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Ward Melville

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Junior Taylor Tripptree tallies 18 points in win

Ward Melville junior Taylor Tripptree moves through traffic in the Patriots' 55-49 nonleague home win over Islip on Dec. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Behind junior Taylor Tripptree’s 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, the Ward Melville girls’ basketball team was able to edge ahead of nonleague competitor Islip Saturday and maintain its advantage after the first quarter to earn a 55-49 victory.

“I think we honestly played a very, very good game,” Tripptree said. “They’re a very good team and we did what we had to do to do against two Division I and two Division II girls. We played as a team and I think that’s what won us the game.”

Ward Melville junior Brook Pikiell dribbles the ball up the court in the Patriots' 55-49 nonleague win over Islip on Dec. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Ward Melville junior Brook Pikiell dribbles the ball up the court in the Patriots’ 55-49 nonleague win over Islip on Dec. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Islip got on the board first with two free throws, but a free throw by junior Julia Coletti and a layup by Tripptree put the team out in front, 3-2. The two teams continued to trade scores, with junior guard Brooke Pikiell scoring a three-pointer and a layup and Tripptree adding another field goal, but at the end of the first, the teams were in a stalemate at 10-10.

“We really need to work on our second-shot opportunities and staying in [to] help against a big girl,” Tripptree said.

Ward Melville had trouble sinking its shots, but during the second stanza, the Patriots began to find their rhythm. Islip scored first, again, and made another field goal to jump out in front, 14-10, but the lead didn’t last for long.

With 5:12 left in the half, Tripptree tacked on a three-pointer of her own to pull within one, 14-13, and senior Heidi Scarth scored two field goals, the first off an assist from Pikiell, to give the Patriots the lead for good.

Ward Melville rounded out the scoring for the first half with a three-pointer to bring the score to 22-18.

Junior Kiera Ramaliu opened the third with a long field goal, and Islip edged close after a field goal and two free-throw points, but the Patriots wouldn’t let the Buccaneers stay close for long.

Tripptree began a six-point scoring run with a field goal, and Pikiell scored twice in a row to put the Patriots up 30-22.

Ward Melville junior Kiera Ramaliu maintains possession while looking for the open lane to move the ball in the Patriots' Dec. 12 55-49 nonleague win over Islip. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Ward Melville junior Kiera Ramaliu maintains possession while looking for the open lane to move the ball in the Patriots’ Dec. 12 55-49 nonleague win over Islip. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Tripptree assisted on her team’s next points, and followed it up with another layup, and at the end of three quarters Ward Melville was ahead 40-29.

“You’ve gotta run and you’ve gotta pressure,” Ward Melville head coach Bruce Haller told his girls on the sidelines before the start of the final stanza.

And the girls raced across the court and pressured the ball, converting turnovers and forcing steals to trip up Islip.

“We prepared for this a lot,” Pikiell said. “We made sure we knew their zone and we knew who their good kids were and we just made sure we had a body on them at all times. I think we ran and tired them out a lot, and I think we really worked together on defense, which helped against their bigger girls.”

The teams continued to trade points, but Ward Melville managed to maintain its advantage to pull away with the win.

Behind Tripptree was Pikiell with nine points, and Scarth with eight, but five other girls also scored.

“Everyone contributed to this,” Pikiell said. “We’ve come together very well. We only lost one player last year and a couple of players came up, but we were all already very close beforehand, so I think we’re playing great together.”

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Nick Piccininni, a four-time state champion, will be tough to replace this season. File photo

With four impact-players returning, the Ward Melville wrestling team is hopeful it can rebuild after losing half of the starting squad to graduation.

“It’s hard to project what they’re going to do, but some of the wrestlers did a lot of offseason work and came back much improved from last year,” Ward Melville head coach Bill DeSario said.

The biggest loss from last season is four-time state champion Nick Piccininni.

“It’s impossible to replace Nick,” DeSario said. “But we do have some young guys that are coming up that have impressed me in the first meet that we had. We wrestled Commack on Saturday, and they seem to be learning.”

The Patriots topped Commack, 51-21, and junior 113-pounder Kenny Cracchiola, who was ranked third in the league last season, said his team performed well.

“We won most of our matches,” he said. “We still have a lot of things to work on and improve before our next meet on Friday, but I think, for the first match of the season, it was a pretty good test.”

It was a test to see where the team is, and it’s coming along.

Senior Matt O’Brien, an all-county wrestler — ranked sixth — who will be competing at 160, said he told the underclassmen from last season how he put in the work during the offseason after his sophomore year, and saw how much it paid off.

