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League VI

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Landslide victories help Eagles to seventh straight league crown

Rocky Point's Corey Connolly takes down his Amityville opponent. Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

These Eagles are flying high.

Like the opportunistic foragers they represent, Rocky Point’s wrestlers saw how close they were to another undefeated league season, and grabbed it by easily outscoring Amityville and Westhampton Beach to finish the season 6-0.

Rocky Point’s Ryan Callahan claims a victory. Photo by Jim Ferchland

“Our team has been grinding throughout the year,” senior captain Ryan Callahan said. “We’ve had a lot of tough matches; we’ve had some tough teams we’ve battled, but every team will get their bumps and bruises.”

Amityville had to bow out of six matches — weight classes 99 to 132 — giving Rocky Point a 36-point lead right out of the gate on the way to a 74-9 victory Jan. 10. Sal Aprile pinned Amityville’s Nestor Rivera in the 182-pound weight class to give Rocky Point 67 consecutive points.

“It’s a rarity, but not so much with Amityville,” Rocky Point head coach Darren Goldstein said of the multiple forfeits.

Callahan (22-4 at 138 pounds) and Don Hammarth (16-1 at 145 pounds) won by technical falls, outscoring their opponents by 15 points for automatic wins.

Callahan said Goldstein has taught him everything he knows about wrestling.

“I’ve been around him since I was 5 years old,” Callahan said. “He taught me everything about the sport; everything about competing. He taught me great sportsmanship and to enjoy sports.”

Rob Pliska gave the Eagles four points with a major decision over Amityville’s Angel Zavala, 8-0, at 152 pounds, and Corey Connolly won 5-0 at 160 pounds.

Rocky Point’s Don Hammarth controls his Amityville challenger. Photo by Jim Ferchland

The Eagles only continued their winning ways at Westhampton Jan. 11 with another dominant win.

Mickey Gold, Justin Amendola, Anthony Sciotto and Darren Ketcham each pinned their challengers, which alone would have handed Rocky Point sole possession of the League VI title. Rocky Point won the dual meet 67-12.

Callahan and Connolly teched their opponents, and Hammarth pulled out an 11-3 major decision.

“We’ve had a share of the league title for the last seven years straight,” Goldstein said. “We are proud, but we set big goals in the beginning. We work year round.”

Rocky Point finishes the regular season 11-1 overall, with the sole loss being to League V’s Eastport-South Manor the first meet of the season. Goldstein is proud to see how his grapplers bounced back, giving it their all at each meet after. He’s looking forward to seeing what his Eagles can do in the Suffolk County brackets.

“We didn’t wrestle our best to Eastport-South Manor, but we’ve been rolling ever since,” Goldstein said. “When the county dual comes, you can’t run away.”

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Five Panthers take home league titles, win school's first team title

Eric Schreck controls his opponent. Photo by Ray Nelson

Suffolk County rivals may have written off Miller Place wrestling after the Panthers graduated several key competitors last season, but the boys came back to make a statement: they’re only getting better.

After going 21-2 this season, the team won the League VI dual meet title for the second straight season, with a 7-0 record, and took it a step further this season — winning the League VI team championship for the first time in school history.

“We did a lot of work in the offseason,” Miller Place head coach Matt Kaszubski said. “We went a full year, 12 months, 52 weeks of wrestling. I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be as good as we are, but we knew we were. We knew we were going to be competitive this year, but the kids exceeded our expectations.”

Joe Bartolotto following a win. Photo by Ray Nelson

The Panthers, who also served as the host team, were in third place heading into the quarterfinals of the League VI championship, but in the semifinals, the grapplers caught fire. Ten Panthers went through to the finals, with eight getting bonus points and five claiming the top spot. Miller Place, at 241. 5 points, pulled ahead of Islip (230.5) and Elwood-John Glenn (205).

“Our biggest thing was wrestling for each other,” the head coach said. “We preach hard work and the kids really bought in, they committed on the mat, they committed in the weight room, running on their own, we went to camps, and it all came together this season.”

Redemption was on the minds of James Alamia and Joe Bartolotto III, who each placed second in last season’s championship.

“I definitely didn’t want to go out second,” Bartolotto said. “I wanted to end on a good note and get the title my senior year.”

“Good” may be an understatement for the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, who pinned his quarterfinal and semifinal opponents.

“They were pretty quick,” he said. “I just wanted to get those out of the way and focus on the big one — the finals.”

The 160-pounder said he knew it was going to be a good matchup because he’d wrestled his challenger in the dual meet season. He said he prepared for the matchup all week, and it paid off. He won by a 5-1 decision.

