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League V

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Meagan Murphy digs out a serve receive. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Erika Benson slams the ball over the net. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Megan Murphy dug deep to pull out a win — quite literally Monday.

The senior libero threw herself all over the court to record 31 digs in a 3-0 sweep of Hauppauge Oct. 23, 25-14, 25-17, 25-10, to cap off Kings Park girls volleyball’s second straight undefeated League V season.

“Megan Murphy in the back row was strong on defense,” Kings Park head coach Ed Manly said. “Very rarely are you going to catch her off guard or get her to shank a ball during the course of play.”

With Hauppauge as close as 12-10 midway through the first set, three straight Kings Park points — a Hauppauge out-of-bounds hit, an Alexa Petraitis (eight kills) spike and a Kara Haas dump over — forced the Eagles to call timeout. The scoring streak was only briefly interrupted after the break, and Kings Park slammed home four more to make it 19-11. Murphy closed out serving on the last four of five Kings Park points, until an out of bounds serve made it 24-14 and a Hauppauge service error closed out the set.

“I don’t say this selfishly — we’ve been doing this for so long and I’m so honored to play with this team,” said Petraitis, a senior outside hitter. “Everything I do is because of my team, because of how much support I have. Hauppauge was great at getting the ball up, and we did great staying mentally focused, ready for it to come back over the net.”

Kara Haas serves the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Hauppauge was strong serving, and returning it. In the second set, the Eagles were cruising right alongside Kings Park, forcing five ties. A Petraitis kill put the Kingsmen up 6-5, but Hauppauge bounced right back to tie the score at 8-8 and again at 10-10.

“Hauppauge is always extremely scrappy and they make it hard to put balls away,” Manly said. “Every time we tried to tip or do something unconventional they picked it up, but we stayed consistent swinging at the ball and keeping the offense strong.”

Manly said his team worked on defensive drills, like service receives, to prepare for Hauppauge, but he still thinks his team has work to do heading into the postseason.

“That’s my biggest issue with my team — we’re pretty powerful offensively, but we rest on our laurels and let down a little bit on the defensive side,” he said. “But we weathered the storm.”

Senior Erika Benson (12 kills) took the game over, as the middle hitter spiked the ball for a big kill and a 12-10 advantage that gave Kings Park the push it needed.

Haley Holmes sets up a play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I thought when times were getting rough — we were in a little bit of a slump — we worked hard to get out of it quickly to move on to the next play,” Benson said. “Coach tells us to get ready for the next point. We’re never thinking ahead, we’re just thinking of what we can do to get that point.”

Right up the middle the team began clicking, with Murphy returning the serve, Haley Holmes (39 assists) setting up the play and Benson driving shots to the ground.

“Haley Holmes did a nice job setting,” Manly said. “She sets a really consistent ball, she didn’t get called for any doubles, lifts or carries, and she spreads the ball on offense really, really well. Erika Benson overpowers people in the middle, and up the middle with our libero, setter and middle is where our bread is buttered and that pretty much carried us tonight.”

Kings Park is the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs, which begin Oct. 30. The Kingsmen won’t play again until November thanks to a first-round bye.

Meagan Murphy celebrates Kings Park’s undefeated League V season. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I’m really excited to see what happens with this team,” Murphy said.

Graduating just one senior from last year’s team, Benson said her team’s accomplishments, including helping to win the seventh straight league title for Kings Park, means a lot to the seniors, who are following in the footsteps of those in years past, losing just one regular-season game in their entire careers.

“Being able to keep this League V title is pretty special,” she said. “Every season we have one goal: to win states. It’s always in the back of our minds and it helps us push through to win every game.”

Manly said he doesn’t see the streak weighing too heavily on the girls, because they’re focused on that one goal.

“They’re a pretty relaxed bunch — they’re more focused on their goals than about what’s happened in the past,” he said. “They’re focused on every point, every set and every match. I love my team very much, I think they’re extremely talented and I think the sky is the limit for them as long as they stay humble and hungry and don’t overlook anybody. They have the capability to do some pretty special stuff.”

