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Sports Wrap 9/20/12

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Lady Whalers Notch Two Big Wins

Kasey Gilbride scored a game-winning goal in overtime late on Wednesday to send the Pierson-Bridgehampton field hockey team to a dramatic 1-0 win over visiting Southampton. Gilbride’s goal came as the teams played in a 7-on-7 format, which is much more suitable to the Pierson star’s quick style of play.

It was the second big victory in a week for Pierson, which also picked up an important non-league victory last Wednesday, September 12, with a 4-1 win over Babylon at Mashashimuet Park.

Eighth grader Ana Sherwood scored two goals to lead the Lady Whalers, who improved to 4-0 with the two wins. Gilbride scored a goal and two assists against Babylon. Allura Leggard also scored for the Lady Whalers and junior Emma Romeo, who is a first-year starter in goal, made three saves in the game.

Lady Whalers head coach Shannon Judge scheduled the game with Babylon, which is a fellow Class C school that plays in Division II, so that a victory could be used to lobby for a playoff spot at the end of the season should Pierson-Bridgehampton not finish in the top-six teams in Division II, which is comprised of Class A, B and C schools.

The top six teams from each division automatically qualify for the playoffs, but teams can be offered an exemption if they do well against schools of similar classification.

The Lady Whalers will play two road games this week, at William Floyd tomorrow, September 21, and then at Shoreham-Wading River on Monday. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m.


Whalers Soccer Wins League Opener

Forrest Loesch was tired, his jersey covered in dirt as he walked off the soccer field at Mashashimuet Park last Thursday evening. Pierson-Bridgehampton’s tireless striker was smiling, though, since his goal with 7:30 remaining gave the Whalers a 1-0 win over Smithtown Christian to kick off the League VIII schedule.

The Whalers last week were coming off an emotional win over Southampton in the Bridgehampton National Bank tournament, which concluded on Saturday with a series of games at Greenport High School. Center Moriches won the tournament with a perfect 3-0 mark, having beat the Whalers, 5-2, on Saturday.

Senior captain Christian Bautista scored against Center Moriches as did up-and-coming junior midfielder Alex Liro. The Whalers are scheduled to host rival Ross School on Monday, September 24 at 4:30 p.m.


Volleyball Off To Slow Start

The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls volleyball team lost in straight sets to Babylon at home on Friday. Pierson fell to 0-3 on this season with additional losses to Hampton Bays and Port Jefferson. The Lady Whalers will play at rival Shelter Island today at 4:15 p.m. and will host their next home match on Monday, September 24, against Stony Brook at 4:30 p.m.


Montauk Rugby Wins Again

The Montauk Rugby Football Club moved to 2-0 this past Saturday with a tight 17-14 victory over the Montclair Rugby Club. Montauk found themselves in an early seven-point hole but the Sharks answered with a Brian Anderson try and a Gordon Trotter conversion to even the score at 7-7.

In the second half Montauk’s offense stepped it up and tacked on two more scores coming from Nick Lawler and Connor Miller.


Top Seeds Face Off

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Pierson captain Christian Bautista fights for control of the ball in Pierson's 2-2 draw with the Port Jefferson Royals at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday, October 12.

Pierson captain Christian Bautista fights for control of the ball in Pierson's 2-2 draw with the Port Jefferson Royals at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday, October 12.

By Andrew Rudansky

The Whalers soccer home game against the Port Jefferson Royals was heralded as one of the biggest games of the season by both varsity head coach Peter Solow and many of the spectators in attendance at Mashashimuet Park. The game, held on Tuesday, October 11, did not disappoint, ending with a 2-2 tie after a contentious, rollercoaster match.

Before the game the Pierson/Bridgehampton varsity squad was ranked second in League VIII, trailing the Royals by only 1.5 games.