“I realized I should tell them and pass on how important it is to put in the work in the offseason so they could really impact the team well,” he said. “Me and Christian [Araneo], we’ve been trying to help the other kids with moves and teaching them different things and add on to what the coaches are saying. We’re trying to help the kids learn everything they need to, so I think we have a good up-and-coming team.”

Araneo, a senior 220-pounder who will eventually wrestle at 195 this season, is a retuning New York State champion.

“He’s just a force,” DeSario said. “He’s a monster. He’s our top gun.”

DeSario said the team is missing three wrestlers to injury, and said once they return, it will solidify the lineup. He will also be looking forward to seeing the progression of sophomore Rafael Lievano, who will be taking Piccininni’s spot at 126; classmate Chris Stellwagen, who will be competing at 106; and Tom Fitzsimons, a freshman who will be competing at 99. The head coach will also be looking for solid seasons from juniors Jake Weizenecker at 120, Sean Fitzsimons, Tyler Lynde at 170, Aaron Rettig at 182 and Nadlher Jules at 285.

“I really think we just need to train the freshmen and sophomores more so that we can have a lot of good guys ranked,” O’Brien said of the team this year as he looks even further to next. “We have coaches who have been coaching for a long time, so they have a lot of experience, which I think is our strength. Also, we have a state champ on the team, which really helps out, because he’s also second in the nation, so he can teach us a lot of things.”

While DeSario and coach Kurt Ferraro are retiring at the end of this season, DeSario said they’re hoping to set up an assistant coach to be ready to take over the team, but he also wants to make sure the team is set up for the following year.

“The main goal is to try to develop one of our assistants who we hope will take over the program,” he said. “But with that, our goal is to not only make sure we help him, but to also help the wrestlers to leave him with a good nucleus for next year. I don’t know where we’ll end up in League I this season, because it’s one of the toughest in the state, but I think we’ll do very well outside our league, in tournaments, and we’ll see what happens. We’re also looking this season to send more than one guy up to the state tournament.”

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Ward Melville junior Michael Jaklitsch battles a Huntington opponent in a match last season. File photo by Bill Landon

In February of this year, the Ward Melville girls’ and boys’ fencing team swept the Suffolk County championships for the ninth straight season. The boys extended their match streak to 124 with the win, and although the girls had their 195-game streak snapped last year, will look to start a new one as the girls begin the road to what could be their 14th straight Suffolk County crown.

Five senior fencers were sent off to college last year, with Carly Weber-Levine competing at Stanford University, Ilana Solomon playing for Columbia University, Michael Antipas competing at University of Notre Dame, and Angela Zhang and Michael Skolnick fencing for Cornell University and Vassar College, respectively.

Ward Melville junior Lara Obedin fences against a Huntington opponent in a match last season. File photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior Lara Obedin fences against a Huntington opponent in a match last season. File photo by Bill Landon

While the girls lost Solomon, the boys team returns her younger brother, Danny, who is a sophomore this year.

The loss of Antipas will be felt heavily, along with Marc Dalrymple and two other seniors, but the Patriots return a slew of underclassmen looking to fill the shoes of those lost.

Antipas was the last of three family members to fence at the school, and his presence will be missed. He, along with his sisters, Demi and Alexa, combined for a 346-2 varsity record.

The girls lost three other seniors along with Weber-Levine to graduation, but this Patriots team also returns a ton of sophomores and a handful of juniors to the lineup.

The season will test what those underclassmen have learned from some of the greats before them, and the teams will be tested when they travel to Newfield on Wednesday, for the first meet of the season, at 5 p.m.

The teams will host Commack the following day, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m., before competing in a tournament at Brentwood on Dec. 12. The tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m.

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Ward Melville's Victoria Tilley and Alex Stein grab a block at the net in the Patriots' 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

It was a battle of the undefeated teams, but Ward Melville fell short. The Patriots girls’ volleyball team was able to power past Smithtown East but had trouble doing it again, and fell to No. 1-ranked Connetquot, 27-25, 25-18, and 25-20, Thursday in the Suffolk County Class AA finals.

Ward Melville senior Alex Stein scores a kill shot in the Patriots' 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior Alex Stein scores a kill shot in the Patriots’ 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

The Thunderbirds broke out to an early 10-4 lead, but the Patriots made it a one-point game later in the set to trail 19-18, forcing a Connetquot time out. Ward Melville scored next to tie the game at 19-19, but Connetquot rattled off five more points to surge ahead 24-21.

