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.”