By Bill Landon
Ward Melville swarmed the field Tuesday and with an impressive passing performance gave Commack more than it could handle, blanking their opponent 4-0 on the road in Division I field hockey action.
The Patriots got to work three minutes in when sophomore Kerri Thornton hit the scoreboard first off an assist from fellow sophomore Kate Mulham, to take an early lead.
“I had a great insert from Kate Mulham,” Thornton said of the first goal of the game. “Our passing today was the best [we’ve had this season].”
Having lost to their Division I rival Sachem East on Saturday, the Patriots’ play was crisper, more deliberate, and they were faster to the ball than their opponents to bounce back and learn from their defeat.
“I think that coming off Saturday’s loss to Sachem East, today, we showed a lot of discipline,” said Ward Melville head coach Shannon Watson. “We were able to play at our level, the entire game.”
With 13:06 left in the first half, junior Kassidy Rogers-Healion passed the ball to freshman Lexi Reinhardt, who redirected the ball in the front of the cage for the score to put her team out front, 2-0.
At the 10-minute mark, Commack made an offense push, spending more time in front of the Patriots’ box, but Ward Melville senior goalkeeper Emily Hoey stood tall and extinguished the Cougars’ onslaught. She notched four saves on the afternoon.
Ward Melville wasn’t finished scoring, and a minute later, Reinhardt found the box again, this time, off an assist by Thornton, to help her team break out to a 3-0 lead.
“It was a fast break and the defender was on Kerri [Thornton],” Reinhardt said. “I was right in front of the goal and she passed it to me, and I just tapped it in.”
With just over four minutes left in the half, Commack’s Brooke Novello squared off against Hoey with a penalty shot at point-blank range, which Hoey was able to deflect, spoiling the Cougars’ best scoring opportunity of the afternoon.
Reinhardt wasn’t done, and buried her hat trick goal early in the second half, to put the game away, 4-0.
“I got a great pass [from junior Hannah Lorenzen] and I just tapped it in,” Reinhardt said. “I had a lot of help today from my teammates.”
Watson said that junior Kiera Alventosa and senior Shawn Davenport held the midfield together, which was key to getting the ball up front.
“They both did a really nice job for us in the midfield this afternoon,” she said. “They made smart choices and they anchored the center of the field today.”
With the win, Ward Melville improves to 4-1, and will look to improve on that when the Patriots host Bay Shore on Friday. The opening face-off is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.