Tag Archive | "Sports"

Longtime Bridgehampton Athletic Director Mary Anne Jules Hangs Up Her Whistle

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Mary Anne Jules hugs a graduating student at the Bridgehampton School graduation Sunday, June 29. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Mary Anne Jules hugs a graduating student at the Bridgehampton School graduation Sunday, June 29. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Tessa Raebeck

For 32 years, Mary Anne Jules has paced the sidelines at Bridgehampton School’s athletic contests, no small feat considering that Bridgehampton students often compete on East Hampton and Sag Harbor teams. After three decades of serving the small, tight-knit district as a physical education teacher and 23 years as its athletic director, Ms. Jules’s retirement was announced at the graduation of the class of 2014 Sunday, June 29.

The school gave Ms. Jules an honorary diploma at graduation and on Tuesday, July 1, she took time from watching the United States play Belgium in the World Cup to confirm her decision.

“I love my career at Bridgehampton,” Ms. Jules said Tuesday. “Believe me, it hasn’t been an easy decision… I’ve loved it there, it’s a great place to work. I’m very fortunate that I had my career there.”

“The district and I are very, very sad for her to go,” said Ronnie White, president of the Bridgehampton School Board. “She put in her time and she was just an extremely integral person, a mentor to our school.”

Ms. Jules’s athletic career extends past her time in Bridgehampton; She played sports her whole life and was a four-sport varsity athlete at Baldwin High School up-island, playing field hockey, volleyball, basketball and softball.

Mary Anne Jules, second from left, smiles as she watches her students graduate from Bridgehampton School Sunday, June 29. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Mary Anne Jules, second from left, smiles as she watches her students graduate from Bridgehampton School Sunday, June 29. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

“Back then in my day, you could play four varsity sports, that’s changed since then,” said Ms. Jules, adding, “I’ve been pretty active my whole life.”

After shining at Baldwin, a large district in Nassau County, she was invited to play basketball at SUNY-Cortland in upstate New York—and quickly made the lacrosse team, too.

“I didn’t play lacrosse ’til college,” Ms. Jules said. “I just got lucky, I tried out for college lacrosse and I ended up making the team, so I was pretty fortunate.”

Some would argue that, in addition to luck, her athleticism had something to do with it.

After graduating from Cortland, Ms. Jules was a substitute teacher in Syracuse for a year and then took the position as Bridgehampton’s physical education teacher in 1982. While teaching, she got her master’s degree at Southampton College and her administration degree at Dowling College.

“If you’ve been involved in athletics, you know what a difference athletics makes in a kid’s life…I call it the laboratory for life,” she said. “I went to a great phys. ed. program and that’s why I wanted to become a phys. ed. teacher.”

While still acting as the school’s physical education teacher in 1991 Ms. Jules also became athletic director for the district. She also served as president of Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school sports, from 2010 to 2012.

After years of wearing many hats and watching many games, Ms. Jules intends to spend her duly earned free time doing none other than watching games, but under the sole hat of doting aunt.

Three of her nephews play college-level lacrosse and she has several nieces and nephews involved in high school sports, so she will be catching up on watching them play, in addition to continuing to follow the careers of her Bridgehampton students.

“In all the years I’ve been there, they’re good kids,” Ms. Jules said of Bridgehampton. “In a small environment you get so much support, it’s a huge family…I’m just very appreciative and grateful for the career I’ve had and I will miss Bridgehampton School a lot, I really will.”

“It’s such a unique job in that you can teach from 4-year-olds to seniors. As a physical educator, I can teach all those kids. I can watch them grow. After that I go to graduation parties, I go to weddings, you really get to know the kids so well,” she said.

Mr. White said Ms. Jules, who lives in Water Mill, has promised to come back and visit from time to time.

“She will be missed, she is loved,” he said.

“That’s what’s so special about [Bridgehampton],” said Ms. Jules, “kids don’t fall through the cracks there. They get a lot of support and you can really become very close to the students. And you can make a difference, every day you can make a difference in the school.”

Whalers Baseball Challenged Early

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Pierson shortstop James Sherry waits to make a tag at second base against Southampton last week.

Pierson shortstop James Sherry waits to make a tag at second base against Southampton last week.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Gavin Menu

One week into the spring season and the Pierson baseball team has already gone on a rollercoaster of a ride.