It was advantage Ward Melville when the Patriots scored the next four points to take a 25-24 lead, but the Thunderbirds were the No.1 seed for a reason, and dug out two more points to retake the lead, 26-25, and aced the final point to put the set away, 27-25.

“I felt like we got robbed in game one — I thought we had it but got a bad call there,” Ward Melville head coach Charles Fernandes said. “But I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think we played like we normally play. We didn’t pass very well and when we don’t pass well we don’t get into our offensive system.”

In a repeat of the first set, Connetquot broke out to a 10-4 lead and edged ahead 12-5 in the second set, before the team jumped out to a 20-8 lead. Ward Melville battled back to trail 22-14, and both teams traded points as Connetquot took the set to the brink, leading 24-14 before Ward Melville rattled off four unanswered points to trail 24-18. The Thunderbirds scored next though, to claim another set, 25-18.

Ward Melville junior Cierra Low sets the ball in the team's 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior Cierra Low sets the ball in the team’s 3-0 loss to Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals on Nov. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

Fernandes spoke to his team following the second-set loss about what it took to battle back, being down two games to none.

“This has happened before — teams pull this out,” he told his team. “You’ve got to get the first one and that’s the hard one.”

With their backs against the wall, the Patriots broke out to an 8-2 advantage in the third set as the team tried to avoid elimination, but after a Connetquot time out, Ward Melville struggled to maintain the margin, and the Thunderbirds bounced back to tie the game 10-10.

Connetquot scored next to take its first lead, but the set was retied at 16-16 courtesy of a kill shot by Ward Melville senior outside hitter Alex Stein. The Thunderbirds edged ahead 20-17, then 22-19 and again brought the match to the brink leading 24-20.

Stein said that her team’s performance was not up to par with the level her team usually plays at.

“I don’t know if we were nervous, anxious or just all over the place mentally, but we did not click as a team,” she said. “Our defense was all over the place and it’s just not how we play.”

The Thunderbirds scored next to sweep the Patriots and advance to the Long Island Championship round against Massapequa, where the team beat the Nassau County champs for the Long Island championship title.

Former Smithtown East head coach Peter Melore will be Ward Melville’s new athletic director. Photo from Three Village Central School District

Former Smithtown East football coach Peter J. Melore will be the Three Village Central School District’s new, permanent executive director of health, physical education, recreation and athletics. He will replace Nicholas Schroeder, who served the district on an interim basis since the start of the school year.

Throughout his professional tenure, Melore has also worked as a coach at both the high school and middle school levels. In the role of head varsity football coach, he guided Smithtown High School East to the Big Four Championship in 2012 and 2014, as well as the playoffs in 2013. He had similar success when he was the assistant varsity football coach at Farmingdale High School, during which he accumulated 11 Big Four championships, 10 finals showings, five county championships, one Long Island championship and one Rutgers Cup trophy and was named the 2007 Nassau County Assistant Coach of the Year.

Melore comes to the Three Village district from Roslyn school district, has more than 23 years of experience in the field of health education and athletics. He began his career as a middle school physical education teacher in Farmingdale school district and also served in that district as a building and district leader for internship projects as well as lead teacher. His most recent role was as Roslyn’s director of physical education, health, intramurals, athletics and recreation.

Melore earned his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from SUNY Cortland, Master of Arts in Physical Education from Adelphi University and Educational Leadership Program certificate from Dowling College. Additionally, he renews his CPR and First Aid certifications annually.

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Smithtown East's Jackie Cuccarello and Kendra Harlow leap up to block a spike by Ward Melville's Alex Stein. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Victoria Tilley said that despite the Ward Melville girls’ volleyball team blanking 12 of its 13 regular-season opponents 3-0, the team has always had to battle back — and Monday was no different.

The Patriots had only lost one set the entire season and found themselves down 2-1 to another undefeated team, Smithtown East. Ward Melville wouldn’t go down without a fight though and won the fourth and decisive fifth set to secure its spot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-14.

“It’s amazing how we came back,” the senior middle hitter and blocker said, grinning from ear to ear. “We’re sometimes late starters and it comes back to us. We trail a lot with teams, but we always know how to clam down and talk to each other, and it works every single time.”

Smithtown East had contributions from Kendra Harlow (19 kills), Haley Anderson (15 kills and 12 digs), Morgan Catalanotto (15 digs) and Jackie Cuccarello (42 assists) and went on a five-point tare in the third set and opened up the fourth with another five straight points before the Patriots put themselves on the board, but Ward Melville sophomore outside hitter Ashley Fuchs was the difference maker.

