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Ward Melville Patriots

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.

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.

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Max Nielsen at the pitcher’s mound June 4. Photo by John Dielman

The Ward Melville Patriots, the No. 1 seed in their league this year, completed a successful season in 2019.

The team made it to the Suffolk County finals but lost in game 3 to Connetquot. Coach Lou Petrucci said it was the third time the team went up against Connetquot in the finals.

Brady Doran heads to home base April 15. Photo by Bill Landon

For the spring 2019 season, Petrucci said it was difficult to name just one favorite game or play.

“Anytime a kid plays a high school baseball game on his home field, it’s a memorable game,” he said, adding it’s more about what the players take from the game.

It was a season where Max Nielsen, the only five-year player in Ward Melville history, struck out 18 batters in the Suffolk County semifinals. The stats are a Patriots record, according to Petrucci.

Among the accolades he garnered this year, the left-handed pitcher won the Suffolk County Baseball Coaches Association’s 52nd annual Carl Yastrzemski Award for Suffolk County’s top player. He is the third Patriots baseball player to win the coveted award in the last 12 years. Petrucci said, in the past, AJ Nunziato and current Mets pitcher Steven Matz have been among the winners. Nielsen was also named a member of Axcess Baseball’s All Decade Team 2010-2019 second team, and the SCBCA awarded him Suffolk County League 1 Most Valuable Player and All-County Selection, too.

Nielsen, who is already taking two classes at the University of Connecticut this summer, is modest about the awards.

“It’s an honor to receive them,” he said. “It’s all because of my teammates.”

Nielsen said the May 25 Suffolk Class AA elimination game against Commack stands out as a favorite for him. The pitcher, just back from an oblique injury, witnessed his teammate Matthew Franco hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 6th with two outs and two strikes. The Patriots went on to win the game, 8-6.

If it weren’t for Petrucci, Nielsen said he wouldn’t be playing at his present level. He also credits his fellow teammates Brady Doran, Ethan Farino and Matthew Maurer for their hard work.

Ethan Farino takes a lead off first April 15. Photo by Bill Landon

“Without them, I don’t think we’d be in the position we were in this year,” Nielsen said.

The pitcher said the thing he will miss most about Ward Melville baseball is “playing with the kids I’ve been playing with since [ages] 8, 9, 10.”

Other Patriots racked in SCBCA awards including Farino for All-County, Doran and Maurer for All-League and Ryan Hynes for Academic All-League. Petrucci was the winner of League 1 Varsity Coach of the Year.

Petrucci said in addition to Nielsen playing for UConn, a few of the Patriots are moving on to play college baseball. Doran will play at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire; Farino at Marist College in Poughkeepsie; Maurer at Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut; Bryan Radzinsky at Immaculata University in Immaculata, Pennsylvania; and Patrick Schriffen at College of Old Westbury.

The coach said he thinks the players enjoyed playing baseball at Ward Melville.

“The kids gave their classmates, their parents and many people in the Three Village baseball community exciting baseball memories,” he said.

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It’s been a long time since the Patriots softball team has made the playoffs and it all came down to the last game of the regular season at home against Sachem East on senior day.. It would take extra innings to decide the game but Ward Melville punched their ticket to make the postseason on a passed ball in the bottom of the ninth, winning the game, 8-7.

According to head coach Joseph Burger, the Patriots last postseason appearance was back in 2002. Ward Melville senior Kristina Maggiacomo went the distance for the win, pitching nine complete innings striking out six. Maggiacomo had two RBI’s on two hits and eighth-grader Alicea Pepitone drove in two runs on three hits.

At 8-8 in Suffolk league I, the Patriots will be a low seed and have their work cut out for them as there are four out-bracket games May 18 with the opening round of the playoffs Monday, May 20.

The Ward Melville girls lacrosse team kept pace with Middle Country for the first 25 minutes of play, but the Mad Dogs went on a scoring tear outscoring the Patriots 10 goals to 4, to put the game away, 16-9, in a Division I matchup May 10.

