By Gavin Menu
Most field hockey players and fall athletes in general will look sluggish at times early into a new season as they come around to the physical demands of playing full speed for an entire game. And then there is Kasey Gilbride.
Pierson-Bridgehampton’s all-everything junior midfielder was in overdrive from start to finish during a convincing 4-0 victory over Riverhead in the team’s season-opener at Mashashimuet Park on September 7. Gilbride dominated the action and scored a second-half goal that seemingly came straight from the barrel of a high –powered rocket launcher.
“Kasey played phenomenally,” head coach Shannon Judge said following the game.
Prior to her goal, which put the Lady Whalers up 2-0, Gilbride was angry over a no-call by the referee that would have resulted in a corner for the Lady Whalers. But rather than sulk, she immediately called for the ball at the top of the shooting circle and fired a laser two meters off the ground into the back of the Riverhead net. It was clear from that moment that the Lady Whalers, with Gilbride in the lead, would be a force to be reckoned with this 2012 season.
“She can be pretty intense,” Judge said of her junior captain. “She played very well today and she’s also a great teacher out there.”
The Lady Whalers improved to 2-0 in non-league play on Tuesday with a 6-0 win over Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island, with Gilbride netting three goals and two assists.
The team was scheduled to play Babylon in a non-league game on Wednesday after press time in a game that was important, according to Judge, since Babylon is a fellow Class C school from Division II, and a win would help her apply for a playoff exemption at the end of the season should Pierson fail to land in the top six in Division III, which is comprised of both Class B and Class C schools.
Against Riverhead, the Lady Whalers proved they would be more than just a team with one star player this season, getting solid play from their core group and goals from juniors India Hemby and Emme Luck and freshman Erica Selyukova, who rebounded another rocket shot from Gilbride for the first goal of her varsity career.
“Erica is going to be someone to watch in the future of Pierson athletics,” Judge said. “She has great athletic ability.”
Pierson had 18 shots on goal against Riverhead and dominated action on the offensive end with 10 corners to Riverhead’s three. Junior Emma Romeo, starting in goal for the first time, recorded the shutout with three saves while junior Katherine Matthers, who played limited minutes as she recovers from injuries, played well defensively.
Next up for the Lady Whalers is a game against rival Southampton at home on Wednesday, September 19 at 4:30 p.m.