Lady Whaler Field Hockey
Stopped by touch bunch of Wildcats
By Andrew Rudansky
The Pierson Lady Whalers field hockey team (3-2) lost a physical, Division III matchup against the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats (6-1) this past Tuesday, September 27. Heralded as one of their toughest matchups of the season, the Lady Whalers have still not been able to best the Wildcats in the tenure of current head coach Shannon Judge.
Going into the game Pierson was still riding high off an 8-0 stomping they handed to Hampton Bays (0-4) the day before.
Pierson’s senior goalie Catherine Musnicki, recorded her first shutout of the season at the away game at Hampton Bays. Sophomore co-captain, and all-state selection Kasey Gilbride scored three goals in the game, while sophomore midfielder Emme Luck scored two of her own.
On Tuesday, things also looked to be going Pierson’s way heading into the second period against Shoreham – Wading River, with neither team yet on the scoreboard.
Judge specifically lauded senior Lilah Yardley’s defensive performance and intelligent gamesmanship in shutting out the Wildcats’ best player all game, all-American Debi-Michelle Jantzen.
“We were very defensive in the first half of the game,” said Judge. “Then in the second half we shifted our strategy to a more offensive game.”
That shift was to have major consequences for the Lady Whalers, who still found themselves under pressure from the aggressive Wildcats.
Pierson’s Musnicki blocked a shot on goal with a left foot save five minutes into the second half; she had nine saves on the day.
However the Wildcat pressure became too much and seven minutes in, Wildcats’ Mandy Hearney hit the ball past Musnicki, giving the Wildcats the first lead of the game.
Despite the goal the Lady Whalers refused to give up their aggressive strategy.
Their first opportunity to even the score came eleven minutes into the second half when sophomore India Hemby took the ball up the side of the field, bypassing several defenders and crossing it to Gilbride. Gilbride hit a powerful shot on goal that soared past the goalie and into the back of the net.
The officials called a penalty on Gilbride for raising the ball above the knee level on the shot, and nullified the goal. Pierson argued the call to no avail, saying that the ball rose in the air only after hitting a defenders foot first, making the goal legal.
Despite not getting the goal, Judge said that Gilbride — her 2010 all-state selection and co-captain — “commanded the field” in the second half of the game.
As regulation came to a close the score remained 1-0.
“I am very proud of my team,” said Judge. “I think we are playing with a lot more heart and will.”
Pierson (3-2) next takes on Rocky Point (4-1) at home on Monday, October 3 at 4:30 p.m.