers took over on the 34-yard line, but were unable to move the chains. With a cold breeze sweeping through, Romero-Cisneros knocked the ball between the posts with 16 seconds left on the clock. His 37-yard field goal helped his team surge ahead 40-7.

On the subsequent kickoff, the Eagles had time for one or two more plays. Desperate to put points on the board before the halftime break, Rocky Point made another long attempt, but Kelleher again saw the pass and snatched the ball out of the air for his second interception on the day.

Thomas Bell opened the second half for Miller Place with an 85-yard kickoff return to put the Panthers deep into Eagles territory. Mosely got the call, again, and delivered. Two plays later, he pushed his way into the end zone, and just 15 seconds into the third quarter, Miller Place head coach Ron Petrie began rotating his bench players with the 47-7 advantage.

“Defensively, we set a tone early; they had a couple of quick three and outs,” Petrie said. “With what we do offensively, we knew we would be able to find some mismatches in the passing game, and I think that’s what opened it up for us.”

In the closing quarter, Ammirato struck again for the Panthers’ final score of the day.

“It was a great win and I’m happy we won for our seniors today,” Ammirato said.

With the missed extra point, the Panthers were out in front, 53-7.

Rocky Point wasn’t out of gas just yet, and the Eagles managed one more score with nine minutes left when senior running back Brandon Combs found the end zone to help bring the final score to 53-14.

Bell said the win was very satisfying.

“They fought hard, we fought hard; it’s all the preparation from our coaches that got us to where we are now,” he said.

Farrell wasn’t surprised by the win, and was proud of his team’s efforts as the Panthers improve to 4-2 in Division III, while Rocky Point dropped to 2-4.

“It just shows how hard we worked and how bad we wanted this win,” Farrell said. “We wanted it for all the fans, and we wanted it for all of us.”

Newfield's Michelle Loken clears the ball at midfield at Huntington's Grace Curran races alongside her in the Wolverines' 4-2 win over the Blue Devils on Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Newfield field hockey team maintained its high postseason position Friday with a 4-2 win over Huntington, despite a 2-1 deficit heading into halftime.

According to Newfield head coach Martin Laverty, it took everything the Wolverines had in the second half to score three unanswered goals to pull out the 4-2 victory over their visiting opponents.

Huntington hit the scoreboard first at the eight-minute mark when junior midfielder Elizabeth Berejka crossed a pass to senior forward Meghan Plant, who rocked the box for the early lead.

Huntington's Elizabeth Berejka scores on Newfield's Maria Daume in the Blue Devils' 4-2 loss to Newfield on Oct. 16 Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Elizabeth Berejka scores on Newfield’s Maria Daume in the Blue Devils’ 4-2 loss to Newfield on Oct. 16 Photo by Bill Landon

“The last time we faced this team they beat us by a lot,” Plant said of the team’s previous 6-1 loss to Newfield. “But with each game we get bigger and better — staying close playing a team like this, it helps us to get into the playoffs.”

Laverty said his team was sluggish through the first 30 minutes of play.

“We came out slow in the first half, and our opponent came out really strong against us,” Laverty said. “They showed us that they really wanted this one.”

Newfield senior midfielder Jordynn Aiello evened the score when her solo shot found the cage with 17:11 left in the half to even the score.

The Wolverines looked to take the first lead of the game, but Huntington had other ideas, and Berejka drove an unassisted shot past the goalie with 21 seconds left to take a 2-1 advantage into the break.

Huntington head coach Kathy Wright said Berejka had an exceptional game.

“She had breakaways and with her speed, she can bring it up the field,” Wright said. “She had a great game and she can bring it right to the cage.”

Like her sister did in the first half, sophomore defender Camrynn Aiello evened the score in the second off a feed from freshman Abby Finley, to even the score, 2-2.

“We underestimated them a little bit — not realizing that every game is a new game, and at half time, we realized this is not the same team we versed the first time,” Camrynn Aiello said. “The coach told us a halftime that we would have to step it up and play Newfield hockey.”