They had just come off of an impressive 3-1 win over (3-2-1) Greenport/Shelter Island on Monday, October 3. Juniors Oscar “Papi” Reinoso, captain Christian Bautista, and Jackson Marienfeld all tallied a score against Greenport/Shelter Island in an aggressive first-half push.

“Greenport/Shelter Island was a close game,” said Solow, “much closer than the final score would make it seem.”

Evidence of this comes from the eight saves that sophomore keeper Ian Barrett had to make to give Pierson the win. They would need a stellar performance from Barrett once again if they hoped to contain the highly prolific Royals.

The first half of Tuesday’s game against Port Jefferson had all the appearances of a blowout loss for the Whalers. Port Jefferson was already up 1-0 early in the game on a low bouncing goal, and was effectively keeping the game pinned in Whalers’ territory.

The Royals were most effective on the wings.

“It was a battle out there on the sidelines,” said Solow, who later commented that his two wingmen, sophomores Oliver Betts and Gavin O’Brien, held their own against a sometimes overbearing Royals strategy.

Port Jefferson had an opportunity to put the game out of reach, when a shot on goal rolled past Barrett and towards the net. Senior defender Sam Miller was able to get to the ball just in time, and kicked it out towards midfield, a quick thinking play late in the first half that helped keep the Whalers within striking distance.

“The guys that have been a rock for us the entire season have been the center of our defense…Sean Hartnett and Sam Miller,” said Solow after the game. “Both of those guys are really smart about how to play and what to do.”

While the first half of the match had the Whalers pinned in their own territory, the second half was a complete reversal in the tempo. After aggressive maneuvering, freshman striker Jack Fitzpatrick created a goal by kicking the ball across the Royals’ net. A Royals defender tried to head the ball back into the midfield but hit the ball at a wrong angle, sending it flying backwards and into the net.

“I thought Jack Fitzpatrick was solid today,” said Solow, “he came out in the beginning of the game and he was working his heart out.”

Pierson scored again on a penalty kick taken by Reinoso. The talented midfielder sent the ball around the wall of defenders and towards the goal on a lazy, bouncing kick. The keeper misread the spinning ball, which bounced off of a failed scoop and into the net.

Down 2-1, the Royals put the pressure back on the home team, at which point the match turned especially aggressive. The game’s officials tried to keep order, awarding both teams multiple penalty kicks for pushing, even handing out several yellow cards to overly aggressive players.

As the game was coming to a close, and a 2-1 Whalers victory within sight, Port Jefferson’s Blake Bohlen took the ball into Pierson’s penalty box and kicked it into the back of the net. The tying goal was scored with less than ten seconds in regulation.

Both teams decided to forego an overtime period, because it was getting too dark to play. The tie gave the Whalers a (4-1-1) league record, tying them for second place with Southold (4-1-1).

“This kind of thing happens,” said Solow about the last-minute heartbreaker. “You gotta play the entire game. The reality is that there are things technically that we needed to do and we didn’t do them.”

Solow said despite the missed opportunity to beat the first-seeded Royals, he was proud of the team.

“The guys put in a tremendous effort, they never gave up,” said Solow. “We played probably one of the best small school teams in the entire state, and we played them even. And I think that that is absolutely commendable.”

With this game out of the way, the team’s schedule looks to only get more challenging. Pierson next hosts Ross (1-4-1) today, October 13 at 4:30 p.m.

“I am dreading this game because every time we play Ross there is an intensity and nastiness in the game,” said Solow. “Yes, they have a terrible record, but that doesn’t matter, because for us they are going to play the game of their season. Am I looking forward to that? No.”

After that Pierson takes on Southold on Monday, October 17. The Southold Settlers are still the only team to beat the Whalers in a league game this season.

Federico Nets Four in Big Win Over Greenport

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By Benito Vila

Once in a while things just go a player’s way. So it was for Whaler forward Jake Federico on Tuesday in Mashashimuet Park as he posted four first half goals in leading Pierson to a 4-2 win over Greenport to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive.

