Tag Archive | "Lady Whalers"

Championship Wins Set Lady Whaler Eyes on Syracuse

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by Jacob Sisson

The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers field hockey team reached heights not seen since 2005 when they beat Friends Academy 2-0 to win the Long Island Class C Championship on Sunday. Leading the way for the Lady Whalers in the tournament final was freshman Katherine Matthers, who scored both of Pierson’s goals to end Friends Academy’s season.

The road to the Long Island Championships stated on Tuesday in Ward Melville, as the Lady Whalers came up against Southampton in the Suffolk County Class C Championship. Pierson/Bridgehampton, the Class C Tournament number one seed, had outscored Southampton, the number two seed, 8-1 in their two prior meetings. In mid-October, the Lady Whalers had dispatched Southampton 4-1 while their first meeting had ended in a 4-0 Pierson win.

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Pierson/Bridgehampton got their playoffs off on the wrong foot as Southampton’s Tara Watson managed to slip one past the Lady Whalers goalkeeper, Catherin Musnicki. Musnicki, however, would see very little of the ball as the game progressed and would only have to make five total saves.

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Despite hitting the halftime interval down 1-0 to a team they hadn’t lost to in 2010, the Lady Whalers did not panic, and set about righting the ship. An inspired Pierson/Bridgehampton team took the field for the second half, and thoroughly outplayed Southampton. Goals from Sarah Barrett and Alexa Lantiere put Pierson/Bridgehampton up 2-1, a score by which the team would hold on to to win the County Title. Despite the narrow scoreline, the Lady Whalers forced their opposing net minder into 17 saves, showing an offensive dominance that was not readily apparent on the scoreboard.

After their triumph in the Class C County Championship, Pierson/Bridgehampton drew Division Three rivals Shoreham-Wading River in the Suffolk County Small Schools Championship. There was no elimination on the line, as each team could look ahead to their respective Long Island Championships.

The Lady Whalers had dropped two games against Shoreham-Wading River, the champions of Suffolk County’s Class B and the runners up in Division Three’s regular season. The first was a 6-2 loss in late September while the Lady Whalers dropped a 2-0 decision in mid-October.

The hero of the day was goalie Catherin Musnicki, who kept Pierson/Bridgehampton into the game despite being outshot 23-6. In the end, the Lady Whalers dropped another 2-0 game to Shoreham-Wading River thanks to a goal each in the first and second halves.

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The Lady Whalers needed to find some momentum against Friends Academy, who finished their season second in Nassau County’s Conference Two with an overall record of 13-4-1. Friends Academy had been Carle Place 2-0 to reach the Long Island Championship.

Pierson/Bridgehampton’s offensive inspiration came from a most unlikely place, as freshman Katherine Matthers, who had never before scored a varsity goal, slotted home two second half goals, off of assists from Lindsay Warne and Alexa Lantiere, to lead the team to a 2-0 victory and their first Long Island Championship since 2005.

The victory was a polar opposite from the offensive showing that the Lady Whalers put in against Southampton, as Friends Academy’s goalie was only forced to make three saves on the five shots Pierson/Bridgehampton put in net. On the other end, Catherin Musnicki shut out Friends Academy by making seven saves. Much of the credit goes to the teams’ defense, and especially that of Pierson/Bridgehampton, who were able to shut down a powerful Friends Academy offensive and give their star goal keeper little to worry about.

Thanks to her impressive two-goal performance, Matthers was named to the Long Island Tournament all-tournament team. Joining her on the prestigious list was Alexa Lantiere, who has spent her season providing key assists and acting as the metronome for her team.

The Lady Whalers now travel to Cicero, New York on Friday for the New York State Class C Semifinal where they face Barker High School from Barker, New York.