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Mount Sinai’s boys’ indoor track and field team after winning the League V title.

By Desirée Keegan

To say a Mount Sinai senior sprinter overcame adversity to help his Mustangs capture a league title would be a colossal understatement.

Just days before the League V championship, Andrew Fiore tore his hip flexor.

The Mount Sinai track and field athlete was sidelined for several days and left his coaches thinking he’d be unable to compete. Come Jan. 22, the day of the competition, Fiore told his coaches he had to run.

“I knew it was a big deal for the whole team, and I didn’t want to let anybody down,” the runner said. “I wanted to help in any way I could, and the best way to do that was to compete.”

Despite the injury, the senior had the best showing of his six-year varsity career. For the first time since joining the team in seventh grade, he broke not one school record but two.

Matthew LaGatta, Andrew Fiore and Anthony Bosio show off their hardware.

Fiore placed first in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.84 seconds, edging out a 10-year record of 6.87. Soon after, he ran the first leg of the 4×200 relay that took first with a time of 1 minute, 37.79 seconds. The mark also eclipsed another school record that stood for more than a decade.

“To me, it really spoke of his character that regardless of being hurt, there was no way he wasn’t going to run — for himself, for me, for the team,” Mount Sinai head coach Lee Markowitz said. “He’s always been our go-to guy. He’s a team player and he’s a tough kid. He refused to not run. I was blown away.”

Fiore also finished second in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 3 inches. His performances helped put his team in a position to win, and the Mustangs took home Mount Sinai’s first indoor League V title in 12 years. Although he did not think about breaking records, he admitted it was an added bonus.

“It’s unreal — seeing my name in the record book is weird, but it’s awesome,” he said. “We were coming into the meet expecting to score points, but we did not expect to score as many as we did, and we even scored points in events that we didn’t expect to place in.”

Fiore’s senior teammates Anthony Bosio, Nick Cesario and Kevin Kelly helped break the 4×200 record. Cesario and Kelly also placed in the top four in the 55-meter dash. Kelly finished second in 6.96 and Cesario took fourth in 6.98.

“We’ve been a young team for a few years, so this season was interesting because we finally had a good core of seniors who really led by example,” Markowitz said. “The interesting thing is that at the league championship meet, every single player stepped up and had their personal best performances of the season. It all came together.”

The head coach highlighted sophomore Kenneth Wei, who took home the only other first-place finish for the team, finishing the 55 hurdles in 8.31.

The interesting thing is that at the league championship meet, every single player stepped up and had their personal best performances of the season. It all came together.”

—Lee Markowitz

“He is a very talented high hurdler and is also a gifted high jumper,” Markowitz said. “He really stepped it up with his effort.”

Mount Sinai, which finished with 105 points, almost doubled second-place Southampton’s score of 56.

Markowitz said although Mount Sinai never goes into the meet expecting to be a contender, he and his assistant coach Eric Giorlando, who he said the team would not have won the title without, realized the Mustangs had depth unlike they’d seen in past years.

Markowitz shared his pre-meet message to the team.

“These guys worked very hard, and some of them have been working for it for years,” he said. “I told them before the meet in my pregame speech that if we win, and no guarantees, I hope that a win would teach them that hard work pays off. And it certainly did. As their coach, it makes me so incredibly proud to see them come together, give their hearts, give it everything they had and come out on top.”

Fiore said although the magnitude of what occurred during the meet did not hit him until receiving praise the next day at school, he’s glad he made the decision to compete.

“It was a little nerve-racking coming in injured, and we want to make sure everyone remains healthy because we’re looking to win a league title in spring, too, but it was definitely worth it,” he said. “We all relied on each other to win, and my coaches have been so supportive. This sport helps you in other ways than simply athletics, and it’s made me a better person. This experience has meant a lot to me.”

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Mason Cline attempts a basket in Rocky Point's last minute 73-68 loss to Amityville on Feb. 4. Photo by Bill Landon.

