High School Sports

By Steven Zaitz

On the first day of spring in the year 2021, the Northport Lady Tigers lost a field hockey match.

It was a chilly day on the campus of Smithtown High School East as the Lady Bulls and the Lady Tigers would need an overtime session and a shootout to decide a victor.

Smithtown East’s Dani Brady, who is now a junior at the University of Maryland, netted the winner against Northport’s future hall of fame goalkeeper Natalie McKenna and this set off a wild celebration for the Lady Bulls with Brady at the bottom of a raucous pile.

Fast forward two and a half years later to the first day of autumn, 2023, and the Lady Tigers still have not lost a game since that long-ago day in St. James.

Last Friday, senior forward Kenzie Bliven rattled off three goals in a four-minute span of the first quarter to help defeat the combined forces of Bay Shore and Islip by a score of 4-0. It was the seventh win of the year for Northport, who have now won a mind-blowing 62 games in a row. The team is also seeking its third straight New York state championship and fourth straight Long Island championship, as there was no statewide tournament in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northport besieged Bay Shore/Islip goalkeeper Sabrina Frazer with 23 shots on goal as Bliven, who leads the Lady Tigers with seven goals this year, worked relentlessly at the goalmouth to hammer away at her natural hat trick. Senior Makenzie Maniscalco added a goal in the second half for the Lady Tigers, and freshman sensation Julianna Tietjen had three assists while junior Lily Beamer had one.

Senior Grace Wickard and junior Mariselle Camillone split time in goal for the shutout. Northport has outscored its opponents by a combined 20-1 so far this season despite losing a star player such as McKenna, her sister Olivia McKenna, Emma McLam, Sydney Wotzak, Mackenzie Sweeney, Emma Fabrizio, Mallory Bennett and Julia Cavallo, who are all spread across the country enjoying life as college freshmen. 

In an oddity of the scoreboard, the Lady Tigers have scored either four goals or two goals in all their games this season. But despite the relatively tame output on the scoreboard, Northport has relied on its trademark watertight defense to sustain the winning streak.

Northport put its streak on the line away to the Commack Lady Cougars Wednesday, Sept. 27, when the Lady Tigers went for a 63rd win in a row. The result was too late for press time.

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville girls field hockey at 6-0 in their division looked for another win in a road game against Sachem East (5-1) Saturday morning, Sept. 23, in a windswept driving rain as senior midfielder Olivia Comerford rocked the box at the 3:28 mark of the opening quarter to put the Patriots out front. Midway through the 3rd quarter Sachem East answered when Ava Stunder’s shot found its mark to tie the game 1-1. The final 12 minutes of regulation wouldn’t decide the outcome of the game, forcing overtime in the miserable conditions.

Sachem East’s Kacey Berger settled the matter 6:28 into the sudden death overtime period when she scored off an assist for the game winning goal for the 2-1 victory. 

Sachem East improves to 6-1 as the Patriots dropped to 6-1 in the Division I contest.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Port Jefferson had its hands full when the Royals hosted the Tornadoes of Harborfields Sept. 21 in a League III matchup where they found themselves down two goals at the halftime break. Harborfields’ junior Alexandra Fiumara found the right corner of the net off a rebound within four minutes followed by Lila Porzio at the 22-minute mark.

The Royals struggled to keep the ball upfield in the second half when Harborfields’ seniors Meaghan Fealy and Alanna Ratti both found the net to close out the game with a 4-0 victory.

Port Jeff goalie Rose Meliker-Hammock had 13 saves on the day and Harborfields’ keeper Keira Collins stopped 3.

The win lifted Harborfields to 5-2 on the season while the Royals fell to 1-5.

– Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

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It was a rain-soaked field with howling winds at Smithtown East high school when the Bulls had their hands full against the Eagles of West Babylon Saturday afternoon in a Division II matchup. 

West Babylon struck first and often, peppering the scoreboard with 23 points in the 1st quarter, 15 more in the 2nd while holding the Bulls scoreless at the half.

Smithtown East struggled to find traction the rest of the way as West Babylon pulled its starters and flushed their bench to blank the Bulls 38-0.

The win lifts West Babylon to 3-0 on the season while the loss drops the Bulls to 0-3.

Smithtown East retakes the field with a road game against Huntington Friday night at 6 p.m. in search of that elusive first win

— Photos by Bill Landon


After edging by Miller Place in the first set having to win by two, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats lost the second set to make it a new match in the League VI matchup.

Squeezing by the Panthers 25-23 in the third set and rallying in the fourth set, the Wildcats were lucky to escape with the 3-1 victory, 28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, on the road Sept. 22.

Senior Giorgia Balza led the way for the Wildcats with 13 kills, a pair of aces and 4 blocks, and teammate Caroline Lange had a block with 4 kills.

Setting the pace for the Panthers was Payton Horan with 13 kills, a service ace and 2 digs along with Olivia Honkanen’s 6 kills 3 service aces and 4 digs.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 2-2, leaving the Panthers searching for that elusive first win.

Both teams are back in action Sept. 28 when the Wildcats host Bayport-Blue Point at 4 p.m. and the Panthers have a road game against nearby Mount Sinai. First service is set for 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Last November, Ward Melville ended William Floyd’s undefeated season, eliminating the Colonials in the semifinal round of the Division I playoffs. The Patriots returned to the scene of the crime Wednesday afternoon looking to pick off Floyd again, but the Colonials had other ideas.

Ward Melville quarterback Ethan Burgos found wide receiver Jackson Weber on a 6-yard pass play for the touchdown in the second quarter to break the ice. Floyd answered three minutes later to make it a 7-7 tie at the half. The Patriots trailed 21-13 in the fourth quarter when Burgos on a keeper found the end zone on short yardage. Burgos would finish it by running in the 2-point conversion to tie the game 21-21.