Ladies Take It One Game at a Time

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By Jesse Rosenthal

Coach Melissa Edwards and the Pierson Varsity Softball club improved to 6-1 on the season Friday as they handed Hampton Bays a 3-2 loss on their own diamond. You can’t win them all though, as the Lady Whalers found Tuesday night in Bayport-Blue Point where they acquired only their second loss of the season in a close 2-1 pitching duel.

Melanie Stafford has been dominant on the mound. With 65 strike outs already this season, she allowed only four hits, striking out another four in Friday’s game in Hampton Bays. “Melanie is doing a great job,” said Coach Edwards. “She is finally coming into her own.”

Although it was not a high scoring game, bats were hot when they needed to be and the Lady Whalers came up big in clutch situations. Doing her job in the cleanup position, Kaci Kohne hit a big triple in the top of the third scoring Natalie Abbene from second base to give Pierson their first run of the game.

In the top of the fifth, big bats, smart base running and some small favors from the Hampton Bays infield would give Pierson the lead. After Abbene singled, advanced to second on an error and then stole third, Kasey Gilbride hit a triple to score Abbene and tie the game at two.

With Gilbride on third, Melanie Stafford walked. Stafford advanced to second on a throwing error and Gilbride stole home, scoring the go-ahead run and ultimately giving the Lady Whalers their sixth win.

Coach Edwards was pleased with the turnout. “It was an overall great game,” she said. “My kids were intense each pitch and each at bat. It’s always nice to play Hampton Bays and it’s even sweeter to walk away with the win.”


The Bayport game went the other way unfortunately. Stafford pitched well, allowing only 2 runs, but Bayport 8th grader Lauren Peterson was dialed in. She went

4-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and the game winning RBI.

With some solid divisional competition coming their way the next few weeks, Coach Edwards and her Lady Whalers are remaining positive, even in the face of Tuesday night’s tough loss.

“We have a pretty decent schedule coming up but if we continue to do what we have been doing, taking it one game at a time, one at bat at a time, one play at a time, we have the ability to beat any team,” said Edwards. “We have the ability to beat any team. These girls finally realize that. Now it’s nice to just sit back and watch them play.”

Look for good competition in Elwood/John Glenn at Pierson this Friday at 5 p.m in Mashashimuet Park, followed by another home game against local rivals Southampton next Tuesday and a trip to Babylon the following day.

Lady Whalers Are on Fire

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By Jesse Rosenthal

The Lady Whalers are on fire. Following a 13-0 home field domination of Center Moriches on Tuesday, Coach Melissa Edwards and her able squad delivered a 10-8 loss to visiting Mount Sinai on Wednesday.

Melanie Stafford pitched a one-hit, no-walk shutout gem against Center Moriches. Her teammates didn’t skimp on the run support. Kaci Koehne went 4-4 in the cleanup position, Natalie Abbene hit 3-4, and Casey Gilbride was a homerun away from the cycle with a double, a triple and two RBIs.

In Wednesday’s game, lively bats, heads-up defense and solid pitching from Stafford in pressure situations gave the Lady Whalers the edge.

Two quick runs scored in the bottom of the first to give Pierson an early lead, and an early display of defensive prowess set the tone for what was to follow. Following a single to shallow center field and a well-laid bunt to advance the runner for Mount Sinai, CF Natalie Abbene made an outstanding sliding stop on a short fly ball to hold the runners at first and second. Heads up defense from Casey Gilbride at third gave Pierson their third out of the inning.

Following a quick three-up, three-down bottom of the second due to solid pitching from Mount Sinai’s Holly Drasser, the Mustangs were able to put some runs on the board in the top of the third. With one down on strikes, Stafford walked one and gave up a double to deep center field over the head of Natalie Abbene. Abbene played the ball well, however, holding the runners at second and third. With both runners in scoring position, Mount Sinai was able to take their first and only lead of the game on one stolen base and two singles to left field.