Kaszubski said he always knows he can count on his senior standout and team leader in pins.

“He’s one of the best athletes we’ve ever had — he’s a total package kind of kid,” he said of his player, who’s headed to Cornell University to play lacrosse. “His commitment to wrestling has been second to none.”

At 120 pounds, Alamia won all three of his matches by pins. He had a different experience last season. He said he was disappointed in his finals loss after he’d outscored his opponent earlier that season.

“Ever since last year ended we said, ‘starting now, next season starts,’ and we just never stopped working.”

—James Alamia

“The motivation and the will to win helped me,” he said of his finals match, where he was up by 12 points before getting the pin. “Not that the pins were easy, but most of the kids I’d wrestled before and I did a lot better this time around. Ever since last year ended we said, ‘starting now, next season starts,’ and we just never stopped working.”

At 138 pounds, Eric Schreck also had a pin, taking down his first opponent in 1 minute, 40 seconds before a 15-0 technical fall and 11-3 major decision in the finals.

“I had a good day,” he said. “There were tough kids, but I do whatever it takes to win.

I take ‘em down quick in the first and stay on top, try to turn as much as I can.”

The head coach said the handful of disappointments last season fueled the fire for his grapplers to come back strong.

“It was a blessing in disguise having them fall a little short last year,” he said. “They were hungrier than ever, and we have a lot of prolific pinners. We preach putting guys on their back and getting pins and getting bonus points. That’s something that we work on ever day.”

Kyle Klein Jr. also took home a title at 99 pounds, as did James Rado at 126 pounds.

Bartolotto and his teammates agreed that although placing first was the icing on the cake, winning the team title was what mattered most.

“Winning the Most Outstanding Wrestler title felt good as recognition for working hard, but winning the team championship felt better because this was the last team thing we can do this season,” he said. “We’ve been doing things that people didn’t think we’d be able to do.”

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After back-to-back Suffolk County titles, Mustangs fall to Clarke, 7-1, to end season

The Mount Sinai softball team fell to Clarke, 7-1, in the Long Island championship on June 3 at Hofstra University. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

One year ago, the Mount Sinai softball team reached a new milestone, achieving a level of success the likes of which the Mustangs had never seen.

“This is the best softball team Mount Sinai has ever had,” head coach Tom Tilton said. “They won the conference, they won the league and they won the county championship — something that has never been done before.”

Sabrina Burrus reaches out to grab the ball behind the plate. Photo by Bill Landon
Sabrina Burrus reaches out to grab the ball behind the plate. Photo by Bill Landon

Looking to repeat last year’s success, the Mount Sinai softball team went undefeated in its conference for a second year in a row, finishing atop League VI with a 12-0 record, which earned the team the top seed in the Class A bracket.

After a first-round bye, the Mustangs picked off No. 4 Hampton Bays and took down No. 3 Islip, the only team that had beaten them in a nonleague contest earlier in the season, sending them to the loser bracket, only to play the Buccaneers again in the semifinal round. In back-to-back games, Mount Sinai beat Islip for the school’s second consecutive county title.

A year ago, it had never been done before. And this season, they did it again.

Mount Sinai’s roadblock last year was the Long Island championship, and this year it would be no different. The Mustangs faced Clarke at Hofstra University Friday afternoon, and fell 7-1 to end a remarkable season.

Mount Sinai fell behind 2-0 after one inning of play, and the Mustangs struggled to find a rhythm, making a pitching change in just the bottom of the second inning. Eighth-grader Kelsey Carr took over on the mound after Clarke loaded the bases, with the Mustangs trailing by three runs. It was an error-riddled inning, and Clarke capitalized on each mistake, scoring four unearned runs to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

Hailey La Giudice throws from third. Photo by Bill Landon
Hailey La Giudice throws from third. Photo by Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai bats were quiet over the next two innings, but would get the goose egg off the scoreboard in the top of the fifth.

With runners at first and second, senior third baseman and catcher Sabrina Burrus smacked a sacrifice fly to advance the runner at second to third. Sophomore catcher and third baseman Hailey La Giudice stepped into the batter’s box and battled the pitcher as the count grew full, and ripped the ball through the gap to right field, plating Carr.

With runners on first and second, sophomore Emma Wimmer drew a walk to load the bases, but the opportunity was squandered as the Mustangs went down swinging to end the inning. From there, the Mustangs bats went silent. The team was unable to mount another rally from there.

