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With the game-winning goal, Ward Melville’s Justin Seedorf got a promotion.

“Welcome to the starting lineup,” Ward Melville head coach Jon Stecker said to his sophomore center midfielder while he grabbed his shoulders as the two walked off the soccer field.

Seedorf helped the Patriots make light of what seemed to be a dark situation during the team’s first win of the season, a 2-0 blanking at home of Sachem East Sept. 12.

“We knew this was a must-win game and we had to give 200 percent to get this win,” Seedorf said. “We stayed in it, we didn’t give up.”

Through an unusually high volume of foul calls, changed calls and overruled whistles from the game’s two referees — which included two disallowed Ward Melville goals — the Patriots focus never wavered.

“They played very hard, they kept their heads in the game and I’m very happy with what they did today,” Stecker said. “The way they kept their composure — they took a step in the right direction and showed me they have the maturity it’s going to take in League I to get to the playoffs and get to the next level.”

Despite a 0-0 halftime score, the two teams came out firing. The first half even saw Ward Melville senior Justin Cahill fire at the net, knocking in a wayward kick with his head, but despite a defender being on the post, an offside call negated the goal.

Sachem East seemed to be running out of energy in the second half, and Seedorf sought to take advantage of it. With 19:21 left to play, he raced ahead of the mid-fielder and got his foot on the ball, knocking it between two of his opponent’s toughest defenders and into the goal.

“I saw there was a lot of space up in the top of the box so I made my run, and as I did that the ball came back to me and I finished it near post,” he said. “To see that ball hit the back of the net felt amazing.”

Ward Melville pressed on, and later senior Anthony Guglielmo had a goal removed from the scoresheet, also on an offside call.

“Teams in the past might have let what was going on today affect the outcome of this game,” Stecker said. “I think we needed this game more importantly for our own psyche than even our record. They played very hard despite some goals that were taken away.”

At the 1:44 mark, senior left wing Harry Radke got his body on a send-in from classmate Nick Honor for an insurance goal.

“I knew with Nick Honor that we were going to go front post,” Radke said. “I made the run at the right time and dove as far as I could.”

He said it was sweet to help seal the deal.

“I’ve played against a few of these kids when I was younger and it feels good to score against them,” he said. “We were resilient. Even when we got bad calls and lost two goals we pulled together and pushed through as a team.”

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Smithtown West senior forward John Kazubowski kicks the ball behind him toward the goal. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West senior forward Max Mohrmann pushes the ball forward toward East Islip’s net. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West senior forward Max Mohrmann pushes the ball forward toward East Islip’s net. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

John Kazubowski said he normally doesn’t score goals, but if he told you that Tuesday, he’d be lying.

The Smithtown West senior forward scored a hat trick to lead the No. 3-ranked Bulls, 4-2, over No. 14 East Islip in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.

Just over 10 minutes into the first half, Kazubowski went to knock the ball deeper into East Islip’s territory from the 30-yard line, only to hit the top of the crossbar and bounce into the right corner of the net for a good goal and the 1-0 lead.

In shock, the forward threw his hands up in disbelief as the crowd erupted.

“I don’t usually shoot during the season a lot, so I thought, ‘Hey, might as well,’” he said. “I had space so I took it and it came out nice, I guess.”

Minutes later, an East Islip player escaped defenders and on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, knocked it into the right corner to tie the game.

Smithtown West head coach Tom Lips said that since his team was going against a low seed, the other team knew they had to give it their all if they wanted to progress through the bracket.

Smithtown West senior midfielder Matt McDonnell keeps the ball in play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West senior midfielder Matt McDonnell keeps the ball in play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“They have everything to loose, but more importantly, we’ve had two starters out of our consistent lineup,” he said of junior defender Reed Massaro and sophomore midfielder Andrew McDonnell who were both injured in the last game of the regular season. “We’ve had no injuries until the last game of the season and this is our first game playing without them, so it obviously affected us greatly — especially in our back line where we’re very thin defensively.”