The Whalers are now 3-4-1 in League VIII, set to take on league leader Port Jefferson there today, before rounding out the team’s away schedule at Ross next Thursday. The following week closes out the team’s regular season, Stony Brook and Southold making their way out to play in the park.

This past week saw the Whalers playoff hopes rocked by close losses, Southold prevailing 2-1 in overtime last Wednesday and Smithtown Christian holding on 1-0 Friday. More than one loss the rest of the way will eliminate the Pierson boys from post-season play, a .500 record or better required for the county tournaments.

Coach Donnelly McGovern called the Southold match “a heartbreaker. The boys played with tremendous determination and will throughout the match, but we failed to move the ball out of the defensive third quickly and Southold capitalized on it and buried the ball in the goal in the first sudden-death overtime period.”

 At Smithtown Christian an early goal forced the Whalers to play from behind. Coach McGovern said, “We were fighting to get the equalizer on Friday but it never came.  One of the reasons it never came is that we failed to open up the Smithtown Christian defense. We constantly attempted to go through their strong central defenders. We failed to use the flanks and this limited the number of scoring opportunities we were able to generate.”

One, Two, Three, Four

The scoring opportunities were there Tuesday, the offense opening up the field at home and Federico finding open seams in the Porters’ defense. His first score put Pierson up 1-0 barely five minutes in to the match, the next two making the action somewhat scrimmage-like, the Whalers holding a 3-0 not even mid-way through the first half.

But then the Porters came back, posting a pair of goals in the space of a few minutes, the Whalers letting down their guard. The Porters’ potent attack made the game “nerve-racking” for Coach McGovern, regardless of the score. “They are the type of team that will jump it up a notch if they are a goal down. At times we gave them too much space and we failed to win balls in the air.”

Federico capitalized on a rebound for his fourth goal to give Pierson some breathing room at 4-2, the defense tightening up with Coach McGovern making some adjustments. At the half, Coach McGovern  moved Sean Hartnett to the midfield “to win balls and to distribute from the center. He played a strong match and made very good decisions. Jeff Schimmer also did a nice job defensively of clearing balls and winning battles inside the penalty area.”

 “All the players played hard and determined [Tuesday], but I feel the difference over Friday was that we finished opportunities and played a more spirited match. Tactically, we did a much better job today of utilizing the width of the field as we moved the ball into the attacking third of the field.”

And Jake moved extremely well off the ball which allowed us to exploit them because he created space for himself. If he continues to do this consistently against our future opponents, we will be successful.”

Fed Shakes It All Off

When asked about his take on the game, Federico, a senior, spoke mostly about his teammates, saying, “It was basically everyone in the backfield forcing the ball up; Gabe Burford, Christian [Gonzales], Kyle [McGowin] and Jeff in particular. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to play the ball wide and attack the goal.”

He also added, “Skyler Loesch was awesome up front in the first half, winning the 50-50 balls and distributing them to where their was room to work. We played great today, now we have to look to Port Jeff.”

Looking ahead to today’s match and beyond, Coach McGovern said, “In order for us to be playing into November, we will have to play every match even more determined than [Tuesday]. We will need to be even more focused and consistent in our play. We will need to make quicker decisions as we open up our opponents defensively.”

 “Port Jefferson will be a better opponent than Greenport. I believe we can play with anyone and beat any opponent. The difference will be if the boys show up to perform and play with heart and desire to finish on top that day for the entire match.”

Youth Soccer: The Games Go Indoors

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Pierson soccer enjoyed a resurgence this fall with Donnelly McGovern coming back to take the program reigns after a two-year stint in school administration. His return to the classroom and the sidelines energized each Pierson team, their seasons all ending with a series of decisive wins.

Coach McGovern’s enthusiasm carried over to his son’s soccer team, an under-12 Long Island Juniors squad that finished an undefeated campaign at 5-0-4 to take the all-Long Island Division 4 championship. Last fall the team, which plays as the Sag Harbor Hurricanes, earned the Suffolk County Division 3 under-11 title.