“We prepared to hit the faster pitching because we know what she brings,” Tilton said of Clarke’s pitcher. “There’s no two ways about it, but I didn’t anticipate making six errors in the first two innings. Today we were very nervous and we haven’t shown that all year. Today that killed us. You can’t give up five unearned runs to a pitcher like that and expect to win.”

Losing only two seniors to graduation, Tilton said he is optimistic about next season.

“We’re a very young team,” he said. “We’ll be back next year.”

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Matt McNulty and the crowd celebrates Miller Place clinching the league title. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki

It was senior night on Friday, Jan. 22, and the Miller Place wrestling team pounced on Islip to win 34-31.

With the victory came something even sweeter: the Panther’s first piece of a League VI title in 36 years.

“We graduated a quality group of seniors last year, and I think people expected us to take a hit as far as our dual-meet team,” Miller Place head coach Matt Kaszubski said. “In the beginning of the season, we took a couple of losses that we shouldn’t have, and then after Christmas we really started rolling and coming together, and the group bought into what we were doing. The league title was a result of a lot of hard work over many years, and it was awesome to achieve that with this group.”

The Panthers finished last season 13-4 overall, and were 12-4-1 heading into the senior night dual meet, which was the team’s final match of the regular season.

At 106 pounds, senior David Selg found himself down in a match against a good opponent, but pinned him at the 4:36 mark.

“He’s very strong and his pin was huge for us,” Kaszubski said of Selg. “We also had Eddie Marbot, who is probably one of the scrappiest kids we have on the team, have a nice win for us.”

Eddie Marbot pins his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki
Eddie Marbot pins his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki

Marbot, a senior who weighed in at 138 pounds, won with a 5-2 decision over his opponent. Needing to win one more match to earn the win and a share of the league title with Elwood-John Glenn and Mount Sinai, sophomore Anthony McNaughton pinned his opponent in 1:25 at 220 pounds to clinch the meet.

“Everyone was celebrating,” Kaszubski said. “The motto of the night was wrestle for each other — wrestle for somebody else other than yourself. The kids really stepped up and it was a cool experience.”

For Marbot, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It was an almost unbelievable experience to be a part of, and something that none of us will ever forget — especially me being a senior,” he said. “To win the league title on senior night was icing on the cake.”

Selg said the team environment became that of a family from the start of the preseason to the present.

“Everyone did what they needed to do,” he said. “When everybody left last year, nobody expected anything, just like coach said, and this year we came back and we were all a family, we stuck together and we won the league title. I’m really proud of my team.”

Marbot added that the camaraderie couldn’t be matched.

“Everyone dedicated their time to improving — going to open mats, going to camps — everyone really came together to build the team,” he said. “And coach Kaszubski, he’s the best coach and teacher that you could ask for.”

The Panthers made it to the postseason as the No. 12 seed, but fell to No. 5 Lindenhurst, 57-9, in the opening round Jan. 27. No. 1-seeded Rocky Point made it all the way through the bracket to claim the Section XI title.

Eric Schreck controls his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki
Eric Schreck controls his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki

As the wrestlers prepare for leagues and counties, Kaszubski said he has two grapplers, 132-pounder Eric Schreck and 160-pound Joe Bartolotto, who are looking to place high in the county. Selg and Marbot, along with seniors 126-pound Dan Curcio and 154-pound Ryan Ammirato, are also looking to make some noise in the postseason by being league champions and placing in the county tournament.

“We knew we had a good crew,” the head coach said. “It’s nice to see all the hard work over the last couple of years come to fruition. Everyone feeds off of each other and they want to win for each other, so it’s been a blessing to coach these kids.”

For wrestlers like Marbot, being a part of the Panthers’ team is something he’ll never forget.

“I’d be lost without wrestling,” he said. “To end the regular season like this, as a senior, it couldn’t have ended any better. We had a good run. Especially being that no one thought we were going to be anything this year, we really showed everyone.”

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Miller Place senior Danielle Bamnola maintains possession of the ball inside the paint in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Miller Place girls’ basketball team snapped an eight-game losing streak with its first win since early December and second League VI win of the season, in a 61-18 victory over East Hampton Tuesday.

Miller Place junior Elizabeth Corbin makes her way into East Hampton's zone in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place junior Elizabeth Corbin makes her way into East Hampton’s zone in the Panthers’ 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Most of the girls’ losses over that streak were close, with the girls losing by four to six points in half of them.

The Panthers’ last win was a 57-32 win over East Hampton on Dec. 11, and since then, the girls have shown they’ve improved by allowing fewer points and tacking on more against the Bonackers this time around.

