By Gavin Menu
The Pierson-Bridgehampton field hockey team lost two crucial games this week and will be fighting for its playoff life as the season barrels toward completion this Tuesday afternoon with a road game at second-ranked Rocky Point.
The Lady Whalers fell to Southampton, 2-0, on Thursday, October 11 and have now split the regular-season series with their local rival and possible postseason opponent once the Suffolk County Class C playoffs begin next month.
Following a 1-0 overtime win over William Floyd on Saturday, the Lady Whalers on Monday hosted Shoreham-Wading River and lost, 3-1, to settle into fifth place in the Division III standings with 112.510 power points.
Southampton is the only other class C team ahead of Pierson (7-4) at the moment, and with the only other Class C field hockey schools in Suffolk County, Port Jefferson and Babylon, both struggling, it could come down to Pierson and Southampton for the county title, which at the moment is scheduled for Tuesday, November 6.
But with only the top six teams from each division automatically qualifying for the postseason, the Lady Whalers may have to win one of their final two games this week. Miller Place will travel to Sag Harbor for a game tomorrow, October 19, at 4 p.m. and the regular season will wrap up will be held on Tuesday, October 23 with a critical game at Rocky Point, which the Lady Whalers beat, 2-0, earlier this year.
“It’s going to be a battle for sixth place,” head coach Shannon Judge said on Tuesday, adding that if the Lady Whalers were to finish outside the top six, she could ask Section XI, the governing body of athletics in Suffolk County, for a playoff exemption. “I would protest, and I have protested before with some really good results, but they did not give it to me.”
Last Thursday’s game was played on the Southampton’s home turf field, and the Lady Mariners dominated the action in the first half and took the lead on a goal by Keara Wood.
Pierson defeated Southampton, 1-0, at home on September 19, and had plenty of chances last Thursday with a half dozen shots missing the goal by six inches or less. Southampton’s Emily Wesnofske iced the game late in the second half with a goal off a penalty shot.
Pierson goalie Emma Romeo, who was under siege for much of the game, finished with 10 saves.
“We didn’t even show up,” Judge said, pointing out that it was her team’s only game on turf all season. “But I don’t think the turf was a factor. Nobody was on for us and we couldn’t match Southampton’s energy.”
The Lady Whalers did not play well against William Floyd either, their coach said, and needed an overtime goal by Bridgehampton’s India Hemby to hold on for the win. The team played much better against Shoreham, Judge said, but a second-half goal by Kasey Gilbride was not enough in the end, putting the team in a difficult spot as it heads into its final two games.
“I think we need to work on consistently playing well,” Judge said. “And if the girls are tough enough, then we’ll get it done and get into the playoffs.”