Representing Sag Harbor on this year’s squad were John Chisholm, Ryan Chisholm and Jack FitzPatrick. The team also had players from Amagansett, Springs and East Hampton.

The Sag Harbor Soccer Club fields other teams in the Long Island Junior Soccer League: the Gunners, a U-15 boys team, coached by Peter Solow; the Wicked Wildcats, a U-12 girls team, and the Wildcats, a U-16 girls team, both coached by Eric Buetel. There are also U-17 and U-19 Sag Harbor teams entered in the LIJSL spring league.


Winter Programs at SYS

Long Island Junior Soccer League is holding tryouts at SYS on Majors Path this Sunday, November 23. All players between the ages of 9 and 16 interested in this competitive island-wide league are invited to participate.

All those players should bring indoor shoes, a water bottle, a copy of their birth certificate and a passport size photo. Tryouts for boys under-12 are scheduled between 11 a.m. and noon. Tryouts for all girls and boys under-16 run from noon to 1 p.m. League officials ask that players arrive at least 15 minutes prior to start times to register.

Colonial Sports Group is hosting a series of Saturday 8-and-under clinics between December 6 and February 14. Players four-to-six years old will come for an hour at 9 a.m. and those seven and eight at 10:15 a.m. There is a $100 fee for these clinics.

There are also two sets of Monday evening indoor clinics for players in third to eighth grade. The first session will occur between December 1 and January 26, the second from February 2 to March 9. Third-to-fifth graders will go from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and sixth-to-eighth graders from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The fee for six weeks is $90 and $150 for 12 weeks.

SYS is also offering indoor youth soccer leagues, playing on Saturdays from January 10 to March 14. The leagues will be organized by grade level as follows: third and fourth graders (co-ed), and boys and girls teams for fifth and sixth grade, seventh and eighth grade and high school players. Fees are $600 per team and $75 per individual.

Contact Joy Pariz at SYS, 287-1511, for information on any of these soccer programs.


End Comes Quick for Girls in Playoffs

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Stony brook ended Pierson\'s season in quadruple overtime

Last week the high school varsity girls volleyball, soccer and field hockey all had high hopes for the playoff season, preparing all week for last weekend’s games, only to be disappointed in the end for a loss for all three teams.


Perhaps the biggest upset of the weekend, was the varsity girls soccer game, where the girls went into quadruple over-time against Stony Brook at the Dowling Sports Complex. The girls had to appeal in order to get into the playoffs. But on Saturday they were up against Stony Brook, who they tied with last time they played the them, earlier this season.
Soccer coach, Haley Luzim said that the girls played excellent on Saturday. With only 1:48 remaining in the game, Pierson’s Katie Osieki scored, but after the girls started celebrating their victory, the referee took back the goal, calling an illegal handball. Luzim said the girls were very upset. The game then went into overtime, where neither team scored in the first two 10 – minute overtime periods and the third 5-minute extra period. They finally lost in the end when Stony Brook eventually scored, 108 minutes into the game. Goalie, Annie Osiecki had five saves on Saturday for Pierson.
The seniors that Luzim will be sad to see go will be Katie Osieki, Alicia Tagliasacchi and Diana Rodriquez.
For Luzim, she said the season started out slow, and the girls were able to develop and improve on their defense, communication and desire to win. In the off-season, she says the girls need to continue to work their ball skills. Luzim is planning to get the girls playing in an indoor soccer league this winter, which will help them with their ball skills and control. In addition, the girls may be attending a soccer camp as a team. This, according to Luzim, will help them build their skills and get in shape for next season.