Newfield's Leah Johnson tried to redirect the ball for a shot as Huntington's Cara Sorrentino guards the box in the Wolverines' 4-2 win over the Blue Devils on Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield’s Leah Johnson tried to redirect the ball for a shot as Huntington’s Cara Sorrentino guards the box in the Wolverines’ 4-2 win over the Blue Devils on Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Landon

After making some adjustments, Laverty said his team came out playing the way they’re supposed to play.

Newfield senior forward Brianna Reyes put the Wolverines out in front for good when she buried an unassisted shot with 14 minutes left for the 3-1 advantage.

Newfield senior midfielder Shannon Doherty orchestrated the insurance goal with four minutes left to play, when she fed Jordynn Aiello on a crossing pass for her second goal of the day, and the 4-2 win.

“They’re a really great team, but we played well,” Berejka said. “We gave it our all. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but we played our hardest.”

Jordynn Aiello said the game was definitely a wakeup call for her teammates.

“We realized in the second half that this was not the same team we played [two and a half weeks ago],” she said. “Now it’s the second half of the season and this is a new team we’re seeing on the field today.”

Huntington fell to 6-6 in Division II with the loss, and will host West Babylon on Tuesday at 4 p.m. for the last regular-season game of the year.

With the win, Newfield improved to 10-2, and with one game remaining in the regular season, will face West Islip on Wednesday at home at 6 p.m., before traveling to Miller Place for a scrimmage on Friday.

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The Middle Country girls’ cross country team poses for a group photo at Sunken Meadow State Park. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Middle Country girls’ cross country squad were handed the victory by forfeit, as they took on Commack Tuesday afternoon at Sunken Meadow State Park. Both teams were released together as the pack disappeared over the wooden footbridge for the 2.7-mile event, but Commack ran the wrong course, leaving the Mad Dogs the victors by a score of 50-15.

It was a multischool meet with schools from all over Suffolk County pairing off in front of a large crowd of onlookers.

Camila McCusker runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Camila McCusker runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

Middle Country head coach Bill King said both teams were evenly matched and knew the meet would be determined by a couple of points. Nearly 20 minutes after the start of the race, the best runners of the day turned the corner and headed down the home stretch. The only problem was, it was only Commack crossing the finish line, without a Middle Country runner in sight.

King said he couldn’t understand the disparity, and Middle Country senior Olivia Rogers said the Commack runners didn’t complete the same course that her team ran.

“The times are a little messed up because Commack ran a different course than we did,” the co-captain said. “We ran a different distance than they did —  they took a shortcut, so I don’t know if there’s even going to be a score.”

It turns out that King’s suspicion was right, and after a lengthy postrace investigation, the Commack runners were found to have turned off the official race route and ran a shorter distance. The Commack head coach admitted his team’s mistake and handed the victory to Middle Country.

“It should’ve been a very close meet, but I knew something was wrong when I saw them coming in one, two, three and four,” King said. “It should’ve been much closer, and the difference should have only been a couple of points [between us].”

But before the dust settled, the first across the finish line for Middle Country was senior Samantha Plunkett, who said she wasn’t happy with her performance because she had done better at her previous meet.

Samantha Plunkett runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Samantha Plunkett runs for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

“I’ve run faster than I did today, so it wasn’t my best,” she said. “I ran faster two weeks ago when we versed Lindenhurst, but today, the conditions were OK.”

Crossing the line in second was sophomore Camila McCusker, who has similar feelings as Plunkett regarding her own performance.

“Today wasn’t my best — I was a couple of seconds off,” McCusker said. “It was a little hotter today than normal.”

Crossing the line for third was Rogers, followed by sophomore Kayla Juran, and finishing in the final points paying position was eighth-grader Nevaeh Kallon.

“We have a close group of girls — [myself], Camila McCusker, Kayla Juran and Samantha Plunkett,” Rogers said. “The team we versed last time was Sachem East, I think they’re the best in the county, so they pushed us really hard. We wanted to stay as close as we could with them; gain some respect.”

Middle Country competed with just nine girls, where most other teams field many more runners. King said that his team puts the emphasis on quality, not quantity.