Preparing for a trimmed down league schedule compared to years past, the Whalers have been “fortunate” to open the season with a competitive series of non-league games against larger schools, according to head coach Jon Tortorella, who believes the early challenges will be beneficial for a team expected to make another deep run in the postseason this year.

The Whalers let a six-run lead slip away against Southampton on opening day at Mashashimuet Park last Thursday. Senior ace Forrest Loesch started the game and left after four innings with a comfortable 7-1 lead. James Sherry pitched well in relief, but four defensive errors led to seven unearned runs and, ultimately, a 10-7 win for the Mariners.

Pierson bounced back with an 8-1 road win at Mercy on Friday and capped the week with a 3-2 loss to Westhampton Beach on Monday. The Hurricanes, who expect to make the playoffs in Class A this year, won in walk-off fashion with a tie-breaking run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“Good game, good team,” Tortorella said about the Hurricanes. “They scored two in the first, and one in the bottom of the seventh. They had two outs, and their kid hit a single to right to score the winning run.”

Tim Markowski picked up the win with a complete game against Mercy and Nick Kruel pitched well against Westhampton in wintery conditions, going the distance with his trademark knuckleball.

All in all, Tortorella said his pitching staff has been as good as advertised so far this season.

“I’ve been pleased with our pitching, big time,” Tortorella said. “They’re not in mid-season form and they’re still finding their stuff. It’s nice to see them battle through and gut out some innings even though they don’t have their best stuff yet.”

Against Southampton, a lively home crowd came out for spring-like weather in Sag Harbor and Pierson’s bats were alive during an explosive first inning. Johnny Chisholm kicked things off with a triple, and came home on an RBI single by Loesch. The Whalers batted through the lineup, with Aaron Schiavoni, Loesch, Markowski, Kruel and Jack Fitzpatrick all coming around to score.

Loesch scored again in the bottom of the second, but the Whalers bats went quiet for the remainder of the afternoon, and the defense fell apart late with Sherry on the mound. Southampton scored five runs in the top of the fifth inning, and four more in the top of the seventh. Pierson finished with a total of six errors.

“After Thursday, we really cleaned our defense up,” Tortorella said. “We scored six runs in the second inning against Mercy, and our pitching was the same. I was happy with our defense and how they responded.”

The Whalers will play one last non-league game tomorrow, March 28, at East Hampton at 4 p.m. The League IX season will begin with a three-game series against Smithtown Christian, starting on the road Monday at 4:30 p.m. The series will return to Sag Harbor for game two on Thursday, April 3 at 4:30 p.m. and will wrap up back at Smithtown Christian on April 4, also at 4:30 p.m.

East Hampton Track Teams Hosts First-Ever Invitational

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The East Hampton boys and girls track teams hosted the school’s first-ever invitational on Saturday, with several Pierson students posting standout results. Ian Barrett and Gavin O’Brien placed second and third, respectively, in the 200-meter dash, with Barrett posting a time of 26 seconds flat. O’Brien finished right behind in 26.7 seconds.

Allura Leggard, another Pierson student, finished in second place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.8 seconds.

In total, East Hampton hosted three boys teams in Hampton Bays, Southampton and Westhampton, while the girls hosted four teams in Eastport-South Manor, Sayville, Southampton and Westhampton Beach.

The boys will compete at Comsewogue today, March 27, at 4 p.m. before returning home to host Eastport-South Manor on Tuesday, April 1 at 4 p.m. The girls will travel to Eastport-South Manor for a meet on Monday, March 31 at 4:30 p.m.

Pierson’s Independent Athletes Compete With Other Local Schools

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Pierson High School Junior Yves Bourel, has been swimming for the YMCA’s team, the Hurricanes, for a few years, but this season he swam independently for the East Hampton High School team as well. Before attending Pierson High School, Bourel swam independently for McGann-Mercy High School. This year, he competed independently along side 11 others from East Hampton High School, not as a team, but as individual competitors. Now his coach, Tom Cohill, says that Bourel has been working hard to beat his best times in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

“He has been doing well this season,” coach Cohill said of Bourel, whom he has worked with for a number of years.

“He swims strong,” the coach said, “and he swings around well.” He said that Bourel tends to be more of a “sprinter” in terms of his swimming.