The bottom of the third marked the turning point, as Mount Sinai watched their last lead of the game crumble beneath the weight of strong bats from Pierson. A walk and an error at second base found two on for cleanup hitter Kaci Koehne who capitalized, hitting a long fly ball over the head of Mount Sinai’s centerfielder, and sliding into third for 2 RBI triple. An error at third, a hard hit line drive off the glove of the pitcher from Catherine Musnicki and a double to center field off the bat of Nina Hemby were enough to score two more making it 6-3.

After a line drive to center field and stolen base from Mount Sinai’s Kelsey Lubin, a hard hit ground ball up the middle made it 6-4.

In the bottom of the fourth, after a well-laid bunt, Natalie Abbene was able to score on a ground ball through the gap from Casey Gilbride.

The top of five saw one run score for Mount Sinai, but not for lack of the smart defense and solid hustle of the Lady Whalers. With runners on second and third, a single to center field found both runners charging home. One run scored but a hard throw from Natalie Abbene, followed by a quick cutoff from Koehne at shortstop and a perfect tag by Musnicki behind the plate got the second runner cold. With two out, Lindsey Warne made one of her two standout defensive plays of the day, running down an almost out of reach infield blooper to end the inning and preserve a 7-5 lead.

One run scored in the top of the sixth by the Mustangs cut the Lady Whalers lead to 7-6. The bottom half of the inning saw three runs scored for Pierson on two singles, and error and a wild pitch. The game was not a runaway, but solid defense and good clutch pitching led to a win for Pierson.

Two Mustang runs in the top of the seventh on two singles and a double turned up the heat for Stafford on the mound. With both runners in scoring position, Stafford was able to strike one batter out and retire the last on a ground ball back to the mound, leaving the Mustangs with two on base and giving the Lady Whaler’s their fourth win in five games.

Coach Melissa Edwards is pleased. “We are doing well all around,” she said. “The bats are finally coming to life and we are playing as a team, completely.”

Next up are two games away. The first at Hampton Bays on Friday, April 16, followed by a visit to Bayport-Blue Pt on Wednesday, April 21.



Ladies Find Strength in Batters and Battery

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By Jesse Rosenthal

Returning for her second season as Pierson’s varsity softball coach, Melissa Edwards has high hopes for her Lady Whalers. With a variety of weapons at her disposal both on the field and in the batter’s box and a coaching philosophy rooted in hard work, fundamentals and unity, optimism may end up becoming more of an afterthought than a necessity.

The 2009 Lady Whalers ended their season with a 1-2 series defeat at the hands of longtime conference rivals Port Jefferson in the championship series. Now, the Lady Whalers enter into the 2010 season after graduating eight players total, many of who played vital roles last season; but Edwards remains unfazed.

“Last season is last season, this is a new team with new goals,” she said. “We did lose some key players, but I do believe we are just as strong if not stronger this season.”

If strength and depth are what this team needs to compete in 2010, then it looks as though they are poised for success. They have great bats in Kaci Koehne, Melanie Stafford, Sami James and Lindsey Warne. Natalie Abbene will lead the outfield while Kaci Koehne holds down the infield.

“We should be a threat in all aspects,” said Edwards.

All in all, the Lady Whalers have six returning players (two seniors and four juniors) four juniors new to varsity and six underclassmen. While they are a relatively young team, they have a strong core of leadership, hustle and talent.

Expect big things from Kaci Koehne, Melanie Stafford and Lindsey Warne. Koehne is a threat on both sides of the ball. She has a great bat and a quick glove at shortstop and according to Edwards “is by far the heart and leader of this team.”

Melanie Stafford will the be the Lady Whalers’ ace in the circle this spring. She will carry a majority of the weight, seeing most of the starts. She will be assisted most often by Lindsey Warne who “is really stepping up for the better of the team this season,” according to Edwards. Sami James and 8th grader Annie Osiecki will also see some time on the mound.

With the taste of last year’s defeat washed away by the start of this season, Coach Edwards and the Lady Whalers are looking to stay in the moment.