With the win, Middle Country improves to 3-1 in League II and hits the road next for a tri-meet with Sachem North and Central Islip on Tuesday at Sunken Meadow State Park at 4 p.m.

Harborfields ties game to end 3rd quarter, Eagles score three touchdowns to pull away, 48-33

By Bill Landon

The Rocky Point football team pulled out a 48-33 victory in Saturday’s homecoming game, halting a late rally by visiting Harborfields, which tied the game at 27-27 after three quarters of play. The Eagles watched their first-half 27-12 advantage disappear in the third quarter, to make it a new game in the final 12 minutes of play. Rocky Point was able to outscore its opponent with three touchdowns in the final quarter in front of a capacity crowd, to move to 2-3 in Division III.

Rocky Point sophomore running back Peter LaSalla broke free from the line of scrimmage four minutes into the game and jetted down the left sideline for a 60-yard touchdown run and the first score of the game. Although the extra-point attempt failed, the team took an early 6-0 lead.

A minute later, the Tornadoes were unable to convert on downs, and punted the ball away to junior receiver Sean McGovern, who returned the punt 65 yards for the Eagles’ second touchdown of the game.

“We got a big play from Sean on that punt return,” Rocky Point senior quarterback Harrison Lynch said.

McGovern, also the kicker, finished what he started, and split the uprights to help his team break out to a 13-0 lead.

Harborfields answered back when quarterback Cody Cunningham, on a keeper, punched in for the score, but the Eagles blocked the extra-point kick attempt, to trail the Eagles, 13-6.

Lynch and sophomore Damian Rivera shared quarterback duties all afternoon, and Rivera, under center, passed the ball over to Lynch, who broke outside and went the distance for the touchdown. McGovern’s point-after was good, and the Eagles stretched their lead to 20-6.

Harborfields, on the longest sustained drive of the afternoon that consumed four minutes off the clock, ended its march across the field with a score, despite a penalty-plagued campaign that included a 15- yard unsportsmanlike conduct call. The extra-point kick attempt failed again, and the Tornadoes settled for a 20-12 deficit with just over two minutes left in the half.

Rocky Point looked to put the game away when Lynch, on a play-action pass, found LaSalla open down the right sideline. The running back gathered it in on a catch-and-run play, and recorded a 46-yard score. With the point after, the Eagles took a 27-12 advantage into the halftime break, but that lead didn’t last for long.

Harborfields moved the chains to open the second half only to cough the ball up four minutes in, as Rocky Point took possession on their own 25-yard line. Unable to capitalize, the Tornadoes were on the move again.

On a play-action pass, Harborfields quarterback Cody Cunningham found wide receiver Christian Mullings in the end zone for the score, and after a successful two-point conversion, made it a one-score game, 27-20.

On Rocky Points’ ensuing possession, the Eagles fumbled and Harborfields recovered the ball on the 34- yard line with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. On the second play from scrimmage, the Tornadoes cashed in and tied the game 27-27.

McGovern said he was surprised that Harborfields was able to even the score.

“It was a little bit of a shock, but we knew we could get back in it,” McGovern said. “Harry Lynch led us — he motivated. He sure can play; he’s a baller.”

Moving into the fourth quarter, the Eagles knew they had to finish the game the way they started.

“We just had to keep going, so we started the fourth like it was 0-0,” LaSalla said. “We put up the first two touchdowns [to start the game], so we knew we could do it again.”

The Eagles went to work in the final 12 minutes., and Lynch got the ball moving when he fired deep to the senior running back Paul Dominguez for a touchdown pass, as Rocky Point jumped back out in front, 34-27.

Cunningham looking to retie the game, and dropped back to pass, but had to check down, or look for his secondary receivers, and was blindsided just as he released the ball. Rocky Point junior tight end and defensive back Brendan Heggers found himself under the ill-fated pass, and grabbed possession for the interception.

“We came out a little flat after halftime,” Lynch said, “but we picked it up after that interception, and just got things rolling after that.”

The Eagles wasted no time in cashing in on Harborfield’s miscue, and sophomore running back Alec Rinaldi plowed his way up the middle to find the end zone. McGovern split the pipes once again, and the Eagles surged ahead 41-27 with seven minutes left to play.

