Tag Archive | "Pierson Whalers"

Bees Sting Ravens, Bears Rip Whalers

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By Benito Vila

Won-loss records are often more an indication of the competition than they are the team.

After an 0-2 start, that came against league-leading Southold and Greenport, the Bridgehampton Killer Bees are on a 4-0 run, topping Smithtown Christian and Pierson last week and Shelter Island and Ross this week.

Ross, meanwhile, opened an impressive 3-0, outscoring Smithtown Christian, Shelter Island and Pierson, who are a collective 1-14. Since then they have faced undefeated Stony Brook and the swarming Killer Bees to fall 3-2.

Bridgehampton’s team play proved to be the difference in the Killer Bees’ 83-47 win over Ross Monday. Ainsley Wyche and Nate Hochstedler put pressure on the Raven ball handlers, creating turnovers and extra possessions. Meanwhile, forwards Canaan Campbell, Evan Marzan and Cesar Banados used their size to cut off the passing lanes and control the boards.

Campbell and Banados showed a fine shooting touch from the outside, the big men making six three-pointers and opening up the lane to Wyche, who has the speed to get to the basket. All that solid shooting and impressive quickness helped the Killer Bees build a 14-8 lead in the first frame and a 39-19 margin at the half.

The third quarter scoring was even until the three-minute mark when the Bees went on a 15-4 run to make the score 66-34 and put the game away. Bridgehampton continued to pull away in the fourth quarter after both coaches cleared their benches, a 17-3 spurt closing out the scoring.

Leading all scorers in the game was Wyche, who finished with 28. Banados dropped in 23 and Campbell 18. Hochstedler had nine. Liam Chaskey led the Ravens with 13, Brendan Pettaway adding eight and Lorcan Jowens netting six.

Coaches’ Corner

Killer Bees coach Carl Johnson said afterwards, “Our defense was pretty stellar. We did a great job the better part of the game. We came out aggressive and I hope we do that the rest of the year.”

“We changed up defenses on them and gave them different looks and that helped disrupt their rhythm. On offense, we saw their zone, stayed outside and hit our shots. They started to come out and that opened things up. We passed the ball well and then got some easy buckets underneath.”

Raven coach Kelly McKee praised the Bees, noting, “They executed and played the way we want to. We had trouble with their defenses and didn’t match up well.”

Tomorrow’s games

It was the second one-sided loss for Ross in four days, Stony Brook storming to a 78-16 win there last Thursday. Coach McKee summarized that loss simply, saying, “We played terrible. We didn’t seem ready to play; we’re young, we’re learning and now we have better sense of how we want to play.”

Ross closes out its first go-round through the league tomorrow hosting Greenport at 6:15 p.m. Bridgehampton, meanwhile, heads to Pierson for a game that occasionally pits one-time teammates against each other, the two schools playing together in football, soccer and baseball.

The match-up at Pierson is typically for more than local bragging rights, playoff eligibility often at stake for both teams. This year though, the Killer Bees are looking to stay safely among the league leaders while the Whalers are looking to distance themselves from a winless start that’s left them out of contention.

Whaler Basketball: It Ain’t Been Pretty

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By Benito Vila

Sometimes it just seems like there’s nothing you can do. Balls bounce the other way, calls go there, too, and the next thing you know, you’re down again.

That’s how losing streaks work, the worst part not coming in preparing or in packing up but in that sinking feeling that comes when the game first starts to get away. It feels unfair and unreal, as if the other team is playing by other rules.

What it comes down to most often is that the other team is getting extra chances, chances that come from your own mistakes and lapses. It makes you practice harder and want to get better faster.

That’s what the Pierson varsity boys’ basketball team has been through of late, struggling through a pair of one-sided losses this week and seeing its League VIII mark fall to 0-5 and its overall record go to 0-9.

The totals have been tough to take on paper, Greenport leaving Pierson with a 60-27 win Friday and the Whalers coming home from Stony Brook with a 68-42 loss Wednesday.