Senior Milan Hatcher started the game off with two points, and nearly four minutes went by before the next points were put on the board. This time, it was East Hampton scoring a three-pointer, which the Bonackers followed with a long field goal to take a 5-2 lead.

At the 3:02 mark, junior Elizabeth Corbin scored a field goal to pull within one point, and senior Jess Powers tacked on a layup with 1:33 left in the first quarter to give the team a lead it would never relinquish. Sophomore Kelli Ryan scored a layup after a turnover and sophomore Victoria Iavarone swished one free-throw point to give the Panthers a 9-5 lead at the end of eight minutes.

Miller Place sophomore Victoria Iavarone moves the ball downcourt in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place sophomore Victoria Iavarone moves the ball downcourt in the Panthers’ 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Miller Place was forcing turnovers and stealing passes, but both teams were victims of traveling, and both had trouble getting their shots to fall.

Those errors continued into the second stanza, leaving Miller Place unable to score for nearly the first two minutes of play, while the Panthers held East Hampton scoreless across the full eight minutes.

With 6:12 remaining, sophomore Jillian Patterson broke the ice with a long two-point field goal. A minute later, senior Danielle Bamnola scored a layup, and seconds after that, Iavarone tacked on another two points to extend her team’s lead to 15-5.

Corbin netted a field goal, while Bamnola added two free-throw points and Hatcher added another, to bring the halftime score to 20-5.

From there, it was smooth sailing for the Panthers as their shots began to fall in the second half.

Miller Place senior Jess Powers prepares to pass the ball in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place senior Jess Powers prepares to pass the ball in the Panthers’ 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Miller Place nearly doubled its first-half score in the third quarter alone, tacking on 17 more points while holding its opponent to five, and lit up the scoreboard even more in the fourth, with 24 points to East Hampton’s eight.

Bamnola led all scorers with 15 points. Hatcher finished with 12 and Patterson contributed 11. Corbin tallied eight points on the evening, Powers, Ryan and sophomore Kaylee Deleva added four points apiece and Iavarona rounded out the scoring with three points on the evening.

The Panthers (3-9 overall, 2-6 in conference play) are back in action today when they travel to Hampton Bays (6-1 in League VI) for a 5:45 p.m. tipoff.

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Mackenzie Zajac makes her way to the basket in Shoreham-Wading River's 51-30 loss to Hampton Bays. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Shoreham-Wading River girls’ basketball team struggled to recover after an 11-0 start by its opponent as the Wildcats fell to Hampton Bays, 51-30, in their first League VI loss Tuesday.

“Being down 11-0 was a problem,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Adam Lievre said. “We talked a little bit about that before the game — I don’t know if I jinxed us — but we played hard. Offensively, at times, we struggled to score, and against a team that can shoot the ball well from the outside, it’s hard for us to trade missed layups for them to get open threes.”

Mikayla Dwyer maintains possession with a Hampton Bays defender on her hip in the Wildcats' 51-30 loss on Jan. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mikayla Dwyer maintains possession with a Hampton Bays defender on her hip in the Wildcats’ 51-30 loss on Jan. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Shoreham-Wading River sophomore guard Mikayla Dwyer put the Wildcats’ first points on the board, and junior forward Lindsey McKenna followed right behind her. Dwyer was fouled heading to the basket after her team forced a turnover, and she sank her first free-throw attempt to cut the deficit, 11-5.

The Baymen went on another tare, this time scoring six straight points, before McKenna scored another field goal. Hampton Bays countered with a field goal of its own, and added a long field goal at the buzzer to bring the score to 22-7.

“Execution is hard,” Lievre said. “We do as much as we can, and sometimes they fall and sometimes they don’t. Tonight was a night where, early on, in the first couple of minutes, they didn’t fall, and it led to a hole that we just couldn’t recover from.”

The hole continued to grow, despite junior guard Jesse Arline coming off the bench to score half of the team’s points in the second stanza, with a long field goal and a three-pointer. At the end of the eight minutes, the Wildcats fell behind 38-17.

“We just need to strategize, but there’s no problem with effort,” Arline said. “We tried really hard and we did a good job. I think movement of the ball was really good. Some of our shots weren’t landing, but you need to play fast against a team like that.”

Lievre said he agreed that despite the loss, he’s never had a problem with his girls giving him their all.

“My girls always play hard until the very end,” he said. “We never have to question effort or intensity, we just have to execute offensively. I never have to worry about them putting everything into a game, because they will — they’ll battle no matter what the score is, good or bad.”

