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.
“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.”
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.