The Whalers hosted the similarly winless Smithtown Christian Crusaders last night looking to change their fortunes. The suddenly resurgent Bridgehampton Bees are on their schedule for tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., with Shelter Island due in Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.

Inside the Numbers

While the most recent outcomes have been one-sided, the Whalers have shown their grit in hustling to the final buzzer and winning both fourth quarters.

Many have wondered what has kept the Whalers from their first win. There is remarkable hustle and the athleticism on the team, but all that has not been enough to overcome ineffective ball handling and inconsistent outside shooting. Pierson’s push for points has often been cut short by turnovers of one sort or another and single-shot possessions.

The Whalers have also found themselves having poor third quarters their last two times out, the Porters pounding them 14-3 and the Bears 16-2. Those point totals have turned halftime holes into big-time blowouts, Pierson down 30 going into the final frames.

Emerging from all the effort is an improving rapport between the Whalers getting the most minutes, a seven-man rotation led by guard Tyler Gilbride and forward Skyler Loesch. Those two have seen the most touches on the ball, with Luke Kirrane, Seamus Doyle and Sean Hartnett improving underneath and Nolan O’Brien and Dylan Hmielenski often joining Gilbride up top.

Coach John Tortorella, who coached the varsity boys at home last Friday in the wake of Coach Christian Johns’ suspension, said afterwards, “You can’t question their effort; they fight; they put in the work. Things are going to turn around for them.”

The Milk Man Delivers

Coach Tortorella has led the Whaler JV to a 4-1 league mark, the sole loss coming last Friday as the Greenport JV turned a 16-5 second-quarter run into the difference in the game, the final score 46-35 at the buzzer.

The Porters took a 36-20 lead in the third before the Whalers re-grouped, coming within ten twice, but not able to come any closer as the size, speed and shooting of the visitors left them humbled at home.

The outcome was a bit different on Monday, Coach Tortorella’s team making an improbable comeback in the last minute to overtake the Stony Brook JV, 31-30.

The game started off with the Bears building a 10-2 lead in the first quarter. With three minutes left in the fourth, the Whalers were still down five but that was not enough to keep them from giving in, the team stepping up to make big plays.

As Coach Tortorella explained it, “Our half-court defense was great, maybe the best we have played yet. We were bumping cutters off their line, we were disciplined in our help positioning and we really did a good job of denying the post. On top of that, we drew three or four charges tonight. It was a tremendous effort.”

Looking at the key moments in the comeback, Coach Tortorella said, “Raleigh Gordley’s basket with less than two minutes left was huge; it gave us a chance. Without that bucket, the game was over.”

 “With 10 seconds left and no timeouts, we had the ball down two points. The boys were patient and did not rush anything. Jackson Marienfeld did a great job of staying poised and not forcing a shot. He got it to Liam Doyle who took one dribble to the corner and pulled up to bury a three at the buzzer for the win.”

That set the boys into a celebration that even the coach enjoyed, noting, “No matter how you play and what you need to work on, it’s great for the team to experience a game like this. The emotion and energy was great and we fought hard until the end.”

The thrill of the win carried over to the varsity players, who were able to set aside their difficulties and high-five and carry on with the JV. The bus ride home heard the last shot described over and over, with the nickname “Milk Man” becoming Doyle’s new moniker.

The JV plays next on Tuesday, hosting Shelter Island at 4:30 p.m. before going to Southold on Friday.

Pierson Girls’ Basketball: It Comes Together

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By Benito Vila

There’s a certain awkwardness all creatures encounter in taking their first steps. So it is with sports teams at times, the scoreboard, crowd, referees and uniforms making something practiced seem unfamiliar.

Luckily for the Pierson Lady Whalers on Monday, that sort of nervousness overcame their East Hampton counterparts as well as each team scrimmaged for the first time. While the two teams combined for just 11 points in the first quarter, Pierson putting in nine, the pace picked up later, the Lady Whalers running up 21 points on their own in the third quarter.