“We’re not putting any extra emphasis on any one game or a championship,” she said. “We want to go out there every game and give it our all, every defensive play, every at bat and time on the base paths. If we can do this daily, the bigger success will come naturally.”

Although the cards up Edwards’ sleeve are many, and her outlook is positive, she notes that there is always room for improvement.

“We are looking at this season as a progression,” she said. “Each day we want to be better than the day before. If we do that, then big things will happen for us.”

They are taking it day by day, but the goal for this season is clear. Championship.

“We understand that its going to take hard work and communication and we feel that by doing this day in and day out we will get to the championship game and we will be ready.”

Look for tough divisional competition from Port Jefferson (as always) and for possible nailbiters against Hampton Bays.

The Lady Whalers play their third scrimmage this afternoon at home in Mashashimuet Park against East Hampton at 3:30 p.m. The season opener is away at Southold on March, 26 at 4:00 p.m.








Lady Whalers Look to Get Back on Track Against Ross

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By Benito Vila

Going in needing one more win to clinch a playoff spot, the Lady Whalers went into last Friday’s game against Southold looking for a measure of revenge, the Lady Settlers sending them home with a 20-point loss in December.

But a near empty Pierson gym made moot the little emotional lift the Lady Whalers may have needed, the Lady Settlers heading home with a 44-31 win. The difference in Friday’s game was the 25-10 lead the visitors held after the first half, strong outside shooting and second-chance shots sparking an 8-3 start for Southold and then an 11-2 second quarter run.

The Pierson girls kept the game even in the second half, guards Sarah Barrett and Amanda Busiello finishing fast break chances in the third and forward Sami James firing in four jumpers in the fourth. The team’s play on the perimeter improved as the half played out, defenders Busiello, Emily Hinz and Catherine O’Brien challenging the outside shot and rebounders Kaci Koehne, Bridget Canavan and Annie Osiecki denying the extra chances.

Mid-term exams across the county are curtailing games and practices this coming week. The Pierson girls, now 5-3 in League VIII, play again, going to Ross to meet the 0-7 Lady Ravens.

The Lady Ravens were just six-deep when the Lady Whalers outran them, 52-31, after the New Year’s holiday. The Lady Ravens also lost this past Friday, falling 55-12 to Shelter Island at home, the Lady Indians taking charge with an 18-2 first half.

Lyndsey Fridie and Cholena Smith led Ross in scoring against Shelter Island, each scoring four, and James, eleven points, and Barrett, ten, topped Pierson against Southold.

Lady Whalers: Defense Sparks Speedy Recovery

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By Benito Vila

The numbers seemed stacked in Pierson’s favor from the start Tuesday, the Lady Whalers hosting the Ross Lady Ravens in a League VIII girls’ basketball match-up. The home team had ten players available while the visitors came in with just six.

That advantage meant little at the outset, Ross running up a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Pierson’s depth and speed played a part in the second quarter, though, the Lady Whalers outscoring their counterparts 15-1 and taking a 24-13 halftime lead.

Lady Whaler coach Dennis Case described his team having a “poor start playing man-to-man. Our shooting was way off the mark, too. We were down 12-5 and switched to a 1-2-2 zone, then gave up only five points in the next two-and-a-half quarters.”

By the time the fourth quarter started, Pierson held a 42-17 lead, Coach Case able to turn to his bench to finish the game. Ross coach Garrett Cutler, meanwhile, had little in reserve, acknowledging, “We always start strong, but we get tired. Once our stamina goes, it’s harder to stay close.”

Still, Coach Cutler likes the talent he has on the squad. “It’s been the same players for the last three years. I’ve had them at the JV level and we’ve done well there. This is Ross’ first varsity team since 2005 and it’s an experience that we’re all having fun with.”

Lady Raven junior, Kayla Jerido, led all scorers Tuesday with 22 points. Lady Whaler Sarah Barrett was right behind with 21 points, matching a career high. Samantha James tossed in 12 for Pierson, with Amanda Busiello adding seven and Kaci Koehne six. Emily Hinz, four points, and Sariah Cafiero, two points, closed out the Lady Whalers’ scoring.