Harborfields wouldn’t go quietly, and Cunningham bulled his way up the middle for six points, but the extra-point attempt missed. Rocky Point put the game away with just under two minutes remaining when Rinaldi struck again, and the successful point-after brought the final score to 48-33.

“Harborfields is a tough team,” Lynch said. Opening the fourth quarter, the quarterback said: “We gotta get it done. We’ve just gotta find a way to get it done; it’s as simple as that.”

And the Eagles did.

Rocky Point will hit the road Saturday as the team heads to Miller Place. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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Ashley Hart competes in the 100-meter backstroke, where she placed second with a time of one minute, 13.21 seconds. The Patriots lost, 97-81, to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9.Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Unlike years past, the girls swimming team of Ward Melville tasted something it hasn’t sampled in many years — a defeat.

The defending Suffolk County champions fell at Half Hollow Hills, 97-81, Friday afternoon in a League I meet, for the Patriot’s third loss of the season.

Ward Melville head coach Chris Gordon said that in the past, his team would field three or four swimmers in every event, but after losing more than a dozen seniors to graduation this year, this season’s team does not have the depth that past teams in the Patriots’ swimming dynasty had.

Liliana Ayer, who placed second in diving, tumbles off the one-meter board during the Patriots' 97-81 loss to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9. Photo by Bill Landon
Liliana Ayer, who placed second in diving, tumbles off the one-meter board during the Patriots’ 97-81 loss to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9. Photo by Bill Landon

“You saw it here today — they took second, third and fourth in several events, and when you can do that, you’re going to win the meet,” Gordon said of Half Hollow Hills.

Senior co-captain Katie Wang competed in the 200 medley, 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

“I felt good in the water,” she said. “I’ve been [focusing] on my technique.”

Placing second in the diving competition was freshman Liliana Ayer, and third place went to fellow freshman Hannah Goldhaber. Rounding out fourth place was the senior Jennifer Yavid, who is playing in her fourth season on the varsity squad.

Junior Ashley Hart competed in the 100-meter backstroke, where she placed second with a time of one minute, 13.21 seconds.

Senior so-captain Casey Gavigan easily won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:27.30, a performance that qualified her for a spot in the NYSPHSAA Championship competition in Ithaca in November. Gavigan has also qualified for the state championship in the 100 backstroke, and will look to defend her title in that event as the reigning state champion.

The co-captain said that despite her personal success, it’s been difficult for the team to live up to its reputation.

“After our championship season last year, we have a huge title to look up to, so it’s a lot of pressure,” Gavigan said. “But so long as all of the girls try their best, the coaches and we as captains are proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves.”

Ward Melville will host Brentwood next, on Thursday. The meet is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.

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Ward Melville
Ward Melville junior midfielder Madison Hobbes is chased for the ball in the Patriots' 6-0 shut out of Brentowod on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior midfielder Madison Hobbes is chased for the ball in the Patriots’ 6-0 shut out of Brentowod on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After a slow start, and leading 2-0 at the end of 40 minutes, the Ward Melville girls’ soccer team leaned on its bench in the second half to overpower Brentwood and put the game away, 6-0.

“I was happy with our play in the first five to 10 minutes when we scored quick, but we fell into a lull — thinking we were going to have an easy game,” Ward Melville head coach John Diehl said. “I didn’t like our performance for most of the first half, but we picked it up midway through the second.”

Ward Melville sophomore forward Kerri Liucci opened the scoring four minutes in when she broke free of defenders and shot from the left side, beating the keeper to the right corner for the score.

Junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery struck next off a corner kick, to help the Patriots edge ahead, 2-0.

Ward Melville senior forward and co-captain Ciara Guglielmo stops the ball to gain possession at midfield in the Patriots' 6-0 blanking of Brentwood on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior forward and co-captain Ciara Guglielmo stops the ball to gain possession at midfield in the Patriots’ 6-0 blanking of Brentwood on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

“We had good possession today — we really stepped it up even though we had a considerable lead,” Raftery said. “But it was a much better effort in that second half.”

