By Benito Vila
Pierson alumni are likely to join the usual crowds of family and friends as the athletic teams celebrate homecoming in the park and in the gym this weekend. The festivities are due to start Friday, with boys’ soccer hosting the Ross School in Mashashimuet Park at 4 p.m. Girls’ volleyball meets Center Moriches indoors at the high school at 4:30 p.m.
Those interested in seeing golf can watch the Whaler team tee off today at the Noyac Golf Club against Southampton at 3:30 p.m. Cross-country fans will have to settle for watching those Whalers run in after-school practices, their next meet not scheduled until next Thursday.
The cross-country teams saw varied competition and courses this past week. The boys ran the 3.1-mile Peconic Invitational in Red Creek Park Thursday with the girls going the same distance in the Bob Pratt Invitational at Sunken Meadow Saturday. Class AA, A, B and C schools participated in those meets giving Pierson runners a sense of what they may see at the state finals.
Kai Leo set the pace for the Whalers Thursday finishing in 19 minutes and 21 seconds, fifth overall. Peter Skerys completed the 1.5-mile freshman course in 10:35, seventh overall.
The girls placed seventh out of 11 teams in Saturday’s meet. Keriann FitzPatrick posted a time of 23:51 to lead her teammates. Ameila Skerys, 24:11, Rafaela Gertler, 24:43, and Brianna Kinnier, 26:37, all came in close behind.
Tuesday took both teams to Indian River Country Club in Riverhead for a meet with Stony Brook. The Bears swept, their boys winning 20-37 and their girls getting away 28-29.
Leo, at 15:24 finished second overall Tuesday, leading his team by running at a 5:55-mile pace across the 2.6-mile-course. Kyle Fetcher, 16:48, was second on the team and fifth overall. James Frazier, 17:04, finished seventh overall and Brendan Sheil, 17:43, was eighth. Coach Joe Amato called the meet “a good showing, but it was not a win.”
Girls’ coach Jim Kinnier had his top three runners take second, third and fourth Tuesday but it was not enough for a win. Keriann FitzPatrick had her squad’s best time at 17:33, with Skerys, 17:43, and Gertler, 18:22, getting in just after her.
This weekend, the girls are going to Richmond, VA for the McDonald’s All-American Cross-Country Festival. The Harborfest 5K, a fund-raiser run earlier this month, made the trip south possible.
The Lady Whaler volleyball team had its four-game win streak snapped at home Tuesday by first-place Shelter Island, 3-1. The team is now 4-2, tied for second place in League VIII, 4-3 overall.
Tuesday’s match had Shelter Island take game one 25-8. Pierson, led by co-captain Brianna Hand, out-hustled the Lady Indians for a 25-23 win in game two, but in the end the visitors prevailed 25-18 and 25-22 to close out play.
Coach Stacey Springer praised Hand saying, “She wanted to play so badly. She was hurt, but taped herself up. That helped us come together and stay strong in the middle.” In describing the difference between the two teams, Coach Springer noted, “They had one good server and we needed to cover [the floor] better during blocks and hits.”
In last Thursday’s 3-0 sweep of Stony Brook, Amanda Holder had four kills and two blocks to lead the team. Co-captain Devon Larsen added three digs and three aces. Coach Springer called it “a great game. Everybody played well. They were digging and covering; it was awesome.”
In tomorrow’s match with powerhouse Center Moriches, Coach Springer expects tough games and is looking for “a strong start.”
The Whalers had their first chance for points get away 3-2 last Friday when Greenport knocked in goal with three minutes left in a second overtime. Kyle McGowin scored both goals for Pierson, the first one giving the boys the lead in the early going and the second one tying the score in the second half.
A trip to Port Jefferson Monday put the team’s record at 0-4 in League VIII, the Royals racking up a 4-1 win. Coach Donnelly McGovern described the loss as “not as disheartening as the Greenport one,” adding, “We possessed the ball very well and had our chances. We were in the game despite the final score”.
In considering his team’s morale and play of late, Coach McGovern feels the players “are seeing where the breakdowns are occurring, so they are not seeing it as a wasted effort. Things we have been working on in training have been improving, but not to the point where it has brought us a victory.”
“Collectively, I was very pleased with our speed of play in the last two matches and the manner in which we have worked to possess the ball as a group.Â This is something that must continue to improve when we’re under pressure because obviously we are having trouble finishing our opportunities.
For one, McGowin shares his coach’s optimism, saying after practice on Tuesday, “We think we should win every game. We’ve just been disappointed so far. Coach has been working with us to improve our mental and physical approach when we’re on the attack.” Underclassman Gabe Garro chimed in, “We’re going to pull through. We’ll get some wins in.”
Jake Federico, who has played a variety of positions in the mid-field, likes the team’s prospects, saying, “We have the potential to play with anyone. We’ve been in every game. We just have not put it all together yet. And that’s what we have to do.”
Whaler varsity golf posted its first win Tuesday out-dueling Ross 7-2 at the East Hampton Golf Club. Eighth graders Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon, sophomore Jimmy Fusco and freshman Harrison Bayrami took their matches, Fusco and Bayrami bringing in team-low 45s.
Coach Sean Crowley reported afterwards, “It was a nice win. The young golfers came through for the team. The finishing holes were very difficult and the pressure was on.”Â The boys are now 1-3 overall.
In last Thursday’s loss to Center Moriches at the Pine Hill Country Club, sophomore Jake Weingartner recorded a team-low round of 48.