Bourel said that he believes he is swimming well, but he is hoping there might be a full swim team next year. He swam seven days a week this season, attending practices Monday through Friday for the high school and devoting his Saturdays and Sundays to the Hurricane team.

“With the high school team he often gets to choose which events he does,” Cohill said, “but with the Hurricanes he does more races that he isn’t accustomed to doing.” Last week, the coach said that although Bourel was a bit nervous about competing in the individual medley, “he got up and did the best he could.”

“Since this is the first year of the program I have some expectations and I have some ideas to build the program,” said Cohill.

“I think they are doing well,” the coach said of all 12 swimmers. “Right now it’s more about building a program and getting kids that have never swam before. In the future they will improve very nicely.”


Boys Track

The Pierson boy’s winter track students competed independently for the Ross School this season. It was the first time the school conducted a winter track season.

“In general the season was a moderate success,” Coach Jim Kinnier said, “we could not practice on a track, so that made it difficult.” Kinnier added that the kids were able to practice in Southampton on their track a few times throughout the season.

On Monday, the Small Schools County Championship was held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood where Kinnier said he noticed improvements with all the boys, although he didn’t have any winners or placers.

Pierson junior Stephen Early ran the 55-meter, the 300-meter  and was the leader in the 800-meter relay. The four runners in the relay qualified for the championship and ran their best of 1:57.6 seconds.

Another Pierson Junior, Mike Remkus also ran his best on Monday in the 55-meter race in 8.7 seconds. Remkus also ran the 600-meter in 2:14.

Pierson freshman, Peter Skerys, also ran in the relay team on Monday. Skerys ran the 1000-meter and the 1600-meter race that day as well. At the championship, Skerys ran his best time during the 1000-meter race at 3:23.9, which was an improvement of 13 seconds.


Girl’s Track

This year, the girl’s winter track season was short, according to Coach Yanina Cuesta.

It was a mix of the bad weather, illness and prior commitments, according to the coach.

Olivia Broich, a junior, has been doing well, said Cuesta. She competed in the 600-meter all season and “started strong.”

“She never placed within the meets but finished with a season’s best of 2:11:05,” Cuesta reported.

Sophomore Jessica Warne, was new to the team this season and according to the coach it was “a nice surprise.” She competed in the 55-meter and the 300-meter. “Unfortunately, she lost out on the last two meets of the season due to getting hurt,” said Cuesta,

Her best times were 7.93 for the 55-meter and 49.10 in the 300-meter race.


Pierson Wrestlers

Pierson juniors Kyle McGowan and Dane Riva, who wrestle for East Hampton, will compete at a tournament at Harbor Fields on Saturday. Coach Jim Stewart said if they qualify in the top three or four position, they would go to the county tournament the following weekend at the Nassau Coliseum. The coach said sophomores Christian Gonzales and Nico McMahon may also compete. 


Students Win Fall Sports Awards

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By Benito Vila


Field Hockey Honorees

There were 23 Pierson student athletes honored this fall by Suffolk County’s coaches and administrators for their contributions and successes on and off the field of play. The Pierson athletic offices released the names of all those selected before the Thanksgiving break and all but the six field hockey honorees found their names in print.

Those six collected their awards Tuesday night at the county’s field hockey coaches’ banquet. Lindsay Warne earned All-County honors, with Alexa Lantiere and Megan Pintauro coming home with All-County Honorable Mention. Aly Bori was selected All-Conference and Sam Federico All-Division. Abby Gawronski earned All-Tournament honors.

Pierson varsity field hockey coach Shannon Judge was chosen for the Suffolk County Division III coaches’ award after leading her team to an all-time program-best 14-2 finish. This divisional coaching award went to Lady Whaler Debbie Jayne in 1999 and Coach Judge’s high school coach, Nancy Cole, in 1997.

With several Lady Whalers already playing on travel teams, the local field hockey off-season started last night. Coach Judge and her Southampton counterpart, Kim Hannigan, are hosting Wednesday evening clinics throughout the winter for girls in grades three through eight at SYS on Majors Path, Southampton. For more information on these clinics, contact Kim Hannigan at 680-9398.