Also scoring for Ross were Lindsey Fridie and Autumn Williams, who had seven points and two points, respectively.


Monarchs, Bears and Royals


The Lady Whalers are now 2-1 in league play and have perennial powers Mercy and Stony Brook up next. The girls go to Mercy Friday for a 6:45 start and are home Monday for a 6:15 tip-off.

Looking ahead, Coach Case said, “Mercy will be tough but is definitely in our sights. Consistency and focus are needed for our team to get better.”

The 0-3 Lady Ravens also have a hard road ahead, Stony Brook coming in this afternoon for a 4:30 p.m. start. The Ross girls go to Port Jefferson on Monday and likely won’t be home until almost 11 p.m.

JV Ladies Roll


The Lady Whalers also took the JV match-up on Tuesday, Pierson outscoring Ross 38-18.

Lady Whaler coach Kevin Barron attributed his defense as being the difference in the game, saying, “[We] held Ross to 6 points in the first half. We were able to get steals and score many of our points in transition off the fast break.”

Julia Schiavoni led the team with 14 points, Rachel Saidman scoring ten and Kasey Gilbride, eight.

Pierson Field Hockey Done In By Stroke in Double OT

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By Benito Vila

If “all’s well that ends well”, then what are people to do about things that end poorly?

For the Pierson field hockey team, the tears came on as soon as the ball hit the bottom of the box Saturday evening, Port Jefferson taking the Suffolk County Class C title 1-0 in a double-overtime thriller played at Patchogue-Medford High School.

For the 60-some Pierson fans in the stands, there was a dull and hollow feeling. All the effort, emotion, teamwork and tenacious play put in by the Lady Whalers wasting away so quickly after 73 minutes of dead-even competition.

It seemed so cruel somehow, but someone had to win and someone had to lose. Pierson had had its chances, the midfielders and forwards controlling the ball for much of the match and the defense making stop after stop.

But the sudden and somewhat shocking loss didn’t stop the Whaler faithful from cheering. Out of the bleachers came kind words of encouragement in and amongst the applause, the Lady Whalers hearing, “Good job, girls” and “Walk away proud, Pierson.”

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WhalerNation

It seemed such a perfect day Saturday. The temperature, the sky, the light, the breeze, the easy tempo in town; it was without a doubt one of those ten best days of the year Al Roker goes on about.

It was also a great day for field hockey, despite the academic realities SATs, the end of the first grading period and college application deadlines. And the Lady Whalers and their faithful fans were ready to go.

Setting off just after lunch, the team was psyched-up to put away the Lady Royals, Port Jeff having run off with last year’s title with a 1-0 win in overtime and having pulled out of Mashashimuet Park with a 2-0 non-league win earlier this season.

That was all the motivation the Lady Whalers needed. But in case that wasn’t enough, team parents, led by Missie Mahoney, organized a spectator bus, courtesy of the Sag Harbor Fire Department, when the school district was unable to provide one of its own.

Word went out about the bus by every personal communication device imaginable and a packed-in party of primarily sophomores, juniors and seniors pulled away from Pierson at 2:30 p.m., ready to make some noise. By the time that contingent arrived in Patchogue, red warrior face paint adorned much of the rolling WhalerNation.

Finding the ladies practicing, the Pierson fans watched from a distance, spirits light and hopeful among those wearing red and black. When the Class B game ended, Shoreham-Wading River outscoring Miller Place 2-0 for the Class B title, the team and spectators packed up to go in, smiles and “good luck” creating a positive energy.

Once inside, the Pierson side began to make itself heard even before the game started. Words of encouragement were constant as the Lady Whalers prepped on the field and then were introduced.


That cheering was so constant when the game started that a Port Jeff fan scolded his side for sitting quietly, loudly saying, “Why can’t you be more like them?”

