By Benito Vila
Seasons change but the fall of 2009 will forever be a memorable one for Pierson sports fans. The boys’ golf team set a program best with nine wins against just four losses; girls’ volleyball overcame a 2-4 start with a 7-1 finish to earn a second consecutive playoff berth and girls’ field hockey continued its resurgence with a 10-4 regular season that ended with a double OT loss in the county title game.
Not to be lost among those team achievements was the contribution Joe Dowling made to the East Hampton, Pierson, Bridgehampton “Bonac” football team, the two-way lineman helping his team make the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Also, the individual effort of Kyle Fletcher made sure the Whaler boys’ cross-country program pushed its streak of sending a runner to the state meet to 12 consecutive years.
As is always the case, team records do little to illuminate the achievements of a season. Boys’ soccer, at 5-6-1, suffered four one-goal losses but was still battling for a playoff spot in its final game.
Girls’ soccer at 5-9 in league, started strong, gaining notoriety in knocking off perennial powerhouse Mattituck. But then injuries interfered, four starters sidelined as the team faded from playoff contention. The Lady Whalers did beat their Class C rivals in four out of six matches, with the bulk of their games coming against Class B schools.
Girls’ cross-country saw its two-year reign as county Class D champions come to an end, but Keriann FitzPatrick continued a three-year run of finishing either first or second in the county meet. Lady Whaler coach Jim Kinnier also saw the biggest improvement in individual times from September to November that he has seen in his seven years leading the varsity.
While the high school honored its student athletes at a ceremony last week, some Whalers are still collecting plaques and trophies. Soon after Thanksgiving, the county coaches’ association of each varsity sport will host a banquet to present all-league, all-conference and all-county awards.
Some of those award winners were announced this week. Lady Whaler field hockey will be well-represented at their dinner, Aly Bori, Sariah Cafiero, Abby Gawronski, Kasey Gilbride, Sam James, Alexa Lantiere and Lindsay Warne not knowing who earned what until December 1.
Whaler soccer will also have a full table December 7, all-county academic honoree Mark Mahoney being joined by all-league standouts Jeff Schimmer and Eduardo Oscar Bautista Reinoso and all-conference picks Jake Federico and Gavin Kudlak.
Federico has extended his season, trying out and making the county’s exceptional seniors team. That group of Suffolk all-stars is set to play their Nassau rivals December 5.
Lady Whaler soccer will send all-league Amanda Busiello, all-conference Kaci Koehne and all-county Natalie Abbene to their banquet. Pierson volleyball will have Samara Finkenauer, Xylia Serafy, Katelyn Grodski and Tanasha Clark at theirs.
Who to Look for in 2010
While Gawronski, Bori, Federico, Abbene and Dowling prepare to play sports at the next level, next year’s teams are already starting to shape up.
Field hockey has a strong core coming back, with Cafiero, Gilbride, James, Lantiere and Warne already known for their technique and speed. More confidence and better luck will be keys to girls’ soccer next season, Busiello, Koehne, Emma Ferrera, Sarah Hartman, Emily Hinz and Annie Osiecki all hoping to stay healthy and on the field.
Touch will be important to golf’s Dillon Decker, the varsity’s most valuable player, who is planning on improving his game with lessons and thousand of swings. Teammates Gabe Denon, Jake Weingartner, Adam Heller and Jake Bennett are looking to spend time doing the same.
Meanwhile, volleyball’s Finkenauer, Serafy, Grodski, Rebecca Speckenbach and Dominique Clark will keep honing their skills on club teams and in-school games.
Not to be forgotten is boys’ soccer who will see a change in goal and look to Kudlak, Reinoso, Tyler Gilbride, Skyler Loesch, Seamus Doyle, Gabe Burford, Sean Hartnett and Gabe Garro to get back into the county playoffs.
Setting the pace for cross-country again next fall will be FitzPatrick and Fletcher. Those two finished their season last weekend at the state meet in Plattsburgh. FitzPatrick clipped her top county rivals in coming in first among Class D students from Long Island, placing forty-ninth overall.