Despite Kazubowski scoring again in the eighth minute off an assist from senior midfielder and co-captain Matt McDonnell, East Islip tied it up, 2-2, off a foul kick four minutes later.

“I don’t think we rose emotionally to the occasion,” Lips said. “I think the other team outworked us. Do I think we’re a better team? Yes, but they outworked us. We have talent, it’s just we weren’t cohesive, pretty much played their style and it’s a compliment to them. We just weren’t good today.”

The Bulls opened up the second half with an early attempt, but couldn’t capitalize, which happened multiple times throughout the game.

“We came a little not awake in the first half and it was a tough one, but we rallied through the second half,” Kazubowski said. “We have to play better in the next round if we want to do something big this season. We have to wake up for the next round and produce something better.”

At the 21:53 mark, the senior forward proved he couldn’t be stopped, when he grabbed a tipped rebound in front of the box and faked out the keeper, shooting the ball into an empty right side for the 3-2 advantage.

Smithtown West's Nathan Biondi maintains possession as East Islip defenders swarm around him. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown West’s Nathan Biondi maintains possession as East Islip defenders swarm around him. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We didn’t play our best, but we definitely came back after they scored a goal or two and pushed in the end,” Matt McDonnell said. “I think we were physically a little more fit toward the end of the game, which helped us.”

With 15:09 left on the clock, McDonnell took a penalty kick shot after a teammate was blocked on a breakaway, and he shot it past a diving East Islip goalkeeper for the 4-2 win.

“I think we were just able to persevere,” he said. “We had a few missed plays and couldn’t finish a few opportunities, but we worked hard and got back in it. If we come together as a team we can go far.”

Smithtown West hasn’t lost a game since Sept. 16, when the team fell to crosstown rival Smithtown East, 1-0, and are now 14-1-1. The Bulls move on to host No. 11 Half Hollow Hills West on Friday at 2 p.m.

No. 16 East lost its outbracket game at home against No. 17 Sachem North, 3-1, on Oct. 24.

Newfield's Michelle Loken clears the ball at midfield at Huntington's Grace Curran races alongside her in the Wolverines' 4-2 win over the Blue Devils on Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Landon

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.

Huntington's Elizabeth Berejka scores on Newfield's Maria Daume in the Blue Devils' 4-2 loss to Newfield on Oct. 16 Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Elizabeth Berejka scores on Newfield’s Maria Daume in the Blue Devils’ 4-2 loss to Newfield on Oct. 16 Photo by Bill Landon

“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.”

Newfield's Leah Johnson tried to redirect the ball for a shot as Huntington's Cara Sorrentino guards the box in the Wolverines' 4-2 win over the Blue Devils on Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield’s Leah Johnson tried to redirect the ball for a shot as Huntington’s Cara Sorrentino guards the box in the Wolverines’ 4-2 win over the Blue Devils on Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Landon

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.

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Kings Park's Kayla Homeyer competes in a game against Huntington last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan

By Joe Galotti

The schedule makers did not do the Smithtown East girls’ soccer team any favors during their first month of the season. The Bulls are currently in the middle of a stretch in which they play four games in six days, and in their matchup against Kings Park on Tuesday afternoon, fatigue was certainly a factor.

After winning a physical and hard-fought game against crosstown rival Smithtown West on Monday, Smithtown East allowed the Kingsmen to dominate much of the play in Tuesday’s contest, but strong play in their own end and a 17-save performance by sophomore goalkeeper Cat Sheppard, allowed the Bulls to keep things close on the scoreboard, and ultimately, leave the field with a 1-1 draw.

Smithtown East head coach Bill Hamilton made the decision to give his regular starters limited playing time in the nonleague matchup. Despite that, he was pleased that his team was still able to avoid their first loss of the season.

“Given the fact that they had about 30 attempted shots in the game, I’m happy it came out as a tie,” Hamilton said. “I told the team today, at the beginning, that I don’t care about how the game goes, as long as we play hard. And they did.”

Kings Park head coach, Bryan LoPalo, also seemed satisfied with the way his team played in the match, despite the fact that his club failed to come away victorious.