By Bill Landon

Rocky Point led most of the way, but the boys’ basketball team let the lead slip away when it mattered most, losing its League V matchup against Amityville in the final minute Thursday night, 73-68.

Harry Lynch makes his way through traffic in Rocky Point's last minute 73-68 loss to Amityville on Feb. 4. Photo by Bill Landon
Harry Lynch makes his way through traffic. Photo by Bill Landon

Harry Lynch sparked the Eagles’ offense, helping to keep his team out in front 11-8 at the 3:40 mark of the first quarter. The senior guard drove the lane with reckless abandon, as he fought his way to the rim and helped stretch his team’s lead to 21-17 by the end of the first eight minutes.

Amityville picked away at the deficit, drawing within three points in the second quarter, but Lynch scored his fourteenth point as time ran out, and the Eagles took a 29-25 advantage into the halftime break.

The matchup grew physical, which led to multiple penalties, but Rocky Point failed to convert most opportunities at the free-throw line. The Warriors battled back to take their first lead of the game, 37-35, at the 3:47 mark of the third quarter.

Lynch went to the charity stripe shooting two and split the appearance to help his team close within one point, and Rocky Point senior Colin Kotarski went to the line shooting two next, and nailed both, as the Eagles retook the lead.

After a Warriors field goal that flipped the score, Rocky Point senior Ben Collesidis, with a defensive pick, took the ball down the stretch and converted his opportunity into points to again turn the tables for both teams, giving the Eagles a 40-39 edge.

Ben Collesidis goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Ben Collesidis goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

With the teams knotted at 43-43 late in the third quarter, Lynch nailed a clutch 3-pointer, and teammate Mason Cline, also a senior, did the same. At the end of the quarter, Rocky Point led 49-43.

With both teams finding their 3-point rhythm, Amityville answered the Eagles with a Joshua Serrano trifecta to make it a three-point game. Cline had his own answer for his opponent though, as he swished his fourth trey of the game.

The clock wound down, and both teams traded points at the charity stripe. Kotarski was fouled while shooting and tacked on two points for a 60-55 Eagles lead with just over three minutes left in regulation, but Amityville hit a 3-pointer with 1:02 left to play, for a 67-65 lead. Another free throw point made it a 3-point game, again.

Lynch went to the line shooting a 1-and-1 opportunity, and sank both to help his team draw within one point, but with less than 30 seconds left, Serrano made two more appearances at the stripe, and cashed in on all four attempts, to put the game out of reach.

Lynch topped the scoresheet with 27 points, while Cline banked 19 and Kotarski added 14.

Colin Kotarski scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon
Colin Kotarski scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

The Eagles hit 65 percent of their free throws on the night, while Amityville neared 80 percent.

“We were winning the whole way,” Rocky Point head coach James Jordan said. “We missed a lot of foul shots and that cost us the game. We play Islip on Monday. We’ve got to do a better job at rebounding and that’s a team we have to beat.”

With one game remaining, Jordan said that his team needs one more win to have a better chance at a run in the postseason. Currently, the team sits at 6-5, so the head coach is hoping for a higher seed with one more victory.

Rocky Point was supposed to travel to Islip on Monday, Feb. 8, but on account of the snow, the game has been postponed with no makeup date currently scheduled.

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Sohpomore guard Nora Gabel drives the baseline in Comsewogue's triple overtime loss to Westhampton on Jan. 30. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

It took three overtime periods to decide the Comsewogue girls’ basketball team’s fate Saturday, when the Warriors fell Westhampton, 59-57, after both teams were deadlocked at 41 points apiece at the end of regulation.

“We all wanted it so bad,” Comsewogue junior Stephanie Collins said of winning the game. “We wanted to come out and have a good last home game. We all just gave it our all. We hit some key shots, but I never thought it would go to three overtimes.”

The Warriors broke out to a 10-2 lead early in the game before the Hurricanes picked up speed, taking a one-point lead into the second quarter. Comsewogue battled back to outscore its opponent 13-7 over the next eight minutes, to take a 25-20 advantage into the halftime break.