Pierson coach Dennis Case was unfazed by the slow start, saying, “This time of year the kids are somewhat mechanical. They’re determined to go through the offense without looking at all their options. They look to pass instead of going to the basket. It’s what they’ve been working on in practice. Once we start playing, there’ll be a big difference.”

Some of that “difference” was evident to Coach Case in the third quarter. “We were much more confident than the way we came out. We were no longer forcing things and we had some excellent passing.”

Sparking the Lady Whaler attack were guards Sariah Cafiero and Amanda Busiello, who had Kaci Koehne, Sam James, Annie Osiecki and Bridget Canavan helping them out underneath. Sarah Barrett and Emily Hinz also saw time at the top of the key in the period, giving Coach Case a solid eight-deep rotation to work with.

The Lady Whalers also have Sam Kamper, Meggy Freund and Brittney Scala coming off the bench, with Catherine O’Brien still on the mend from a prolonged flu.

Evaluating his team and the league, Coach Case said, “We have no superstars, but we’re solid all the way around. We can run with anybody; still it’s going to be very competitive in our league. Stony Brook’s going to be the team to beat, but it depends on if the whole team does well if we’re going to win on any given day.”

On Friday, the girls make their home court debut, hosting non-league Southampton at 5:45 p.m. The team heads to Mattituck Monday and Rocky Point Thursday for two more non-league contests before opening up league play against Shelter Island December 15. That match-up is set to start at 5:45 p.m. at Pierson.

In describing the keys to his team’s season Coach Case surmised, “If we work on rebounding and are patient and consistent on offense, we’ll have an interesting and exciting season.”

JV Deep, Too

The Lady Whaler JV also impressed its coach, Kevin Barron, with its effort Monday in East Hampton. Coach Barron said, “The girls played excellent defense all around. They put tremendous pressure on the ball that created numerous turnovers and fast break points. They had good ball movement, however, they had difficulty putting the ball in the basket.”

“Finishing plays and shooting will be our focus before our upcoming games. I was very pleased with the hustle and excitement from what is really a young team; we have four eighth graders and eight ninth graders.”

May Evjen, Kasey Gilbride, Katherine Matthers and Sol Varela are the middle school four with Jenna Chase, Maricarmen Chavez, Alissa Clermont, Sydnee McKie-Senior, Abigail Ruiz, Rachel Saidman, Julia Schiavoni and Holly Zappola all representing the ninth grade.

The JV tips off at home for the first time on Friday, meeting Southampton at 4 p.m.

Whalers and Bees Set Sights High

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By Benito Vila

The sound is unmistakable, a hustling age-old cadence coming out of the gym. Boys’ basketball is back, balls banging out a heavy bass line, sneakers running up a mid-court melody, squeaking at every stop and turn.

The year’s Whalers come in twelve strong, Steve Early, Luke Kirrane and Jeff Schimmer representing the seniors and Seamus Doyle, Skyler Loesch, Dylan Hmielenski, Jake Weingartner, Brook Hartnett and Tyler Gilbride, the juniors. Sophomores Nolan O’Brien and Sean Hartnett have their work cut out for them in finding time in the rotation.

Even though a shoulder injury to Early provided a setback last week, coach Christian Johns likes what he’s seen of the varsity in its first conditioning go-round. Already looking ahead, Coach Johns acknowledged, “Our most important expectation for the season is to play hard-nosed and smart team basketball on both ends of the floor, and to improve each and every day we walk into practice.”

Last year’s team saw a tremendous amount of turmoil on and off the court but came on late in the season to finish 7-7 and play for the county title. While a loss to Port Jefferson ended the careers of guards Casey Crowley and Ryan Miller, it provided Kirrane, Doyle Loesch, Hmielenski, Weingartner and Gilbride a sense of play at another level.

