By Jacob Sisson
The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers soccer team (1-2-2, 0-1-0) got their league season underway on Tuesday as they welcomed Stony Brook (2-1-0, 1-0-0) to Mashashamuit Park for the Lady Whalers’ first game in League VIII play. Stony Brook managed to pick apart the Pierson/Bridgehampton defense and slotted six goals past Julia Schiavoni, who spared The Lady Whalers further blushes by making save after save against a potent Stony Brook offense. It was not all bad news for Pierson/Bridgehampton, as they managed to get on the score sheet in the first half and take some positives from the game.
Pierson/Bridgehampton came into their match against Stony Brook having endured a non-league season of mixed results. The Lady Whalers were coming off of a win against Southampton, where Pierson/Bridgehampton’s Amanda Busiello scored the game’s only goal with just under 12 minutes left in the second half to deliver the team’s first win of the year. Pierson/Bridgehampton was keen to continue with some of the momentum gained against Southampton into their first league game of the season against a tough division rival.
Stony Brook had come into Tuesday’s game with something to prove after Half Hollow Hills East routed them 5-0 at home only 24 hours prior. Despite the loss, Stony Brook had enjoyed a .500 non-league season, after beating Mount Sinai 3-1 on September 16. For their part, Pierson/Bridgehampton had also finished their non-league season with a .500 record. The Lady Whalers’ win against Southampton complimented a 2-2 draw with Hampton Bays, in which the team fought back from a first half deficit to earn the tie on September 15, and a scoreless draw against East Hampton in what was their first match of the season, on September 11. Sandwiched between the two draws was a 4-1 loss to Westhampton.
Wednesday’s match was a true tale of two halves, as the score line at halftime shared little similarity to the score when full time was called. A goal from The Lady Whalers’ Kaci Koehne, off of an assist from last Thursday’s hero Amanda Busiello, partnered with some dogged goalkeeping by Schiavoni kept the team within striking distance. Despite two goals from Stony Brook, it was still anyone’s game as the two teams let the field for halftime, with the scoreboard reading a 2-1 advantage in favor of Stony Brook.
Stony Brook returned to the field the more motivated side for the game’s second half, as their offense started to find holes in the Pierson/Bridgehampton defense. Despite tallying a total of 16 saves throughout the game, four more goals found their way past Schiavoni in the second half, giving Stony Brook a convincing 6-1 victory. The final score may hide some promising signs from the Pierson/Bridgehampton offense, however, as the team forced the Stony Brook goalkeeper, Danielle Pappas into nine saves. Leading Stony Brook was Michelle Hennessey, who netted a hat trick, while Donna Liotine had two goals and provided four assists. The final Stony Brook goal belonged to Gianna Scavo, who also assisted on one of Stony Brook’s goals.
To this point in the season, goalkeeper Julia Schiavoni has been the real star of the team, doing her best to keep her team in every game they play. Schiavoni was very much responsible for keeping the score against Stony Brook respectable, and already has two shutouts to her name at this early stage in the season. On top of the shutout against Southampton, Schiavoni made two critical saves on breakaway attempts against East Hampton to preserve a blank score line, and let nothing through against Southampton.
This week, The Lady Whalers plunge further into their league eight schedule on Thursday as they travel to Port Jefferson’s Scraggy Hill field. After that, Pierson/Bridgehampton faces a Saturday afternoon home game against league eight rivals McGann-Mercy, who are coming off of a 4-1 loss to Amityville on Tuesday. Pierson/Bridgehampton will be looking to take some of the things they learned in Tuesday’s loss to Stony Brook and apply them to their upcoming games and begin a march to the playoffs.