With the fourth set tied 14-14, a slide across the baseline for a dig helped put her team out in front and forced Smithtown East head coach George Alamia to call time-out. From there, although the Bulls tied it at 15-15, the Patriots never trailed again.

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Alex Stein serves up the ball in Ward Melville’s 3-2 Class AA semifinal win over Smithtown East on Nov. 9. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We were making some hitting errors which is fine, and it’s hard to adjust to some hits off the net, but we all came together,” Ward Melville junior setter Cierra Low said. “We were down at some points but we always know we can come back together. We work as a team and when we got down we get in that huddle and tell each other to relax, that it’s all good and we’ll get back there and we did. We won.”

The Patriots’ defense was a weak point throughout the match, but the team continued to bounce back.

“We talked about some things that we wanted to do defensively and didn’t do it until the fourth game, but it did finally work out,” Ward Melville head coach Charles Fernandes said. “They were very calm; there was no panicking.”

As the Patriots climbed back to win the fourth set and fans cheered across the gymnasium, Ward Melville senior Alex Stein said she knew her team had it in them to pull through once more.

The outside hitter, who finished the game with 28 kills, 10 digs, three blocks and two aces, said she knew from the start that the team had a lot of potential.

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The Ward Melville girls’ volleyball team celebrates a point in the Patroits’ 3-2 win over Smithtown East in the Class AA semifinals. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We knew we could go far if we worked for it, so it’s nice to see that we didn’t roll over and let them win,” she said. “Every game where there’s been a challenge we’ve been able to overcome it, especially when we’re down that’s when we really focus and work together. We’ve wanted this the whole season. We’ve been working as hard as we can since preseason for this moment, and we just took it.”

Tilley finished with 14 kills and four blocks, Fuchs added eight kills and eight digs, senior libero Claire O’Hern had nine digs and junior left side hitter Lara Atalay had 14 kills and three blocks.

With the win, Ward Melville moved on to face No. 1 Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA championship at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus today at 8 p.m.

Stein, who is the only player on the team to have also competed with the Patriots’ 2012 county champion team, is looking forward to the matchup.

“It’s not going to be easy but we’re going to work as hard as we can,” she said. “Connetquot is a very good team and we know that their ball control is very good and they’re going to depend on us making mistakes so we’re going to work hard to eliminate the errors.”

Fernandes said that although he’s been coaching volleyball for years and made it to the county finals before, going back with these girls makes it feel like the first time.

“The girls hung together, they understood that if we executed our game plan we could be successful, and they did,” Fernandes said. “This is a very good volleyball team and if anything, our route to the finals has battle-tested us. I just can’t wait to see these kids in that room.”

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The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after claiming the Long Island Class A championship. Photo by Bruce Larrabee

The Ward Melville field hockey team blanked Massapequa 5-0 to win the Long Island Class A title Sunday at Dowling College’s athletic complex.

Sophomore forward Kerri Thornton started off the scoring five minutes into the game, and junior forward Kassidy Rogers-Healion tacked on four second-half goals to propel the Patriots to the win.

Ward Melville will face Shenendehowa in a Class A state semifinal Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Maine-Endwell High in Endwell, a suburb of Binghamton.

The Ward Melville field hockey team celebrates it's 2-1 victory over Newfield that earned the Patriots the Suffolk County Class A championship title at Dowling College on Nov. 2. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Despite a scoreless battle after 30 minutes of field hockey action, it was Ward Melville sophomore midfielder Kate Mulham’s goal scored with 8:31 left in regulation that was the game-winner for the No. 1-seeded Patriots over No. 2 Newfield, for the Suffolk County Class A title Monday evening at Dowling College’s Athletic Complex.

Ward Melville's Kate Mulham moves the ball in the Patriots' 2-1 win over Newfield for the Suffolk County Class A championship title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Kate Mulham moves the ball in the Patriots’ 2-1 win over Newfield for the Suffolk County Class A championship title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon

The first goal of the game came nine minutes into the second half, when Ward Melville sophomore Kerri Thornton crossed the ball to freshman Lexi Reinhardt, who smacked it in for the 1-0 lead.

“Kerri [Thornton] brought it up field” Reinhardt said. “I was just there to hit it in.”

Neither team faced each other during the regular season, so Patriots (13-1) were seeing the Wolverines (12-2) for the first time.