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Back and Forth

The Lady Whalers came out ready and kept the ball moving upfield for most of the first half. Five Port Jeff corners and long runs deep into the Pierson side late were turned away by goalie Christy Deery and Jessica Warne, Kasey Gilbride and Sam James in front of her.

Meanwhile, Aly Bori, Abby Gawronski and Alexa Lantiere were leading the Lady Whalers into the Port Jeff side, feeding the ball forward to Nicole Dorego, Sarah Barrett, Lindsay Warne and Sariah Cafiero.

The best Pierson scoring opportunities came with seven minutes and three minutes remaining in the half, but a missed crossing pass thwarted the first bid and a hesitation on a one-on-one break saw the second one go for naught.

After the half, the Lady Whalers immediately took the ball upfield, a shot coming out of a scramble in front of the Port Jeff box. The ball seemed to go past the goalie a point being indicated by one of the officials. After some discussion with the other official, the goal was waved off, Pierson being awarded a penalty stroke.

Stepping up to shoot from seven yards out, Lindsay Warne had all the Whaler faithful up and cheering. Her shot, though, went wide, Port Jeff regaining possession and taking the ball deep into the Pierson side.

That Lady Royal run was cut off by Jessica Warne, who sent the ball back into the midfield only to see it come back as Port Jeff cut off the Lady Whaler counter. In that possession, the Port Jeff attack moved the ball into the box and beat Deery but Cafiero came in to cut off the shot and keep the contest scoreless.

That play sent up a huge roar from the Pierson fans and sparked a series of deep drives into the Port Jeff side, Lantiere and Cafiero coming close to breaking the tie more than once. With both sides working furiously as the clock wound down, the match finished regulation scoreless, overtime and “sudden death” or “sudden victory” assuredly coming to one side or the other.


7-on-7

Overtime in field hockey calls for each team to take off four players, leaving the match to be resolved in a seven-on-seven contest. In the first 10-minute period, the ball stayed mostly at mid-field, the two teams playing to a draw despite an occasional foray downfield.


The second overtime continued much the same way, before a Port Jeff charge into the Pierson circle with seven minutes remaining ended with the ball becoming lodged under Deery’s gear. That trapping of the ball is illegal, the officials stopping the match and awarding the Lady Royals a penalty stroke.

Stepping in for Port Jeff was Amber Bruckner, a tall forward who took a moment to stretch yoga-like while Deery set herself to defend the Pierson goal. On the official’s whistle, Bruckner rocketed a shot to Deery’s left that made the hard sound no one in the WhalerNation wanted to hear.

The seven Lady Whalers on the field took it hard, gathering and consoling each other as the Lady Royals ran in to congratulate Bruckner.


Post-game Moments

Lady Whaler coach Shannon Judge brought her team together on the field while the other side was taking pictures. Even in defeat, Coach Judge managed to find a way to make her girls laugh and stay together, though it was clear the outcome had broken hearts and brought on bleary eyes.

In describing what hurt the most, Bori, a senior captain said, “Losing to a team that way, twice, and realizing that this is the last time I will wear the Lady Whaler uniform.”

Knowing she and her teammates had outplayed their opposition didn’t help either in accepting the outcome. “We should have had that goal, not a stroke. It was a terrible call. I was right on the ball.”

Still, in talking about and praising her teammate and classmate Deery, Bori added, “It’s hard to be in that situation one-on-one. It’s a bad place. She played such an amazing game but there was no way she could have blocked that shot. To me, she’s still our MVP.”

Please pick-up the Express on Thursday to read Coach Judge’s comments on the game and the season.

Hard Times on Volleyball Court for Lady Whalers

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By Benito Vila

It’s never easy to play the top of the league back-to-back, but that’s what the Pierson volleyball Lady Whalers were up against this week. Despite some solid play, the girls found themselves playing from behind in both matches and saw their league mark drop to 2-4.