After an impressive 36-yard field goal to edge ahead, William Floyd running-back Jaden Montalvo ripped a 67-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes to seal the deal, defeating the Patriots 31-21.

The win lifts the Colonials 2-0 while the loss drops the Patriots to 1-1 in the division.

Ward Melville looks to put a “W” in the win column when the team hosts Central Islip Saturday, Sept. 23. Game time is slated for 2 p.m.

— All photos by Bill Landon

Senior captains of the 2023 Rocky Point High School football team. From left, Ryan Meyers, Jeremy Graham and A.J. Aschettino. Photo courtesy Rich Acritelli

The 2023 Rocky Point High School football team hopes for a promising season behind their main senior players, even after an indifferent 0-3 start.

A.J. Aschettino, a team captain, is also one of the finest baseball prospects on Long Island, who will be playing for Northeastern University after graduating from Rocky Point in June 2024.

He will be leading the football team as a safety, running back and possibly even quarterback. Always a quiet team leader, Aschettino leads by example on and off the field.

Last year, Aschettino played well against Islip, scoring a touchdown and rushing for 120 yards on the ground. Against East Hampton, he had four tackles and an interception to help his team to victory.

As the league’s most valuable player for baseball last season, batting an impressive .522, Aschettino will also establish a solid example of hard work and discipline for the younger players on the roster. Longtime head coach Anthony DiLorenzo indicated that Aschettino has “great football knowledge, with speed and agility.”

Jeremy Graham is a senior captain who has played varsity football for the last three seasons. He will be active on the field, leading the team as quarterback while playing cornerback on defense.

Graham had shown flashes of brilliance last season. Against East Hampton, he scored three touchdowns, passed for 60 yards and ran for another 130 yards on the ground. On the defensive side, he had four tackles in last year’s matchup against Eastport-South Manor.

DiLorenzo believes Graham is a “gritty and gutsy” player who fights for every yard. Like Aschettino, he is an exceptional baseball player, having hit .400 in the playoffs last season. He will be on the Hudson Valley Vikings squad after he graduates.

Another excellent football player is senior captain Ryan Meyers. One of the hardest hitting linebackers in the county, Meyers will make his presence felt on the defensive end of the field as well. He will show his versatility in running the ball, where he wants to help the offense gain points against the opposition.

DiLorenzo marvels at Meyers’ physicality, describing the senior linebacker as having the ability “to run through a wall” to help his team win. Last year against Eastport-South Manor, he had five tackles and two sacks to showcase his defensive prowess. After he graduates from Rocky Point, Meyers will play lacrosse at Binghamton University.

DiLorenzo believes that these three senior athletes will help the team attain its goal of establishing “an uncommon effort, with positive energy and a unit that always has support and love for each other.”

By Steven Zaitz

The Northport Tigers Football team defeated the Smithtown Bulls on Sept. 14 in a rare Thursday afternoon matchup.

In observance of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, schools throughout Long Island moved up football games to Wednesday and Thursday last week. The short rest was not an issue for the Tigers, as junior quarterback Enrique Hernandez tossed two touchdown passes and senior running back Giancarlo Valenti rushed for 211 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. 

Tiger junior tailback Christian Campoli, who left the previous game early with an injury, was back in the lineup and it was he who was on the receiving end of both of Hernandez’s scoring throws. Lucas Santangelo rushed for 120 yards for Smithtown East, and senior quarterback Jake Fields was 8 for 17 for 65 yards and had a rushing touchdown. 

The game started off with a bang for the Tigers as Campoli ran a down, out and up on the right sideline and hauled in a floater from Hernandez for a 63-yard touchdown on only the fifth play from scrimmage.

Smithtown East would begin the second quarter with similar explosiveness. Santangelo took a handoff straight up the gut for 66 yards on a 2nd down and 2. 

A great hustle play by Campoli’s brother Michael stopped Santangelo at the 1-yard line, but Fields would tie the game on the very next play with a quarterback sneak. The half would end with the score 7-7.

It would become untied after Northport’s first possession of the third quarter when Hernandez threw a perfect strike to Christian Campoli for a 34-yard touchdown to put Northport up 14-7.

Valenti would put the game away midway through the 4th quarter when he blasted through the middle for a 49-yard touchdown, to make the score 21-7 in favor of the Tigers. 

Northport is 1-1 on the season as Smithtown East falls to 0-2.

Kings Park hosted the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River in a girls soccer matchup Tuesday, Sept. 19, when the Lady Kingsmen struggled to find the net in this League III contest.

The Wildcats struck 14 minutes into the opening half when freshman Shealyn Varbero stretched the net to take the lead into the halftime break. The Wildcat defense was able to keep Kings Park at bay when sophomore Mia Mangano scored the insurance goal for the Wildcats with 19 minutes left in regulation to lead 2-0 for the final score.

Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Morgan Lesiewicz had five saves and Kings Park goalie Alex Scott stopped 14. The win lifts the Wildcats to 4-1 in the early going, and Kings Park drops to 2-1-1.

— Photos by Bill Landon

After dropping the first three games of this early season, the Comsewogue boys volleyball team notched its first win defeating Central Islip a day earlier and looked to make it two in a row when hosting West Babylon Thursday, Sept. 14. 

Comsewogue led the first set from start to finish, but the team found itself trailing by five in the second set. 

Still, the Warriors managed to rally back to win it and take the match, sweeping the Eagles 25-21, 25-13, 25-16.

The win lifts the Warriors to 2-3 on the season. They will retake the court with another home game against Smithtown East Sept. 19. Game time is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

– Photos by Bill Landon