It has been 15 years since a Pierson boys’ team has taken a county hoops title, the banner in the gym watching every move these boys make, hoping that streak comes to an end. While League VIII has seen Ryan Creighton graduate, Greenport remains strong as does Stony Brook, Southold and Mercy.

With Bridgehampton, Shelter Island and Ross on the schedule, the Whalers will have plenty to play for locally, with a trip to Smithtown Christian being no picnic in any sport.

Whaler Games

A scrimmage in Center Moriches on Monday opens the pre-season, with tournament games in Islip Wednesday and Friday providing an even tougher proving ground. A non-league contest in East Hampton December 8 is the final tune-up before the league opener on Shelter Island December 15.

The Whalers home debut is set for December 18, Southold coming in for a 6:15 p.m. start.

Bridgehampton Killer Bees

The black and gold banners in Bridgehampton are hopeful, too, the Class D title making its way elsewhere the last nine years after a dominating run dating back to the late 1970’s

Bridgehampton coach Carl Johnson is happy with what his team has brought into the Hive, the school’s one-of-a-kind gym. “We have some length, four guys are 6’-3” or taller. We’re also athletic, so defense and rebounding should be our strong suits.”

Another plus for Coach Johnson is the experience on his team, all his starters returning, led by top scorers Ainsley Wyche and Cesar Banados. Jamal Hines, Nathan Hochstedler and Evan Marzan have all returned in top form, with the team seeing a major improvement from sophomore Canaan Campbell, who Coach Johnson described as “our X factor.”

Coming off the bench will be Spencer Cannon and Brandon Jenkins, two over six-foot, two-hundred-pounds-plus forwards that will provide some size underneath. The team’s most vocal leader has once again proven to be Brendan Hemby who Coach Johnson claims “brings a special element to everything we do.”

Looking at the league, Coach Johnson predicts a competitive and intense level of play. “There’s not going to be a day off.” Already acknowledging the Killer Bees’ top Class D rival, he added, “We’re getting ready for Greenport [the home opener, December 22]. We have to beat them two out of three,” referencing the county title.

The Killer Bees begin scrimmaging next week and tip-off their season at Southold December 15. A tournament at Southampton the weekend of December 18-19 leads them into their home debut against the Porters.

Ladies On the Court

The Pierson Lady Whalers make their season debut Monday, heading to East Hampton for a 5:15 p.m. scrimmage. Next Friday the girls open play at home, Southampton here for a non-league match-up at 5:45 p.m. Away games at Mattituck December 7 and Rocky Point December 12 close out the preseason.

The Lady Whalers open league play in the Pierson gym December 15, Shelter Island in for a 5:45 p.m. tip-off.

Girls Go First on Basketball Court

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By Benito Vila

The high school winter sports season tipped off yesterday the Lady Whaler and Whaler basketball teams splitting time in the gym. Also available for Pierson student-athletes this time of year are cheerleading, winter track for girls and boys, boys’ bowling, boys’ wrestling and boys’ swimming.

Cheerleading is Pierson’s only high school offering besides basketball; the other sports are “shared”, East Hampton serving as the host school.

Making their way to the season’s first workout yesterday were 22 Lady Whalers, the varsity girls looking to return the county playoffs for the fourth straight year. Last winter’s squad came in second in the league at 5-3, and matched up with undefeated league-leader Stony Brook for the county title but came home emptied handed.

This year the Lady Whalers will be led by juniors Sam James and Sarah Barrett, who come in as the only returning varsity players. Earlier this week, Coach Dennis Case acknowledged his young players “are our future and our present. This will certainly be a rebuilding year or two but I feel we are going in the right direction.”

Coach Case expects Stony Brook to once again be the team to beat with the rest of the league [Shelter Island, Southold, Ross, Mercy and Port Jefferson] being evenly matched.

The girls open non-league play after Thanksgiving, traveling to East Hampton on November 30 and hosting Southampton December 4. The Lady Whalers’ first league game is set for December 15, Shelter Island coming into the Pierson High School gym for a 5:45 p.m. start.