McKenna led the team with six points on the evening, Arline and Dwyer tacked on five apiece, junior forward Maddy Bottari and junior forward Sophie Triandafils finished with four each, junior guard Mackenzie Zajac added three, and junior guard Sam Higgins and junior forward Maria Smith rounded out the scoring with two points and one point, respectively.

Jesse Arline dribbles the ball into Hampton Bays’ zone in the Wildcats' 51-30 loss on Jan. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jesse Arline dribbles the ball into Hampton Bays’ zone in the Wildcats’ 51-30 loss on Jan. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Wildcats were off to a 3-0 start in the league before the loss. The head coach said that although the team is halfway to the playoffs wins-wise, they still have some tough competition ahead when they travel to Elwood-John Glenn tomorrow at 4:15 p.m., and then host Mount Sinai on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Arline said her team would recover from the loss and use it to fuel them for their upcoming league matchups.

“We lost, and we’ll take it as a learning experience,” she said. “We’ll put what we’ve learned here into the game ahead. We try to keep a game-to-game mindset, so we’re just worried about the next opponent.”

Lievre also thinks his team will be more prepared moving forward. He liked some of what he saw, and hopes that if his team can execute, they’ll have a better shot of remaining in games against tough opponents.

“There were a lot of good looks and good shots I’d like to repeat again, we’ve just got to hope next time that they fall for us,” he said. “It’s one game; we’ll regroup and move on.”

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Mount Siani senior midfielder Chris Marrs squeezes between Miller Place senior midfielders Daniel Meneses and Carter Contreras to gain possession of the ball in the Panthers' 2-0 blanking of the Mustangs on Oct. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

The Miller Place boys’ soccer team had yet to allow an opponent to score at home all season, and continued that streak with a 2-0 blanking of Mount Sinai on Monday.

The victories were not only a result of the team’s strong defensive line, but also because of the efforts of senior forward John Murphy, who scored at least one goal in all three of the team’s home clean sheets.

Miller Place senior forward John Murphy dribbles the ball downfield in the Panthers' 2-0 win over Mount Sinai on Oct. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place senior forward John Murphy dribbles the ball downfield in the Panthers’ 2-0 win over Mount Sinai on Oct. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Miller Place started off with two quick opportunities at a goal, but one hit off of the far left post and the other went through the field goal post above the net, and Murphy saw two of his own opportunities thereafter that just went wide. Despite a 0-0 score at the end of the first half, the Panthers were still able to get the job done in the second.

“We saw the game out,” Miller Place first-year head coach Kenny Lake said. “One of the biggest things we’ve been focusing on is shutouts more than anything else, and making sure we’re not giving up any cheap goals. We’ve kind of eliminated that since the beginning of the season, so I thought they did a great job.”

With 26:04 left to play in the game, senior defender Alex Moschella dribbled the ball all the way down the right sideline from Miller Place to Mustangs territory, and crossed the ball in front of the net to Murphy, who knocked it in for the team’s first point on the board.

“It felt good,” Murphy said of the goal. “Especially when I got the ball and went down the line; beat out the whole defense.”

Less than two minutes later, Moschella did it again, but this time, the cross opportunity was initially missed. And although a shot on goal was made, it went off of the top crossbar. A rebound was attempted, and Mount Sinai senior goalkeeper Nicolas Jensen was able to come up with the save, but couldn’t maintain possession of the ball. After it bounced out of his hands and rolled out in front, the Panthers found themselves with another opportunity at a goal, and Miller Place senior midfielder Daniel Meneses rocketed the ball just left of a diving Jensen.

Mount Sinai senior goalkeeper Nicolas Jensen punts the ball into play in the Mustangs' 2-0 loss to Miller Place on Oct. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai senior goalkeeper Nicolas Jensen punts the ball into play in the Mustangs’ 2-0 loss to Miller Place on Oct. 5. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“They played tough,” Mount Sinai head coach Dave Herrschaft said of his team. “Definitely, they had a great first half, and then let up two in the second half and it was tough for them to really bounce back after that. I think they played a solid game. Offensively, they’ve got to get a little more creative and start finishing.”

With the win, Miller Place improved to 5-2-1 in League VI, while Mount Sinai dropped to 1-6-1.

While Lake is in his first year with the program, his team is already on pace to surpass the feats the team has been able to achieve over the last few years.

“They were business from day one — I didn’t have to do a whole lot of changing,” Lake said of his initial encounters with the team. “They came in as disciplined soccer players and that’s something that has been a pleasure. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids — mature, well-mannered, hard-working; they’ve given me everything they have to give.”

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