“It was not the result we wanted, but the effort was outstanding,” LoPalo said. “I feel like we played our style of soccer and it was a good game.”

Most of the contest was played on the Bulls’ side of the field, with the Kingsmen preventing their opponent from breaking through the middle of the field. LoPalo highlighted the defensive efforts of seniors Shakila Sevanan and Francesca Timpone, and juniors Alexa Biegler and Kayla Homeyer in the game.

Kings Park controlled play through much of the first half, but still entered the intermission trailing 1-0. Sheppard’s strong play in net held the Kingsmen off the scoreboard, and sophomore midfielder Emma Heiser found the back of the net for the Bulls, to give her team the early advantage.

With just under 28 minutes remaining in the second half, Kings Park finally broke through.

A Genevieve Carpenter deflection, off a cross by teammate Selena Ubriaco, was too much for Sheppard to handle, and the ball found its way just over the goal line for the score.

“I just saw Selena coming down the line, and she crossed it, Carpenter said. “I was just trying to help make sure that it went in the goal, and it did. That ended up being a good result for us.”

Kings Park continued to put pressure on Smithtown East during the game’s final stretch, but Sheppard stood tall for the Bulls. The netminder made numerous big saves, including key late-game stops on golden opportunities by Carpenter and senior forward Noelle Perciballi.

“I kept focusing on the ball, and as we continued on, I was able to keep my head in the game,” Sheppard said. “I was a little tired from the game yesterday, but I wanted to get a good result here, and I knew I had to push through.”

Smithtown East continued on with their challenging stretch today, when they visit North Babylon at 4 p.m. Kings Park will also be back in action today, as they hit the road to face off against Deer Park at 6 p.m.

Centereach goalkeeper Annalie Buscarino leaps up to make the save. Photo by Desirée Keegan

One goal was all the Centereach girls’ soccer team needed to seal the deal Tuesday as the Cougars snapped their five-game losing streak with a 1-0 nonleague win over Miller Place.

“We possessed pretty well,” said sophomore sweeper Amanda Fabris, who made many stops for Centereach and pushed the ball back into Miller Place’s zone. “I think we stayed together well as a pack and filled in the gaps when we needed to.”

After some back-and-forth action and some saved shots by Miller Place senior goalkeeper and co-captain Danielle Bambola, Centereach senior forward Ryan Schubert was able to sneak one by her off a penalty kick that just crossed the line into the front left corner of the net.

Miller Place's Olivia Angelo heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place’s Olivia Angelo heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Momentum shifted the Cougars’ way after the goal, leading to more opportunities, but the team couldn’t capitalize, resulting in a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes.

“In the first half, I obviously didn’t have as clean of a save as I should have, and it hurt us, but in the second half I wasn’t afraid of the adrenaline coming in,” Bambola said. “The first half we could’ve picked it up a little more, but in the second half we came out hard-working and determined. We might have lost, but it was a close game and we worked really hard.”

Both teams pressed the defense and had multiple shots on goal, but it was a goalkeeper battle between Bambola and junior co-captain Annalie Buscarino, who made diving and jumping saves to keep the score unchanged.

Miller Place's Abbey Curcio races Centereach's Karly Sauve for the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place’s Abbey Curcio races Centereach’s Karly Sauve for the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I think we can finish a little bit better, but I we got a lot of good shots off,” Miller Place freshman forward Abbey Curcio said. “We just get unlucky sometimes. Eventually we’ll put them in the back of the net.”

As time ticked off the clock, the Panthers team grew stronger and hungrier, connecting passes and shooting on net, but was unable to get the equalizer.

“I thought, in the second half, we played extremely well and it gave us a lot of things to build on going forward,” Miller Place head coach Tom Veryzer said. “I think we’ve shown improvement every single day because of how hard this group has worked. Going forward, we would like to finish more of our opportunities, but we know that will come if we keep at it and keep a positive attitude.”