The boys, led by coach Christian Johns, have seven returning players from a resilient squad that rallied to finish 7-7 and become eligible for the playoffs. The post-season was short though, Pierson out-scored by Port Jefferson in the county title game.

The Whalers get underway against Center Moriches November 30. A tournament game at Islip, December 2, and a match-up at East Hampton, December 8, precede the league opener on Shelter Island December 15.

Fall Whaler Athletes Honored

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By Benito Vila

Seasons change but the fall of 2009 will forever be a memorable one for Pierson sports fans. The boys’ golf team set a program best with nine wins against just four losses; girls’ volleyball overcame a 2-4 start with a 7-1 finish to earn a second consecutive playoff berth and girls’ field hockey continued its resurgence with a 10-4 regular season that ended with a double OT loss in the county title game.

Not to be lost among those team achievements was the contribution Joe Dowling made to the East Hampton, Pierson, Bridgehampton “Bonac” football team, the two-way lineman helping his team make the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Also, the individual effort of Kyle Fletcher made sure the Whaler boys’ cross-country program pushed its streak of sending a runner to the state meet to 12 consecutive years.

As is always the case, team records do little to illuminate the achievements of a season. Boys’ soccer, at 5-6-1, suffered four one-goal losses but was still battling for a playoff spot in its final game.

Girls’ soccer at 5-9 in league, started strong, gaining notoriety in knocking off perennial powerhouse Mattituck. But then injuries interfered, four starters sidelined as the team faded from playoff contention. The Lady Whalers did beat their Class C rivals in four out of six matches, with the bulk of their games coming against Class B schools.

Girls’ cross-country saw its two-year reign as county Class D champions come to an end, but Keriann FitzPatrick continued a three-year run of finishing either first or second in the county meet. Lady Whaler coach Jim Kinnier also saw the biggest improvement in individual times from September to November that he has seen in his seven years leading the varsity.


While the high school honored its student athletes at a ceremony last week, some Whalers are still collecting plaques and trophies. Soon after Thanksgiving, the county coaches’ association of each varsity sport will host a banquet to present all-league, all-conference and all-county awards.

Some of those award winners were announced this week. Lady Whaler field hockey will be well-represented at their dinner, Aly Bori, Sariah Cafiero, Abby Gawronski, Kasey Gilbride, Sam James, Alexa Lantiere and Lindsay Warne not knowing who earned what until December 1.

Whaler soccer will also have a full table December 7, all-county academic honoree Mark Mahoney being joined by all-league standouts Jeff Schimmer and Eduardo Oscar Bautista Reinoso and all-conference picks Jake Federico and Gavin Kudlak.

Federico has extended his season, trying out and making the county’s exceptional seniors team. That group of Suffolk all-stars is set to play their Nassau rivals December 5.

Lady Whaler soccer will send all-league Amanda Busiello, all-conference Kaci Koehne and all-county Natalie Abbene to their banquet. Pierson volleyball will have Samara Finkenauer, Xylia Serafy, Katelyn Grodski and Tanasha Clark at theirs.

Who to Look for in 2010

While Gawronski, Bori, Federico, Abbene and Dowling prepare to play sports at the next level, next year’s teams are already starting to shape up.

Field hockey has a strong core coming back, with Cafiero, Gilbride, James, Lantiere and Warne already known for their technique and speed. More confidence and better luck will be keys to girls’ soccer next season, Busiello, Koehne, Emma Ferrera, Sarah Hartman, Emily Hinz and Annie Osiecki all hoping to stay healthy and on the field.

Touch will be important to golf’s Dillon Decker, the varsity’s most valuable player, who is planning on improving his game with lessons and thousand of swings. Teammates Gabe Denon, Jake Weingartner, Adam Heller and Jake Bennett are looking to spend time doing the same.