Teams Earn High Marks

Beyond the numerous individual honors, Pierson teams earned nine scholar-athlete and sportsmanship awards this fall. Keeping their collective grade-point averages above 90 were three Lady Whaler teams: varsity volleyball, varsity soccer and varsity field hockey.

Maintaining their composure despite the intensity of competition were three Whaler teams–varsity soccer, varsity cross-country and middle school soccer–and three Lady Whaler squads: JV field hockey, varsity soccer and varsity volleyball.

Pierson athletic director Bill Madsen called the team honors “pretty impressive”, noting the sportsmanship awards are given by opposing coaches and the collective challenge of maintaining high grades.


Leaders To Conference

Sophomore Gavin Kudlak and junior Aly Bori have been selected to represent Pierson this morning at the Section XI Safety Conference in Wading River. This workshop is designed to help school districts develop student leaders at the high school level.

As part of this statewide program, each local district is asked to select one male and one female student-athlete in either their sophomore or junior years for the conference. The hope is that the districts will benefit from the presence, involvement and influence of these students throughout the current school year and beyond.

Pierson Fall Sports: More Than Just Numbers

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By Benito Vila


Field hockey, 14-2; boys’ soccer, 6-11; boys’ golf, 4-7, volleyball 9-7; girls’ cross-country 4-2; a collective 45-39-1 across the seven varsity sports and 86-64-6 overall. Whatever it all adds up to, the numbers don’t tell the story of Pierson sports this fall.

The Lady Whalers set the pace this year, the cross-country team repeating as county champs and field hockey raising the all-time regular-season win mark. The newest high school sports, girls’ soccer and girls’ volleyball, introduced as JV teams just within the last five years, also made their mark in earning first-ever posts-season berths.

That’s not to say the boys were slackers. The cross-country team sent representatives to the state meet for the tenth consecutive year; varsity golf finished off the season with a three-game win-streak behind a hard-working combination of underclassmen; and soccer overcame a heart-wrenching 0-7 start by winning six of its last ten.

The effort on the courts, fields and fairways this fall was certainly noticed by opposing coaches, with 23 Whalers being honored for their play and skill by Suffolk County (Section XI) officials. And although the three Lady Whaler playoff teams saw a quick end to their season in first-round losses, it did little to tarnish brilliant seasons.

Top Performers

When coaches talked about who made a difference, the leadership of seniors Megan Pintauro, Sam Federico, Kai Leo, Ryan Miller, Andrew Mitchell, Devon Larsen, Brianna Hand, Danielle Schiavoni, Katie Osiecki, Rafaela Gurtler and Amelia Skerys were names that came up time and time again. Pintauro pushed the ball upfield in the field hockey attack feeding the right side that set up Federico for a school record 16 goals. Leo led a young cross-country team with consistent effort while Miller kept things loose on the course and allowed his middle school teammates to comfortably settle in.

Meanwhile, Mitchell found himself in varied roles for the soccer Whalers and learned when to hold back in the midfield and when to charge, making a difference in the team’s turnaround. Osiecki did the same for the girls, jumping into goal at times and taking control of the midfield with or without the ball. Larsen, Hand and Schiavoni started with the volleyball program as middle schoolers and were key communicators on the court as the varsity posted its first winning season. And Gurtler and Skerys kept their team together after two slight setbacks that might have unnerved lesser runners

The play of underclassmen Lindsay Warne, Aly Bori, Abby Gawronski, Tyler Gilbride, Jake Federico, Kyle McGowin, Mark Mahoney, Kaci Koehne and Amanda Busiello have their coaches eager to get back to the park. Given the success they had this season, it’s no doubt that Kyle Fletcher, Keriann FitzPatrick, Jake Weingartner, Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon will keep working on their technique this summer long before cross-country and golf start up again.

Better All the Time

When asked what he knew about Pierson sports before he arrived in Sag Harbor, first-year athletic director Bill Madsen said, “I hadn’t heard a whole lot. I knew it was a small school with no football, no wrestling, things you find at the bigger schools. Field hockey had a reputation, but I wasn’t expecting much coming in.” 

Taking stock of his first athletic season, Madsen was impressed at the effort of the four Lady Whaler teams and that “we were able to compete at such a high level in all four sports.” Noting that, “Wins and losses get distorted when you look for them too much,” Madsen added, “It means more when you see a team getting better every day.” He cited the turnaround made by the Whaler soccer team as being one of the best all-around performances this fall.

