By Benito Vila
2007 was hard on the Lady Whaler varsity field hockey and soccer teams. Each team missed out on post-season play and both had growing pains; soccer in coming up to the varsity level and field hockey in getting on with lesser numbers.
The 2008 season has seen a remarkable turnaround for the teams so far. Going into Saturday’s homecoming matches, field hockey stands at 5-1 in division play and 7-1 overall. Soccer is just under .500, at 2-3 in League VIII and 3-4 overall, with the hardest part of their schedule behind them.
Homecoming festivities have field hockey in Mashashimuet Park at 11 a.m Saturday to host Hampton Bays. The fifth annual field hockey alumni game follows immediately afterwards. Soccer meanwhile has a whole other homecoming agenda, hoping to best the Lady Bonackers as they celebrate theirs Friday in East Hampton; that non-league match starts at 5 p.m. on the fields off Long Lane.
This week’s schedule puts the field hockey team at home in the park today against Riverhead at 4 p.m. and at Comsewogue next Friday. Soccer meanwhile travels to Southold Monday before hosting Center Moriches next Friday.
At the top
The field hockey team went 3-0 this week, outscoring their opponents 10-1. In their 5-0 win at home against Southampton last Thursday, Sariah Cafiero scored two goals with Lindsay Warne netting one while adding three assists. Samanthe Federico and Aly Bori banged in the other goals.
The ladies were back in the park Friday, getting past Greenport-Southold 3-0. Sariah Cafiero came away with a goal, as did Federico. Abby Gawronski had a goal and an assist and Alexa Lantiere recorded an assist.
The shutout streak ended Tuesday at William Floyd, a let down on defense in the last minute of the first half leading to a breakaway goal for the Lady Colonials. The Lady Whalers came right back when Federico tied the match a little over a minute into the second half.
But it wasn’t until Warne scored three minutes into overtime that the team took the win.
Coach Shannon Judge said, “90% [of Tuesday’s] match was played inside their 25. Scoring was our issue; we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. There was one scramble after another in front of their net, but we didn’t finish.” Disappointed in the breakaway goal, Coach Judge pointed out, “We’ve let teams score twice now inside the last minute. We cannot let down then in transitioning to defense. We have to play stronger there.”
The defensive lapse aside, Coach Judge was delighted to point out that Warne, Federico and Cafiero are among the leaders in scoring on Long Island. Warne leads all Nassau and Suffolk County players in assists with nine and is tied for second in points with 14. Federico is third in goals overall with eight while Cafiero has six goals (tenth most) and two assists, the two tied at seventh place in total points.
Let downs and quick goals are also a concern for Lady Whaler soccer coach Haley Luzim. Her squad scored four second-half goals in quick succession Friday in a 6-2 win over Port Jefferson in the park. Fate returned the favor Tuesday as Smithtown Christian pulled off a 4-0 second-half run to send the girls home with a 7-0 loss.
Assessing at her team near the midpoint of its season, Coach Luzim is “looking to get more consistent. We have three games still to go against our Class C rivals, Port Jefferson, Stony Brook and Mercy, and we can have no let downs in those.”
In Friday’s win, Katie Osiecki kicked in two goals. Alicia Pagliasacchi added a goal, as did Kara Gengarelly. Amanda Busiello and Natalie Abbene, each scored once and had an assist.