Meanwhile, volleyball’s Finkenauer, Serafy, Grodski, Rebecca Speckenbach and Dominique Clark will keep honing their skills on club teams and in-school games.

Not to be forgotten is boys’ soccer who will see a change in goal and look to Kudlak, Reinoso, Tyler Gilbride, Skyler Loesch, Seamus Doyle, Gabe Burford, Sean Hartnett and Gabe Garro to get back into the county playoffs.

Setting the pace for cross-country again next fall will be FitzPatrick and Fletcher. Those two finished their season last weekend at the state meet in Plattsburgh. FitzPatrick clipped her top county rivals in coming in first among Class D students from Long Island, placing forty-ninth overall.

Up and Coming: Pierson Underclassmen Putting In the Effort

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By Benito Vila

Being on JV is a bit like babysitting your sister; everyone expects you to do and no one ever seems to notice you’re doing it.

In the high school sports world, those athletes are working just as hard as the varsity and playing as many games. But there are no playoffs, no championships, no trophies, jackets or cheerleaders.

The Good Life

The JV golf team did live the good life in their season, playing at the ultra-exclusive Bridge course when no other course would have them. Coach Clint Schulman described his group as “a very young team with a lot of potential.  All but [eighth-grader] Cooper [Marienfeld] are new to the team and playing golf for the first time.”

Joining Marienfeld on the roster were Kevin Duchemin (10th grade), Jake Bennett (9th grade), Jack Bori (8th grade), Charles Canavan (7th grade) and Ben Kushner (7th grade).

In describing his team’s season, Coach Schulman said, “We lost to perennial powerhouses East Hampton and Southampton but had wins against West Hampton and Center Moriches.”

“The enrollment for golf has increased since I’ve been coaching. However, part of the interest is due to the generosity of the Bridge Golf Course. This year they helped us out since we couldn’t go to Noyac. We not only practiced there but had our matches there as well. “

“It’s one of the most challenging courses on the East End. And we had the pleasure of assistant pro Mike Sweeny helping with the kids.”

At The Net

In leading the girls’ JV volleyball team each fall, Claudia Ortmann has the pleasure of coaching girls she had on middle school teams the winter before.

This year, she chose to “bring up” some of those middle schoolers, adding eighth graders May Evjen and Lily Kunzeman to the team when workouts started in August. Those youngsters excelled, Evjen even going further “up” and joining the varsity towards the end of the season.

Last week, Coach Ortmann described her squad as “a terrific group of young women. Right from day one back in August, the girls have worked hard, rarely missed practice and have been able to maintain a positive attitude.”

A 4-10 mark didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for the sport either, Coach Ortmann noting, “In many of those losses, we played into the deciding game and lost by a small margin of points. That might have been difficult for another team, but this group seems to be able to move past the losses and focus on the successful moments of play during each game.”

Joining the two eighth graders on the roster were freshmen Emma Buckner, Alissa Clermont, Hannah Kaminski, Anna McAree, Malisa Muongcharoen and Taylor Vaugh. The Lady Whalers had three sophomores, Emma Brannen, Chelea Freleng and Tanethea Clark, with Freleng and Clark providing on-court leadership as captains.

The Little Team That Could

Typically a full field hockey team has 11 players on the field and some reserves on the bench. This year’s Lady Whaler JV was not typical by any means, nine players committed and showing up for each other so that they could all play.

Coach Melissa Edwards led the determined crew and called them, “a small platoon, that was able to beat and play tough games against teams of twenty or more. These girls were in great condition and worked hard daily. With help from some of the varsity underclassmen [filling spots on the field so the team had eleven], we went undefeated, 10-0, with two ties.”

Sophomore captains Melanie Stafford and Catherine Musnicki led the team, with freshmen Hope Denon, Gabby Gardiner, Rachel Saidman and Holly Zapolla finishing off the high school contingent. Eighth graders Emme Luck, India Hemby and Emma Romeo rounded out the roster and saw considerable playing time.