Field Hockey

The girl’s varsity field hockey team also went into overtime on Saturday. They traveled to Patchogue-Medford where they were up against Port Jefferson. The first two halves of the game showed no score for either team and coach Shannon Judge said the team lost 2.5 minutes into overtime off a broken corner.
“After we lost, I told the girls, people expected nothing of us, and we came in fourth in our league,” Judge said.
She added that the team actually had the second best record in the league, but they come in fourth because of the power rating.
For next season, the girls will only have three starting positions to fill and coach Judge says she already has the kids that will step in to take those positions. This season was a good one for the team overall, Judge said. Her senior, Samantha Federico beat the school’s record of 13, by getting 16 goals this season. Judge said, another senior, Anna Verneuille, a captain and her tenacity as a defender will be missed. Other seniors Dina Silver and Mariah Marienfeld, played an excellent season according to Judge.


The varsity girl’s volleyball team shed tears on Friday night after their game in Center Moriches against Shelter Island. Stacey Springer, coach for the varsity team said the girls played really well the first match against their opponents, but lost all three games. “We have to work on mental toughness, the ability wasn’t always the issue,” she said. She added that the girls needed to have more confidence in themselves. She said now she is trying to get the team to push for clinics, clubs and doing more than just participating in the fall season. She adds that the defense, did a great job, but the offensive side needed to hit a little harder and a little more often, “I feel that’s where we lost some of our points, but, she said, “I’m happy they got to have that playoff experience this year.” Seniors that won’t be returning for Pierson volleyball next year are Danielle Schiavoni, Devan Larson, Brianna Hand, Veronica O’Malley and Luisa Kennefick.

Varsity Soccer Comes Back in the End

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By Benito Vila

A month ago the Pierson boys’ soccer team knew their best games were to come. Undeterred by a 0-5 start in league play and sporting a 0-7 mark overall, seniors and underclassmen alike were certain there were better days ahead for them.

At the time, Gabe Garro said, “We’re going to pull through. We’ll get some wins in.” That sentiment was shared by Jake Federico and Kyle McGowin, who described how Coach Donnelly McGovern had the team working practice after practice on playing as a unit and keeping their resolve.

All of the positive thinking, determined mindfulness, game skills and team-first lessons Coach McGovern taught were tested in last Wednesday’s season finale in the park. The boys found themselves down 0-2 to Stony Brook at the half, and saw the possibility of a three-game season-ending win streak and a 5-2 finish slipping away.

A halftime ceremony for the seniors and their families psyched up the Whalers before they returned to the field. That parental “love” and a reminder from Coach McGovern to maintain their focus, “not to try to do too much on their own and hold their positions better” seemed to be all the team needed.

A goal by senior Andrew Mitchell minutes into the second half sparked the comeback. When Garro added a goal to tie and later another to put the team up 3-2, Coach McGovern saw seniors Joe Mascali, Sam Guest, Casey Crowley and Noah Feinberg take control on the field, toughening up their play and helping to hold the lead.

In all, Coach McGovern described the match as “thrilling and exciting,” adding, “It was a pleasure to see the boys work the way they did. They stepped it up the second half when they could have given in. We played with great intensity, and we did a great job of stretching the Stony Brook defense out which opened up space for our attack.”

 The team ended the season at 6-8 in league and 6-10 overall. Junior Christian Gonzales led the team in scoring with nine goals. Senior Casey Crowley led in assists with four and was second in goals with five. Middle-schooler Garro scored four times even though an early season injury limited his time on the field. Juniors Jeffrey Schimmer, Kyle McGowin and senior Joe Mascali each scored three.

Five others scored one apiece, the team scoring 38 in all, averaging 2.4 goals per game. Junior goalkeeper Mark Mahoney led the league in saves with 131 and the team allowed an average of 2.2 goals per game.

After the team’s final practice last Tuesday, Coach McGovern said, “Our 2009 season starts Thursday,” and described the approach he would like to see. Much of the team has taken his words to heart, some working out in the weight room and some making it to the park.