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Port Jefferson junior forward and co-captain Jillian Colucci shoots and scores through a crowd of Babylon defenders. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

After dropping the first two non-league games of the season, the Port Jefferson girls’ soccer team is back on track after topping Babylon Monday, 4-1, to continue a three-game League VII winning streak.

“Coming from being Class B and beating them in the Suffolk County Championship last year and now dropping down to Class C, it is definitely a big win for us today,” head coach Allyson Wolff said. “In the beginning of the season we played some tough opponents in Ward Melville and Center Moriches and we felt like the girls weren’t talking or communicating, so we worked on that and our passing in practice, keeping it simple and playing to feet — not just trying to kick the ball — so I feel we definitely stepped it up for this game.”

Port Jefferson sophomore midfielder Hailey Reale feels pressure from a Babylon defender as she maintains possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson sophomore midfielder Hailey Reale feels pressure from a Babylon defender as she maintains possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Port Jefferson sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Scarda made several big saves to keep the score 0-0, and the Royals had some chances at a goal early on, but Babylon’s defense came up with the stops.

Although opening the second half still in a stalemate, the Royals were quick to make up for lost time after speaking with Wolff at halftime.

“At halftime I told them that they weren’t playing our game,” Wolff said. “Babylon was beating us to the ball and stepping in front of us, and I told them that if we were going to let them do this, then we’re not going to win. I told them that they have to want it and it has to come from their heart, and told them that the other team looked like it wanted it more than they did, and I think that got them angry and sparked something.”

Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Clare O'Connor sends the ball into play during the Royals' 4-1 win over Babylon on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Clare O’Connor sends the ball into play during the Royals’ 4-1 win over Babylon on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Less than four minutes in, junior forward Jillian Colucci beat out the Babylon goalkeeper, who came out of the box to try and make a save, and shot the ball into the right side of an empty net off an assist from junior midfielder and forward Clare O’Connor, for the 1-0 lead.

“I knew I was going to get the pass, so I started running and felt the defense on my back, but I was able to touch it past the goalie and did whatever I could do to continue to touch it into the net,” she said.

At the 29:48 mark, after O’Connor sent the ball into play, Colucci attempted a goal through a swarm of defenders, and junior midfielder and forward Brittany Fazin put out her foot to stop the rebound and sent the ball into the right corner for a 2-0 advantage.

Off another assist from O’Connor, who crossed the ball into the box after a foul call, Colucci scored her second goal with a straight shot up the middle through traffic and past the keeper. She followed it up with her hat trick goal when, again, the Babylon goalkeeper came out of the box, leaving the net empty.

“The game was intense, and it always is against Babylon,” Colucci said. “Since we’re only playing them once this season we knew we had to step up and play them as hard as we could and keep our record strong against them.”

Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Brittany Fazin kicks the ball behind her to keep the pressure in Babylon's zone. Colucci would grab the pass and score on the play, and the Royals went on to beat the Panthers, 4-1, on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Brittany Fazin kicks the ball behind her to keep the pressure in Babylon’s zone. Colucci would grab the pass and score on the play, and the Royals went on to beat the Panthers, 4-1, on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Scarda made a save, her last of 18 on the afternoon, exactly three minutes after the Royals’ final goal to preserve the clean sheet for the time being, but after a goalie change, senior Noelle Zimmermann gave up a goal with 5:07 left to play, to bring the final score to 4-1.

“We really, really earned it,” Scarda said of the win. “All the nerves that we had — being scared about the game, we took and converted into our skill and our playing. We got our heads in the zone every chance we got and we trained very, very hard leading up to this game.”

What helped the Royals was that the team was playing to feet instead of chasing the ball in the air like they did in the first half.

“We don’t have good control of it [in the air], and when they play things to feet it’s pretty, it’s beautiful and it makes things happen,” assistant coach Michele Aponte said. “They’re a stronger group of girls together, especially getting to the level they got to last year. They want it.”

Port Jefferson travels to McGann-Mercy Friday, for a 4:30 p.m. game. The Royals have topped the Monarchs all six times they faced their opponent in the last three seasons.