In describing her team’s standouts, Coach Edwards said, “Melanie dominated on the field. Holly did a great job in goal; she worked very hard with her goalie coach [Kaitlin Daniels] and it paid off. Emme, although very hard on herself, was able to make great strides this season and became a player I could put anywhere.”

A Learning Year

Pierson art teacher and girls’ JV soccer coach Peter Solow proved to be a patient and creative instructor on the field this fall. His Lady Whaler squad consisted of disparate parts: one eighth grader, five Bridgehampton players, seven freshmen and three sophomores.

But as if constructing a distinctive and meaningful collage, Coach Solow saw his girls come together during the season. “This was a learning experience for the whole team. None of our players had any experience playing at the high school level. Most of our players were ninth graders and our tenth graders hadn’t played soccer in more than a year because there was no JV team last year.”

“I was impressed by the commitment of the girls to the team and to each other. Our Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor girls have played together now for several years, in middle school, Long Island juniors and now JV. They are becoming more and more like family.”

Representing Bridgehampton on the JV were Vanessa Cruz, Lesley Fridie, Bryzeida Perez, Mikeyia Stanfield and Angelica Uribe.

Earning Pierson letters for the first time were Sarah Arbia, Bridget Canavan, Allison Cedeno, Jenna Chase, Lindsay Cox, Liz Grigonis, Emma Lasiuk, Valeria Lemus-Sandoval, Angela Piro, Hanna Potter, Vanessa- Roses-Torres, Abby Ruiz and Madeline Weber.

A Team Comes Together

Coming into the pre-season workouts JV boys’ soccer coach Marc Schimmer was unsure of what he had to work with, a large contingent from last fall’s team moving on to varsity. He also did not have a goalkeeper coming up from the middle school.

Necessity being the mother of invention, Coach Schimmer found an able keeper in volunteer Liam Doyle and saw the team run up a respectable 7-6 mark.

“We had a rough start with a tough slate of opponents, East Hampton and Westhampton,” said Coach Schimmer. “But with the development of a team chemistry and with everyone getting comfortable in new positions, it came together and we reeled off a four-game winning streak.”

“The highlight of that streak, and of the season, was a hard fought victory over Southold, a team that the JV program had not beaten previously in my [three-year] tenure as coach. The decisive goal was scored with only five minutes remaining in the game, securing a 2-1 victory.”

In talking about the individuals on the team, Coach Schimmer said, “Liam helped fill a critical void on the team, this despite little experience at the position. As the season progressed, he turned into a very dependable, steady net minder.”

John Farry stepped into the stalwart role of sweeper [a central defender] after an injury ended the season of his teammate Sam Miller [broken wrist].  Both, in their turn, were the ‘heart and soul’ of our defense, providing leadership in our own half of the field.” Sean Romeo very effectively manned the stopper role [the other central defensive position].”

“Those defensemen were ably supported by Joe Farraguna and Damian Syrianos on the wings. Christian Figueroa and Drew DeVito came off the bench to provide relief.”

“Refugio Mendez, Emet Evjen, Patrick McKenna and Alex Gurvich were a hard working crew who helped secure the mid-field. They provided a strong effort on both offense and defense, with Stephen Solow coming off the bench in support his teammates.”

“Diego Gamboa led the way in the goal scoring department, reinforced by Hunter Leyser and Christian Bautista, who were also key members of the team’s attack.”

Playoffs On Line for Pierson Boys and Girls Soccer

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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.

Whaler Update

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.”

Pierson Ladies’ Soccer Looks to Post Season

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By Benito Vila

Losing experienced front line players late in the season is never a good way to go, especially when the playoffs are on the line. Pierson girls’ soccer saw leading scorer and senior captain Natalie Abbene go down late in a 2-1 win over Mercy in Mashashimuet Park Saturday, leaving them with four injured starters with six games to go.