Coach McGovern promises he and JV coach Marc Schimmer “will provide many opportunities for [students] to play soccer and to improve their game. We will be getting into the gym and playing indoors to get a lot of touches on the ball. We are trying to get the boys involved in playing on a Long Island Junior Soccer League team this spring through the Sag Harbor Soccer Club. This will allow the players to gain more game experience with each other. I hope they take advantage of these opportunities. The bottom line is that if the returning players do not play in the off-season we will be at a great disadvantage come the fall of 2009.”


Whaler Soccer: Playoff Elimination Makes for Tough Lessons

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By Benito Vila

The time comes in every season when it’s clear that a team has lost more times than it has won. The reaction to that experience often determines what comes next for the team collectively and for its players and coaches individually.

While the options are fairly obvious: keep playing, do more work, learn; or: feign apathy, shrug it off, forget. The right approach is not always easy to choose, especially in high school.

Regardless of the level of play, each coach, each player and each team deals with disappointment differently. Some replay the moments when things got away and use that as motivation; some talk about them continuously and never find their peace.

Many never own up to their own limitations and keep finding them elsewhere, on or off a field; some accept what’s happened, promise themselves “never again” and always find ways to be better prepared regardless of the activity. The response can be what defines “a winner” or “a loser”, what creates “character” or its antithesis.

For this year’s Pierson boys’ varsity soccer squad leaving Mashashimuet Park was one of those moments. A season that saw a 0-5 start, followed by a 3-2 stretch that created hope, hit a wall Tuesday in a 6-0 loss to Port Jefferson that eliminated the Whalers from post-season play.

Coach Donnelly McGovern said afterwards, “This puts us all in a spot we haven’t been in a while. We have three games left to get three victories. I know for most of us, it’s not about just having a good time; it’s about winning some games.”

“We want to finish strong and we can. I’m looking to see everyone stay focused and keep working on getting better. What we do from here on in says a lot about what we’re about.”


Caught on the Counter


The majority of the goals against Pierson Tuesday came on quick counterattacks on balls the Whalers were collectively unable to clear away from the goal. Coach McGovern was straightforward, saying, “They beat us to the ball and got behind us. They hit their guys and finished.”

It was the same outcome last Friday in Greenport, with the Whalers falling behind 2-0 in the first half, battling back to tie in the second, only to have the Porters pull away 4-2. Coach McGovern described it as a “game we could have had, but they were able to hit their target guy and he was able to create opportunities for himself and his teammates.”


Three to Go


The rest of the schedule keeps the boys close to home. This afternoon the team meets Mercy in the park. On Monday the last road game takes them to Ross, while on Wednesday Stony Brook comes into the park to close out the season. All three games start at 4:30 p.m.

By scoring Friday, Christian Gonzales recorded his team-leading eighth goal. Meanwhile, Jake Federico fired in his first, becoming the ninth Pierson player to find the back of the net this year. While the last three games give even more players a chance to score, keeper Mark Mahoney goes in with a league-leading 88 saves and a respectable 85%-plus save percentage.

The most recent games have seen Tyler Gilbride emerge as a defensive bright spot, drawing assignments on top scores and effectively containing their play. In praising Gilbride’s effort Coach McGovern said, “He’s really matured and we just haven’t supported that level of play enough.”

Whaler Teams Hope for Post-season Play

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By Benito Vila

While the Pierson field hockey Lady Whalers are a near lock to play Port Jefferson November 1 for the county Class C title, their classmates on four teams are doing all they can to join them in the post-season.

Girls’ varsity soccer, at 3-5-1 in League VIII, matches up with winless Port Jefferson (yesterday), league-leader Smithtown Christian and middle-of-the-pack Southold/Greenport this week. A strong finish in those games could propel the third-year program to its first tournament berth. The team’s last two matches are in Mashashimuet Park, the Lady Crusaders coming in at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow and the Lady Clippers at 4 p.m. next Thursday.

Meanwhile, girls’ varsity volleyball at 6-4 in league play is just one win away from clinching their first ever post-season seed. That win could have come yesterday at Greenport/Southold or it could come Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the gym against Stony Brook. After those two matches, the road to the playoffs gets tougher with league-leaders Shelter Island and Center Moriches on the schedule away in the final week.