Jennifer Barry and Sophie Alois topped the scoring chart for the Mad Dogs with Barry’s two goals and four assists along with Alois’ assist and five goals. 

With the win, Middle Country wins the division with a record of 13-1, 14-2 overall. The Patriot loss is only their second of the season. They finished third with a 12-2 record one game behind Northport.

Both teams earned a bye in the opening round of the playoffs and are back in action May 20 where Middle Country will host the winner of the May 17 Sachem East vs. Bay Shore game, and the Patriots will be at home to take on either Sachem North or Smithtown West. Game times have yet to be determined.

By Bill Landon

The Ward Melville Patriots boys lacrosse team led Commack from the opening faceoff taking a 10-4 lead at the half. The Cougars drew within three late in the third quarter before Ward Melville slammed the door outdistancing their opponents to take a 14-8 victory at home May 3.

Seniors Trey Berry and Dylan Pallonetti topped the scoring chart for the Patriots with Berry’s three goals and two assists, and Pallonetti finished with an assist and four goals.

Blake Behlen sat atop the leaderboard for the Cougars providing three assists and two goals, and teammate Joey Kim split the pipes three times.

On May 7, the Patriots beat William Floyd, 14-6. The win puts Ward Melville at 11-2, one game behind Smithtown West.

By Bill Landon

The Ward Melville girls golf team had a strong showing on the links at Heatherwood Golf Club in South Setauket against the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River as the Patriots won the League IV match play, 9-0, April 29.

The Wildcat golf program, formed just three years ago, struggles to find its first match win of the season after six rounds. The Patriots were 2-9 in the league May 1.

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The Ward Melville baseball team let its bats do the talking in a League I matchup against the Central Islip Musketeers where the Patriots cruised to a 12-2 victory April 15.

The Patriots scored two runs in the opening inning, four in the second and two more in the third before plating four more in the fourth to put the game away.

Third baseman Brady Doran was 2-2 at the plate with a pair of doubles and scored three times. Second baseman Matt Maurer was 2-4 and batted in four. Pitcher Chris Vivenzio got the win fanning 10 batters, allowing one hit.

The win, the first of a three-game series against the Musketeers, put the Patriots as of April 15 at 3-1 in the division and 5-1 overall for second place behind Patchogue-Medford. On April 16 the Patriots won 11-0 against Central Islip.

By Bill Landon

After the Ward Melville girls lacrosse team dominated the first half of the game outscoring Smithtown East by eight goals, the Bulls regrouped for the second half and drew within four goals twice before the Patriots dropped the hammer to put the game away, 17-12, at home March 29.

Ward Melville senior Courtney Carollo led the way with four goals and three assists, 10th grader Summer Agostino, followed with three goals and two assists, and senior Lexi Reinhardt had an assist and found the cage four times. Also pictured above center, two Patriots celebrate a score against the Bulls.

Smithtown East senior midfielder Gabrielle Schneider topped the charts for the Bulls with three assists and two goals, sophomore Alayna Costa split the pipes four times, and her older sister Isabella Costa had two assists and two goals.

As of April 1, the win puts the Patriots at 1-1, and the loss drops Smithtown East 2-1 in Division I.

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By Bill Landon

The Ward Melville boys varsity lacrosse team hosted Sachem East March 22.

Neither team trailed by more than one goal in the Patriots’ league opener as Sachem East traded goals with Ward Melville from the opening faceoff. With the game tied at 5-5, with just under five minutes left in regulation, Rocco Barbero buried his shot for the goal in what turned out to be the game winner as the Patriots edged Sachem East, 6-5.

It was Barbero’s second goal in the game where teammates Dylan Pallonetti, Steven Germain, Brandon Aviles and Robert Kratochvil each scored one goal apiece. Junior goalkeeper Collin Krieg had a busy day at net grabbing 12 saves in the day.