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By Benito Vila
It’s hard to get anyone to believe but high school happens all too quickly. Kids come in scrawny and questioning, on bicycles and skateboards, and leave filled out, driving and looking to change the world.
While those changes don’t come easily, luckily there are rituals that help everyone adjust and mark the transitions. The Pierson varsity field hockey team will celebrate one of those today, the Lady Whalers honoring their six seniors before a 4:30 p.m. match with East Hampton in Mashashimuet Park.
The match also has playoff implications, third-ranked, 7-4, Pierson looking to maintain its position and the sixth ranked, 5-6, Lady Bonackers set on improving theirs. While the playoffs look to be a lock for the Lady Whalers, losses to East Hampton today or Rocky Point Tuesday could create uncertainty.
This past week, the Pierson girls saw top-ranked Shoreham-Wading River hold off an upset bid Friday, the Lady Wildcats protecting their home field in a 3-0 final. On Monday, the Lady Whalers went to Riverhead and came home with a 6-0 win.
In describing Friday’s game, Lady Whaler coach Shannon Judge said, “The [Shoreham] score was not indicative of our level of play. We had six corners to their ten, with seven shots on goal to their nine. Two of their goals were scored off of defensive mis-positioning and wouldn’t have happened if we were in the right spot. So that’s something we can take away from that game and continue to work on.”
The team took a 2-0 lead in the first half in Riverhead Monday, but it was a two-minute sequence early on in the second half that proved to be the difference. In that charge, Pierson scored three goals, Coach Judge seeing what she called, “beautifully executed goals. Ball movement was swift and the entire field was used. Proving that we are a skilled passing team, the goals were scored by three different people.”
Banging the ball into the back of the box Monday were Sarah Barrett, Abby Gawronski, Sariah Cafiero, Sophie Gianis and Nicole Dorego, with Dorego scoring twice. Also adding assists to their point totals were Cafiero and Dorego.
Today and Beyond
In preparing for this week’s matches, Coach Judge said, “We did well in East Hampton winning 4-1 and we were on their grass field. I expect the girls to play with tight passing and swift movement off the ball today, especially with the speed advantage we’ll have on our field.”
“We beat Rocky Point 1-0 last time, and they play a hit and run game, completely opposite of our style. We will need a few days of practice to adjust to their style, and use ours to our advantage. We’re going to spend some time playing on the softball field, where there’s higher grass, and work on a little more hitting and on being aggressive to the cage.”
The six seniors sure to get flowers today are Aly Bori, Christy Deery, Nicole Dorego, Abby Gawronski, Ana Winchell and Vanessa Rojano. The rest of the team will enjoy the seniors’ moment and may be anxious for theirs, but Coach Judge has the whole squad intent on returning to the county championship game, November 7 at Patchogue-Medford.