Fortune was not kind to the team Friday, undefeated Shelter Island prevailing in the Pierson gym 3-0 in a Homecoming game. That match saw the Lady Indians take game one 25-11 and game two 25-12.

In game three, the Lady Whalers took an early 7-5 lead, battled to keep the score close before Shelter Island pulled away at 20-18 on their way to a 25-19 win.

Afterwards, Pierson coach Stacey Springer praised her team’s determination not to give in. “We’re learning what it takes to be more mentally tough. Playing a team like that, my girls can see what it means to stay in the game and fight and move for every point.”

Coach Springer noted a number of “club” or travel team players on the Lady Indian squad, knowing she only has one, Samara Finkenauer, on her team. “Getting more girls to play more is a big part of what we’re trying to do with our program. It pays off when players absolutely know who’s where and who can do what on the court. That kind of communication is key to winning.”


A Late Start


At Center Moriches Monday, the Lady Whalers took the court an atypical start time, coming on after the JV. The late start worked against the team, the Lady Devils taking games one and two, 25-15 and 25-13.

 “We were out of sync for whatever reason. It took a while for us to get into the match and we were having trouble communicating,” said Coach Springer. “Before game three, I assigned defensive positions and kept calling them out before every serve.”

That adjustment seemed to help, Pierson taking that game 25-19. The fourth game was closely played but the Lady Devils prevailed 28-26.

 “We had a couple of calls go the other way late or else we might have forced a game five, recounted Coach Springer. “In all, it was much better than game one and two. And it showed the girls some of the adjustments we can make.”

 “By the fourth game we had a lot more communication. Dominique Clark, our libero, took charge of the defense. Katelyn [Grdski] and Tanasha [Clark] helped Xylia [Serafy] in setting and Samara and Katelyn came through with good hits when we needed them.”


What’s Ahead


Ross comes into the Pierson gym Friday at 4:30 p.m., for what Coach Springer expects to be close match. On Wednesday, the girls go to Port Jefferson looking to avenge a 3-1 loss last month. Next Saturday, the team will be on the road early to play Mercy at 11:45 a.m.

This week, the Lady Whalers are also finalizing plans for a “Dig Pink” fundraiser to be held at Pierson as part of their match with Greenport on October 19. Dig Pink is a national volleyball-based breast cancer awareness program the girls first participated in at Greenport last year, the two programs agreeing to pool their efforts again this year. 

Hard Times on Volleyball Court for Lady Whalers

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By Benito Vila

It’s never easy to play the top of the league back-to-back, but that’s what the Pierson volleyball Lady Whalers were up against this week. Despite some solid play, the girls found themselves playing from behind in both matches and saw their league mark drop to 2-4.

Fortune was not kind to the team Friday, undefeated Shelter Island prevailing in the Pierson gym 3-0 in a Homecoming game. That match saw the Lady Indians take game one 25-11 and game two 25-12.

In game three, the Lady Whalers took an early 7-5 lead, battled to keep the score close before Shelter Island pulled away at 20-18 on their way to a 25-19 win.

Afterwards, Pierson coach Stacey Springer praised her team’s determination not to give in. “We’re learning what it takes to be more mentally tough. Playing a team like that, my girls can see what it means to stay in the game and fight and move for every point.”

Coach Springer noted a number of “club” or travel team players on the Lady Indian squad, knowing she only has one, Samara Finkenauer, on her team. “Getting more girls to play more is a big part of what we’re trying to do with our program. It pays off when players absolutely know who’s where and who can do what on the court. That kind of communication is key to winning.”


A Late Start


At Center Moriches Monday, the Lady Whalers took the court an atypical start time, coming on after the JV. The late start worked against the team, the Lady Devils taking games one and two, 25-15 and 25-13.

 “We were out of sync for whatever reason. It took a while for us to get into the match and we were having trouble communicating,” said Coach Springer. “Before game three, I assigned defensive positions and kept calling them out before every serve.”