Junior forward Samantha Collins reached for the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Junior forward Samantha Collins reached for the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

Westhampton scored five unanswered points to tie the game at 25-25, but Collins went to the line shooting two and swished both to help her team edge ahead 27-25 with just under four minutes left in the third.

In the final seconds of the period, with the game retied at 32-32, the Hurricanes let a fall-away jumper go at the buzzer, which hit its mark to help the team edge ahead 34-32 to begin the final quarter.

Collins went to the line shooting two, and again netted both to tie the game at 34-34 with just over five minutes left in regulation. Collins was 9-for-10 at the charity stripe, and led her team in scoring, along with sophomore Nora Gabel. The two hit the scoreboard with 20 points apiece.

Both teams traded points while the clock unwound, and Westhampton hit a field goal to bring the game to 41-41 with 40 seconds on the clock.

With 3.9 seconds left, Westhampton inbounded the ball only to have it picked off by Comsewogue’s Sofia Colocho. The Warriors immediately called time out.

With time for one more play, Comsewogue junior guard Megan Turner dribbled to the top of the key, but didn’t have a clear look. Head coach Joe Caltagirone barked from the sideline for his team to shoot the ball. Turner didn’t like the look, but let the ball fly. Her attempt just rimmed out at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

“It was a great effort, especially on a Saturday morning coming off a loss to Islip that officially eliminated us from the playoffs, but they came out with everything they had,” Caltagirone said. “Westhampton is very good. They’re stingy on defense, so getting them in foul trouble was big, and to be able to come up with some loose ball rebounds.”

Senior forward and captain Toni Ann Velazquez scores. Photo by Bill Landon
Senior forward and captain Toni Ann Velazquez scores. Photo by Bill Landon

Gabel was busy at the charity stripe netting both in her overtime appearance at the line, to help her team take a 43-41 lead with 2:47 left to play. Westhampton answered back with two points from the line, and with 43 seconds remaining, Gabel swished two more free throws to help her team retake the lead, 45-43. The Hurricanes tried to counter with their appearance at the charity stripe, but split  the attempts, to make it a one-point game.

Again, Gabel went to the line with two attempts, but missed her mark on one, pushing her team ahead 46-44 with 17.3 seconds on the clock.

Desperate to score in the final seconds, Westhampton tried to force a shot and ended up drawing a foul as the clock expired. Westhampton senior Madison Skala matter-of-factly sank both of her shots to retie the game at 46-46, forcing a second overtime period.

Two of Westhampton’s starters fouled out to give Comsewogue an edge, but the Warriors had three players with four fouls.

At the 1:36 mark of the next four minutes, Westhampton edged ahead 50-48 as the clock wound down to 15 seconds. Comsewogue’s final shot from the outside missed, but senior captain and forward Toni Ann Velazquez was right there with the putback to kept the Warriors alive for a final overtime session.

“I think we played a hell of a game,” Velazquez said. “Although we didn’t win, I think it was a great way to end our last home game. That our defense was able to hold them down and not foul as much as they did was very important.”

Gabel opened the third overtime period with another pair of free throws for a 52-50 advantage, but Westhampton answered with a pair of field goals to retake the lead, 54-52. Comsewogue freshman guard Julianna Watson took matters into her own hands as she muscled her way to the rim from the paint for a field goal, but the Hurricanes tacked on a three-point play to pull ahead 57-54 with 27 seconds left in the third overtime period.

Sophomore guard Nora Gabel hits her game-tying trifecta. Photo by Bill Landon
Sophomore guard Nora Gabel hits her game-tying trifecta. Photo by Bill Landon

As the clock wound down to eight seconds, Gabel drained a three-pointer to tie the game, and Westhampton immediately called for a timeout.

“I don’t even know what set that up,” Gabel said. “It’s not a set play, but it was pretty hectic out there, so I dribbled over and found an open shot. We needed three to tie it up, so I went for it, and luckily, it went in.”