Both cross-country teams have closed out their league schedule, the girls taking third at 4-2 and the boys fourth at 2-3. Runners on the squads have reason to be optimistic in the upcoming divisional and class meets. The boys finished the season with a pair of decisive wins, while the girls, the defending Class D champions, also finished with a pair of wins and saw their losses come by just one point each.


A Possible Preview


Girls’ varsity soccer traveled to Stony Brook last Friday to face a likely playoff adversary that had outscored them 6-0 in the park last month. In playing to a 0-0 double overtime tie, coach Haley Luzim said she saw her team “come ready to play. We knew we had to give it our all and we did. It proves that when we play hard, we can play with anyone.”

Coach Luzim praised the defensive line-up of Kara Gengerally, Kaci Koehne, Diana Roderiguez and Alexia Farraguna, and goalkeeper Annie Osiecki who recorded 15 saves. But she pointed to the lock-down determination of Kathryn Heine as making the biggest difference between this match and the earlier one. “Kathryn covered their top scorer and totally shut her down. She was on her like they were playing ‘Simon Says’ and wouldn’t let her turn.”


Closing In


Coming into the gym Monday to meet Mercy on Columbus Day, the girls’ volleyball squad found the school quiet. They created their own noise in taking game one, 25-14, and kept their momentum going by winning game two, 25-13, and game three, 25-18. Amanda Holder had three blocks and Samara Finkenauer had two kills in closing in on the tournament clincher. A November 3 date and another match with Stony Brook would await the squad if it earns its way in.


Travel, then taper


The cross-country teams are off to the Brown University Invitational this weekend, returning home for school Monday and the county’s divisional meet Tuesday. That race, held at Sunken Meadow, crowns the overall Suffolk team champion regardless of school size.

Boys’ coach Joe Amato and girls’ coach Jim Kinnier plan on using that divisional meet to prepare their squads for the course they will run in the sectional championship October 31. Early this week, Coach Amato said, “We’ll focus our energy on the small schools championship, that’s the one that determines how many of us will go to states.”

Coach Kinnier is taking a similar approach, having his girls start to run lesser amounts, “decreasing quantity, but not quality to taper off so that we’re in the best condition and most rested” for the sectional. With three runners out ahead at every league meet and three with improving times, Coach Kinnier feels his squad has “a realistic shot” at repeating as Class C champs.

Those top three, Keriann FitzPatrick, Rafaela Gurtler and Amelia Skerys, came in a close 1,2,3 overall in Tuesday’s 22-33 win over Center Moriches. FitzPatrick finished in 21 minutes and 57 seconds, Gertler at 21:58 and Skerys at 22:22. Brianna Kinnier was seventh overall at 25:27 and Aura Skerys ninth at 27:18. Newcomer Olivia Kaminski turned in at time of 31:36 in covering the full course for the first time.

In going to invitationals, Coach Kinnier is looking to find competition that can push the top three and allow them to work at another level. “They did well last weekend in the Manhattan College Invitational in Van Cortland Park. We came in ninth out of 13 against some real high quality schools. Running a short 2.5-mile course, FitzPatrick posted an 18:04, Gertler, an 18:23, and Amelia, an 18:32. Brianna came in at 21:09, Aura at 21:45 and Olivia at 26:03.”

Coach Amato finds his team consistently setting personal bests, Brendan Sheil having made the biggest gains over the course of the season. Sheil finished fifth on Tuesday at 20:39, barely trailing teammates Kai Leo (19:40) and Kyle Fletcher (20:15) who came in first and second respectively. Peter Skerys came in sixth overall at 21:25.


Time to Shine: Golf Wins First, Volleyball Snaps Streak

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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.


Girls’ Volleyball

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.”


Boys’ Soccer

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.  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.”


Boys’ Golf

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.”  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.