None of the six games are easy, the top of the league dominating the match-ups. Yesterday, the Lady Whalers went west to Stony Brook in what coach Haley Luzim and her players alike agree is “a must win game” against the second-place 5-2-1 Lady Bears.

Pierson, at 4-4 in League VII and 7-4 overall, must have a .500 or better league record at the end of the season to reach the county tournament. Working against them right now is the prospect of playing the teams ahead of them without much of the roster that saw them get off to a such strong start.

Tomorrow the girls have a bit of a reprieve, winless Port Jefferson coming into the park for a 4:30 match. The schedule becomes significantly more difficult next week when the team travels to 5-2-1 Smithtown Christian next Wednesday and 5-2 Mattituck next Friday.

Things don’t ease up any after that, league-leading 6-1 Southold visiting October 27 and the season ending at Center Moriches, the only team to defeat the Lady Settlers.

Down, Up, Down, Up

Center Moriches came into the park last Thursday and made off with a 2-0 win, a pair of first half goals holding up despite a late Whaler rally. In dominating play in the first 45 minutes, the Lady Devils kept the ball on the Pierson end and punched in a rebound and a long kick on a lost possession. Coach Luzim said simply, “We didn’t play our best”, not willing to use injuries to her backfield as an excuse.

Finding her team short-handed even more on Saturday, another two starters off with their families for the holiday weekend and SAT testing keeping two other players from making the start, Coach Luzim made a set of much needed adjustments. “We had to bring up some JV players so we had enough players and some subs. We also mixed things up in the back by having Kaci Koehne become the sweeper and Kara Gengarelly and Charlotte Novak become the fullbacks.”

Those changes had the desired result, the Lady Whalers keeping the Lady Monarchs out of their end for the first half. That break found Pierson up 1-0, Koehne nailing a 20-yard shot with ten minutes remaining.

The second half saw Mercy make a game of it, a breakaway resulting in an early goal. Regrouping, the Whaler backfield found its rhythm again, Novak, Abbene and Amanda Busiello getting good shots on goal.

But it was Koehne that gave the Lady Whalers some breathing room, knocking in another 20-yarder with 15 minutes remaining. “That goal was big for us,” said Coach Luzim, “and it was nice to see Kaci go at the ball with that kind of confidence. Getting our scoring from the back was different, but it worked.”

The worst part of the win was the loss of Abbene who sprained her knee in a collision with a little over eight minutes remaining. That leaves the coach and the team without her offense and on-field leadership until sometime next week at best and perhaps even longer.

Pierson Cross Country: To Go or Not to Go

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By Benito Vila

The Lady Whalers cross-country team braved some extremes this week, running in the Florida heat in an invitational at Disney last weekend and returning to the season’s cool in training in the park.

This weekend the girls are participating in the 27th annual Brown High School Cross Country Invitational in Warwick, Rhode Island. There they will come up against top competition from all over the east coast, helping them prep for next Tuesday’s dual meet with Mattituck and Southold at Red Creek Park and the county championships November 6 at Sunken Meadow.

In describing the Disney trip, Lady Whaler coach Jim Kinnier reported, “The weather was hot; 93 degrees at race time. In addition, the humidity was over 90%, with bright sunshine. They ran their worst times, however I’m just glad that none of them suffered from dehydration or worse. The kids came in saying that they missed Sunken Meadow and Cardiac Hill. I never thought I’d ever hear that.”

“There were teams from all over the U.S. If it weren’t for the heat, it would have been a great running experience. Next year we’ll go somewhere, but it won’t be the southeast.” In looking ahead to the weekend in Rhode Island, Coach Kinnier said, “We look forward to a much better experience.”

The Whaler cross-country team has been staying close to home in training for its dual meet next Tuesday. By opting out of the Suffolk Officials Invitational at Sunken Meadow last Saturday, the boys passed up an opportunity to join the girls at Brown this weekend.

Tuesday’s meet closes out the regular season schedule for both teams, the boys going in 1-2 and the girls 0-3.