In the little time remaining, the Hurricanes inbounded the ball and threw deep to the paint, finding the net as the buzzer blared to win the game 59-57. Comsewogue fell to 3-8 in League V, while Westhampton improved to 7-4.

“We had a couple of miscues early that cost us some opportunities early in the game,” Caltagirone said. “But it was a great game, a clutch shot by Nora for that three, so it was a total team effort.”

Behind scoring leaders Gabel and Collins, Velazquez finished with eight points while Colocho netted five. Watson and Turner rounded out the scoring banking two points each.

Comsewogue will close its season on the road on Feb. 8 against Sayville. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.

Harborfields' Katie Hammer moves the ball downfield in the Tornadoes' 1-0 win over Comsewogue on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue's Jamie Fischer and Harborfields' Christiana DeBorja battle for possession in the Warriors' 1-0 loss to the Tornadoes on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Jamie Fischer and Harborfields’ Christiana DeBorja battle for possession in the Warriors’ 1-0 loss to the Tornadoes on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Harborfields girls’ soccer team needed a win to bolster its playoff seeding and got it, blowing through Warriors territory and leaving Comsewogue unable to find its first win of the season. The Tornadoes took the victory, 1-0, on its rival’s senior night.

The lone goal of the game came at the 17:31 mark of the first half when Harborfields junior Caroline Rosales fired a shot from 25 yards out that never touched the ground and slipped under the top post just off the fingertips.

“It was a rebound, and I just hit it off of a defender and I happened to be there and I just ripped one,” Rosales said. “They played hard as you would expect them to — it was their senior game, so of course we expected them to [come at us] hard.”

From there, it was a defensive struggle on both sides of the ball the rest of the way.

“They definitely came out strong, but we stayed with them,” Comsewogue senior Amanda Cirrincione said. “But we played really well today, and we were very strong defensively.”

Harborfields' Caroline Axelson stops the ball while Comsewogue's Haley Cooke tried to stop her in her tracks in the Tornadoes' 1-0 win over the Warriors on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Caroline Axelson stops the ball while Comsewogue’s Haley Cooke tried to stop her in her tracks in the Tornadoes’ 1-0 win over the Warriors on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Harborfields’ head coach Scott Wallace said Comsewogue was a different team from the last time they faced each other, when the Tornadoes won 4-0.

“They prevented us from doing what we normally do, which is possess in the midfield, and there they stepped on us,” the coach said. “So I give them a lot of credit. We didn’t play poorly, they just didn’t let us play well.”

Wallace said his defense played well, adding that it was a good team effort that helps prepare his team for the postseason.

“We’re going to finish 8-4, because our opponent on Wednesday forfeited,” Wallace said. “So I think we’ll get the last seed or the second to last seed, so we’re preparing for that. We’re going to be playing one of the top teams in the first round.”

The coach added that if his team can continue to play well defensively the Tornadoes might be able to surprise some people.

Harborfields' Katie Hammer moves the ball downfield in the Tornadoes' 1-0 win over Comsewogue on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon
Harborfields’ Katie Hammer moves the ball downfield in the Tornadoes’ 1-0 win over Comsewogue on Oct. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Cirrincione said she thought her team moved the ball well, and had good positioning against Harborfields’ solid defense — it’s just that the Warriors missed some opportunities.

Her classmate Jenna Lynch echoed her sentiment.

“I feel that we’ve worked really well together on the field, but we just didn’t get the win,” she said.

The two victories in the Warriors’ record — they are 2-9-1 in League V — were both forfeits by Amityville.

“We haven’t won a game all season — this is a team that’s been executing our game plan to the letter, but just haven’t had a stroke of luck,” Comsewogue head coach James Bentley said. “If you were to rate nine out of 10 things, we’re phenomenal in nine sections — it’s just that we struggle to finish the ball.”

The Warriors will look for that elusive win on Wednesday when they travel to Westhampton Beach for a 4 p.m. matchup.