Diehl said he decided to start some players in the second half who don’t normally start and don’t receive as much playing time.

“They came in and did a great job,” he said. “They did what we wanted, because we needed a change in the second half.”

Raftery opened the second half with her second goal of the game, after leaping in the air and heading a corner kick past the keeper with authority, for a three-goal advantage.

“I’m designated to go to the net for every corner [kick],” Raftery said. “It was a cross from Ciara Guglielmo and I was able to head it in. It’s a set play for us and we practice it all the time.”

On a crossing pass three minutes later, sophomore midfielder Arianna Barbieri passed to junior midfielder Hannah Hobbes, who buried her shot.

Ward Melville junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery, who had two goals in the Patriots' 6-0 win at Brentwood on Oct. 5, heads the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery, who had two goals in the Patriots’ 6-0 win at Brentwood on Oct. 5, heads the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

“I got a great cross and I just tapped it in,” Hobbes said. “We had a better second half with better possession and good passing.”

With just over 20 minutes left to play, it was Guglielmo, a senior forward and co-captain’s turn, as she drove a teammate’s rebound off a save from the Brentwood goalkeeper back at the net, and this time, in, for the 5-0 lead.

“I thought we had great possession on a grass field, because we usually don’t play on grass,” Guglielmo said. “It’s bumpy and a different way of play, so in the second half we got used to the [field] and played to our feet.”

Rounding out the scoring for Ward Melville was junior forward Erin O’Connor, who found the net at the 18:13 mark, to put the game away, 6-0.

With the win, the Patriots improve to 7-1-2 in League I, and will travel to Sachem North Wednesday for a 4:15 p.m. game.

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By Bill Landon

Although Mother Nature smiled on Port Jefferson Saturday morning during the school’s homecoming day parade, the same could not be said for the football game that followed two hours later. Despite the cold and drizzling rain as gusts of wind spoiled the kicking game for both teams, the Royals (2-2) were able to still show Wyandanch what they’re made of, reigning over the visiting team, 34-8, for a sweet homecoming victory.

Port Jefferson struck first in the Division IV matchup when senior fullback Garret Hiz punched into the end zone for a touchdown eight minutes into the game. Although the ensuing two-point conversion attempt failed, the Royals found themselves with an early lead.

“We came out and gave it everything,” Hiz said. “It was rainy, cold and the field was a mess. It was hard to run out there, but we held our own and we got the win.”

In a game riddled with turnovers, Port Jefferson was on the move again thanks to a fumble recovery by junior outside linebacker John Knapp, which set up the next score. After a long run by Hiz to the 3-yard line, senior quarterback Nick Caltagirone finished the drive. The quarterback also helped score on the 2-point conversion attempt, to help the Royals extend their lead to 14-0 with five minutes left in the half.

Caltagirone and sophomore Jack Collins shared the quarterback duties all afternoon, and like Hiz, Collins was also happy with his team’s performance.

“I thought we played well — our backs just powered through their defense,” Collins said. “The ball was tough to handle, there’s a lot of mud out there and the grass is a lot slipperier than turf.”

Wyandanch coughed the ball up again, and this time, it was the junior linebacker Brian Mark on the recovery as the wind gusted and the rain intensified.

The possession did not lead to another score, but Royals opened the second half looking to put the game away.

Caltagirone got the call on the opening drive, and capped it off by diving into the end zone to make it a three-score game. With a failed conversion attempt, Port Jefferson settled for a 20-0 lead.

The senior quarterback said his team had several miscues, but grew stronger as the game wore on.

“Honestly, I thought we played a little bit sloppy, but overall we kicked it in, especially in the second half,” Caltagirone said. “The conditions were rough, it was a dogfight, it was slick — everybody’s slipping all over the place — but other than that, it was a good game.”

Wyandanch couldn’t get any traction, and turned the ball over yet again. This time, junior linebacker Eddie Park recovered the ball to set up the Royals’ next score.

In the closing minute of the third, with the ball at midfield, Port Jefferson senior running back Michael DiCalogero went to work. When the handoff up the middle went nowhere, DiCalogero bounced it outside and went the distance down the right sideline as he scampered into the end zone. The Royals lost traction, and again failed to convert on the two-point play, as they surged ahead 26-0.