That adjustment seemed to help, Pierson taking that game 25-19. The fourth game was closely played but the Lady Devils prevailed 28-26.

 “We had a couple of calls go the other way late or else we might have forced a game five, recounted Coach Springer. “In all, it was much better than game one and two. And it showed the girls some of the adjustments we can make.”

 “By the fourth game we had a lot more communication. Dominique Clark, our libero, took charge of the defense. Katelyn [Grdski] and Tanasha [Clark] helped Xylia [Serafy] in setting and Samara and Katelyn came through with good hits when we needed them.”


What’s Ahead


Ross comes into the Pierson gym Friday at 4:30 p.m., for what Coach Springer expects to be close match. On Wednesday, the girls go to Port Jefferson looking to avenge a 3-1 loss last month. Next Saturday, the team will be on the road early to play Mercy at 11:45 a.m.

This week, the Lady Whalers are also finalizing plans for a “Dig Pink” fundraiser to be held at Pierson as part of their match with Greenport on October 19. Dig Pink is a national volleyball-based breast cancer awareness program the girls first participated in at Greenport last year, the two programs agreeing to pool their efforts again this year. 

Hard Times on Volleyball Court for Lady Whalers

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By Benito Vila

It’s never easy to play the top of the league back-to-back, but that’s what the Pierson volleyball Lady Whalers were up against this week. Despite some solid play, the girls found themselves playing from behind in both matches and saw their league mark drop to 2-4.

Fortune was not kind to the team Friday, undefeated Shelter Island prevailing in the Pierson gym 3-0 in a Homecoming game. That match saw the Lady Indians take game one 25-11 and game two 25-12.

In game three, the Lady Whalers took an early 7-5 lead, battled to keep the score close before Shelter Island pulled away at 20-18 on their way to a 25-19 win.

Afterwards, Pierson coach Stacey Springer praised her team’s determination not to give in. “We’re learning what it takes to be more mentally tough. Playing a team like that, my girls can see what it means to stay in the game and fight and move for every point.”

Coach Springer noted a number of “club” or travel team players on the Lady Indian squad, knowing she only has one, Samara Finkenauer, on her team. “Getting more girls to play more is a big part of what we’re trying to do with our program. It pays off when players absolutely know who’s where and who can do what on the court. That kind of communication is key to winning.”


A Late Start


At Center Moriches Monday, the Lady Whalers took the court an atypical start time, coming on after the JV. The late start worked against the team, the Lady Devils taking games one and two, 25-15 and 25-13.

 “We were out of sync for whatever reason. It took a while for us to get into the match and we were having trouble communicating,” said Coach Springer. “Before game three, I assigned defensive positions and kept calling them out before every serve.”

That adjustment seemed to help, Pierson taking that game 25-19. The fourth game was closely played but the Lady Devils prevailed 28-26.

 “We had a couple of calls go the other way late or else we might have forced a game five, recounted Coach Springer. “In all, it was much better than game one and two. And it showed the girls some of the adjustments we can make.”

 “By the fourth game we had a lot more communication. Dominique Clark, our libero, took charge of the defense. Katelyn [Grdski] and Tanasha [Clark] helped Xylia [Serafy] in setting and Samara and Katelyn came through with good hits when we needed them.”


What’s Ahead


Ross comes into the Pierson gym Friday at 4:30 p.m., for what Coach Springer expects to be close match. On Wednesday, the girls go to Port Jefferson looking to avenge a 3-1 loss last month. Next Saturday, the team will be on the road early to play Mercy at 11:45 a.m.

This week, the Lady Whalers are also finalizing plans for a “Dig Pink” fundraiser to be held at Pierson as part of their match with Greenport on October 19. Dig Pink is a national volleyball-based breast cancer awareness program the girls first participated in at Greenport last year, the two programs agreeing to pool their efforts again this year.