Although the time of possession favored Ward Melville, Newfield pressed for all 60 minutes, forcing the Patriots to earn every move.

Ward Melville junior Kiera Alventosa said she knew her team would have their hands full with their opponent.

“We couldn’t let up at all against them — they came at us hard,” she said. “On offense, we passed well, we were looking at our lanes. We were strong defensively; they weren’t getting through us.”

With 17:40 left to play, Newfield made it a new game when senior forward Maggie Finley rocked the box with an assist from her younger sister, Abby, a freshman midfielder.

Ward Melville's Kiera Alventosa drives past Newfield's Michelle Loken in the Patriots' 2-1 win over the Wolverines for the Suffolk County Class A title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Kiera Alventosa drives past Newfield’s Michelle Loken in the Patriots’ 2-1 win over the Wolverines for the Suffolk County Class A title on Nov. 2 at Dowling College. Photo by Bill Landon

Ward Melville head coach Shannon Watson said the journey to the championship round wasn’t easy.

“It’s been quite an emotional road — we were down 4-1 in our last game but our kids battled back and it shows how determined they are,” Watson said. “To be here is wonderful, but it just wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to make sure that they had a solid win tonight.”

That solid win came when Mulham received the ball from Thornton, and drove her shot to the back of the cage for the 2-1 lead.

“I expected them to be good — they’re the No. 2 seed,” Thornton said. “So we had to come out with great intensity to keep our momentum.”

Ward Melville will face Massapequa for the Long Island Class A title on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dowling College.

“I’ll let them take a day to let it soak in and enjoy the win,” said the coach. “Then it’s back to practice and we’ll continue to do what we’ve done all season, working on our spacing and our ball control and sharpening our defense.”

The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after edging out Newfield, 2-1, to earn the Suffolk County Class A title at Dowling College on Nov. 2. Photo by Bill Landon
The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after edging out Newfield, 2-1, to earn the Suffolk County Class A title at Dowling College on Nov. 2. Photo by Bill Landon

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Brandon Nworjih, left, races for the ball for Ward Melville. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The opening seven minutes was all the Ward Melville boys’ soccer team needed to top visiting William Floyd Monday, 2-0.

“I think we did what we had to do today,” Ward Melville head coach Jon Stecker said. “Coming out sometimes when you score two quick goals, you kind of sit back, which can be dangerous. In this case it wasn’t dangerous, but we were able to finish the game.”

Ward Melville's Joseph Graziosi tangles with a William Floyd opponent in a fight for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Ward Melville’s Joseph Graziosi tangles with a William Floyd opponent in a fight for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Senior midfielder Kyle Honor scored unassisted in the second minute after gaining possession at midfield and beating out defenders all the way to the box, sending his shot from the right side into the far left corner.

At 33:02, senior forward Brandon Nworjih scored the second goal of the game. After gaining possession and pushing the ball between two defenders, he dribbled up to the front of the box and sent a straight shot up the center past the opposing goalkeeper.

“It wasn’t one of our best games, it wasn’t one of our worst game, but we did enough to get through it and get the win,” Stecker said. “The defense played solid. We didn’t come out flat. We came out and we played hard, and we just weathered the storm for the rest of the game.”

With the win, the Patriots improved to 8-4-1, locking in third place in League I.

“We brought it in the first 20 minutes, but then we kind of died down,” junior midfielder Jarred Lee said. “We moved the ball well and connected a lot around the field. The defense was solid today. We just need to bring more intensity and play more together and strong.”

Ward Melville will travel Wednesday to top team Brentwood (13-0-0 league) for the final game of the regular season.

Ward Melville's Gedson Pereira sends the ball across the field. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Ward Melville’s Gedson Pereira sends the ball across the field. Photo by Desirée Keegan

William Floyd tried desperately to get a goal at the end of the second half after coming out stronger in the last 40 minutes of play, but Ward Melville’s defense knocked away all attempts.

“I thought we played solid defense,” senior defender Zach Flynn said. “I think we’re finally starting to come together as a team and the team chemistry is coming along. That’s been one of our weaknesses in the past and in the beginning of the season.”

Senior goalkeeper Peter Jespersen made five saves to preserve the clean sheet.

“When we truly come together as a unit we are extremely strong, and we are very talented and very skilled,” Stecker said. “When we’re not together as a unit, that’s where I think we struggle a little bit, and I think part of it is definitely maturity. Right now we’re just looking to just go in and play solid against Brentwood, and get ready for the playoffs the following Tuesday.”

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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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