“We wanted to play a clean game — as clean of a game with the elements you have here — but the conditions are definitely more suited for our style of play,” Port Jefferson head coach Andrew Cosci said. “We came out in the second half looking to finish the game, so I was proud of the guys for playing hard the whole game and not letting up.”

Two minutes into the final quarter, the Warriors scored when Christian Flowers bulled his way up the middle, broke free from tacklers and found the end zone. Flowers finished it with two more points, as his team trailed 26-8.

With five minutes left, Caltagirone found the end zone for his third touchdown of the afternoon.

Cosci said it has been a frustrating start to the season, after opening with a win to drop two big losses, 23-8 and 34-6, and he looked for Caltagirone to have the kind of game he did.

“This is the first time we’ve seen him play the way he’s capable of playing, and he can carry a team when he plays like that,” Cosci said.

DiCalogero put the icing on the homecoming cake with the two-point conversion, to put the 34-8 victory into the record books.

The Royals will have their hands full on Saturday when they host undefeated Shoreham-Wading River. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Ward Melville's Lexi Reinhardt (No. 9) taps the ball into the cage off a feed from Kerri Thornton (No. 12) during the Patriots' 4-0 shutout of Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville swarmed the field Tuesday and with an impressive passing performance gave Commack more than it could handle, blanking their opponent 4-0 on the road in Division I field hockey action.

The Patriots got to work three minutes in when sophomore Kerri Thornton hit the scoreboard first off an assist from fellow sophomore Kate Mulham, to take an early lead.

Ward Melville's Katie Mulham moves the ball down the field during the Patriots' 4-0 blanking of Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Katie Mulham moves the ball down the field during the Patriots’ 4-0 blanking of Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

“I had a great insert from Kate Mulham,” Thornton said of the first goal of the game. “Our passing today was the best [we’ve had this season].”

Having lost to their Division I rival Sachem East on Saturday, the Patriots’ play was crisper, more deliberate, and they were faster to the ball than their opponents to bounce back and learn from their defeat.

“I think that coming off Saturday’s loss to Sachem East, today, we showed a lot of discipline,” said Ward Melville head coach Shannon Watson. “We were able to play at our level, the entire game.”

With 13:06 left in the first half, junior Kassidy Rogers-Healion passed the ball to freshman Lexi Reinhardt, who redirected the ball in the front of the cage for the score to put her team out front, 2-0.

At the 10-minute mark, Commack made an offense push, spending more time in front of the Patriots’ box, but Ward Melville senior goalkeeper Emily Hoey stood tall and extinguished the Cougars’ onslaught. She notched four saves on the afternoon.

Ward Melville wasn’t finished scoring, and a minute later, Reinhardt found the box again, this time, off an assist by Thornton, to help her team break out to a 3-0 lead.

“It was a fast break and the defender was on Kerri [Thornton],” Reinhardt said. “I was right in front of the goal and she passed it to me, and I just tapped it in.”

With just over four minutes left in the half, Commack’s Brooke Novello squared off against Hoey with a penalty shot at point-blank range, which Hoey was able to deflect, spoiling the Cougars’ best scoring opportunity of the afternoon.

Ward Melville's Kiera Alventosa air dribbles the ball during the Patriots' 4-0 win over Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Kiera Alventosa air dribbles the ball during the Patriots’ 4-0 win over Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

Reinhardt wasn’t done, and buried her hat trick goal early in the second half, to put the game away, 4-0.

“I got a great pass [from junior Hannah Lorenzen] and I just tapped it in,” Reinhardt said. “I had a lot of help today from my teammates.”

Watson said that junior Kiera Alventosa and senior Shawn Davenport held the midfield together, which was key to getting the ball up front.

“They both did a really nice job for us in the midfield this afternoon,” she said. “They made smart choices and they anchored the center of the field today.”

With the win, Ward Melville improves to 4-1, and will look to improve on that when the Patriots host Bay Shore on Friday. The opening face-off is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

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