By Benito Vila
Success in sports is something defined in different ways by each coach, each team and each player. Going into most seasons, the goal is to win often and get deep in the playoffs.
In high school athletics, it’s winning in the county and state tournaments that make for banners and parades. But not every school has such a smooth road to greatness. Some seasons, being able to compete is a victory and showing up consistently to play hard against all odds becomes meaningful to everyone involved.
This year’s Pierson varsity soccer squads are still on the cusp of the playoffs with a week and a half to play, but mounting injuries and tough luck losses are making many look beyond the record book for a new measure of success.
Lady Whaler Update
The Lady Whalers went into Wednesday’s match at Smithtown Christian at 5-5 at sixth place in an eight-team league. With an over .500-mark needed for the county playoffs, the girls knew it was “a must-win game.”
But it was not to be, the third-place Lady Crusaders downing Pierson convincingly, 8-0. That leaves the girls looking to get back on track against fourth-place Mattituck Friday and league-leading Southold in Mashashimuet Park Tuesday. The team’s regular season schedule ends next Thursday at Center Moriches.
The Lady Whalers did notch one win this week, outscoring Port Jefferson 3-1 Friday in the park. Alexia Faraguna knocked in two goals and Amanda Busiello booted in the other. Goalkeeper Annie Osiecki recorded nine saves, Kara Gengarelly and Kaci Koehne keeping the Lady Royals away from the net.
Coach Haley Luzim praised the effort Friday but acknowledged “Smithtown Christian and Mattituck are going to be tough. We are going to play very defensive with two stoppers in an effort to keep them from scoring.”
Still, the Lady Whalers are short-handed going in, four starters out with injuries, mid-fielder Emily Hinz and leading scorer Natalie Abbene likely out for the final week.
The fourth-place Whalers, at 3-5-1, also have their work cut out for them, matches remaining at Ross today and home against Stony Brook Monday and Southold Wednesday. A loss in any one of those contests will eliminate them from the post-season.
Looking to “up” their game, the boys hosted League VII leader Center Moriches Tuesday in a scrimmage that asked the team to play at a higher level. Missing some key starters who were out with nagging injuries, the Devils broke through for a handful of goals.
Despite that coach Donnelly McGovern is optimistic that the rest his starters have had since Friday’s 2-0 loss at Port Jefferson and the experience the reserves had Tuesday will be factors in a strong finish.
In re-capping the week’s action he said, “The scrimmage was just a friendly match between the two teams since both had week-long layovers between matches. Ross will be a tough match, but the boys are ready and psyched to take care of business. It is all about action now. Every game for us is a playoff game. We extend our season if we are successful in our remaining matches.”