Madsen said he has three questions for coaches and players at the end of every season: “First, did you get better; second, did you make someone else better and third, did your team get better. If you can answer all three with a ‘yes’, I’d call that a successful season.”

When asked what he felt needs some attention, Madsen offered, “Our philosophy. I’d like to see everyone, especially our varsity coaches, to think of each sport in terms of a program, as having its own curriculum. I’d like to raise the expectations of students, coaches and parents, so that no one settles for being mediocre, ever.”

Post-Season Goods

Each of the following honorees will receive commemorative plaques for their play this fall and be acknowledged this spring at the Pierson sports award banquet.

All-League: Volleyball: Danielle Schiavoni, Brianna Hand and Devon Larson; Girls’ soccer: Kaci Koehne; Girls’ cross-country: Keriann FitzPatrick, Amelia Skerys and Rafaela Gurtler; Boys’ cross-country: Kai Leo with Kyle Fletcher earning honorable mention; Boys’ soccer: Noah Feinberg; Golf: Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon. Volleyball’s Hand also earned all-tournament honors.

All-Conference: Boys’ soccer: Andrew Mitchell and Jake Federico; Girls’ soccer: Katie Osiecki and Natalie Abbene.

All-Division: Keriann FitzPatrick

All-County Academic: Andrew Mitchell

Seven Lady Whalers from the field hockey program earned all-tournament, all-county, all-conference and all-division honors. Those names will be announced December 3 at the Section XI field hockey awards banquet.

Varsity Girls Soccer vs. Smithtown Christian Oct. 17

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Hard Work Pays Off: Volleyball Makes Playoffs; Other Teams Finish Strong

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By Benito Vila

 “Hard work.” The phrase breaks every sideline huddle for Pierson boys’ soccer.

It’s what coaches everywhere want to see consistently from their players and teams. It’s a willingness to consistently do what it takes to win and a commitment not to accept anything else from themselves and each other.

That determined approach is paying off for all the Whaler teams as fall sports wind down. The past week saw girls’ volleyball clinch their first-ever playoff berth with a win in Greenport Wednesday while boys’ soccer and golf enjoyed their first extended win-streaks.

The cross-country teams took to the road this past weekend running at the Brown University Invitational. The elite competition there brought out a slew of personal bests and provided a last “all-out” run before next week’s county class championships.


What’s Ahead

The coming week will see the volleyball team close out regular-season play with matches at Shelter Island today and Center Moriches Tuesday. Those two teams are atop League VIII and should provide the Lady Whalers tournament-like intensity.

Emotion and effort are sure to be evident in Mashashimuet Park today as girls’ soccer hosts Southold/Greenport at 4 p.m. in a match with playoff implications.

Pierson golf’s final outing will have less on the line but may be just as pressure-packed. The team hosts the 23rd annual Pumpkin Classic today at the Bridge, varsity and JV players each inviting an adult family member or a golfing aficionado for a friendly challenge match.

Those contests finish off Pierson’s fall athletic schedule. The county’s high school athletic directors will be finalizing post-season play over the next few days. Pierson field hockey and volleyball are sure to play on with both cross-country squads likely to have representation at the state meet.


First-Ever Berth

Girls’ volleyball co-captain Devon Larsen scored on 11 consecutive serves in the deciding game of last Wednesday’s match in Greenport to give the varsity its first-ever tournament berth. The 25-7 game-four final was the team’s most one-sided win of the season and set off a celebration five years in the making.

The Lady Whalers took game one, 25-14, dropped the second, 18-25, rallied back in game three, 25-17, and then dominated the fourth. Samara Finkenauer had six kills and two blocks and Tanasha Clark added six kills, four blocks and one assist. The match also saw both teams wearing pink as part of Dig Pink, a national volleyball-based breast cancer awareness program and fundraiser.

On Tuesday in the seniors’ final home match, the team improved its record to 8-4 in league play and 9-4 overall by sweeping Stony Brook 28-26, 25-20 and 25-12. Coach Stacey Springer said the close outcome in the first game was due to the team being “too pumped up at first. But they came back and held their own.” Brianna Hand had two aces, one dig and 27 assists, while Xylia Serafy added six digs in nailing down the win.

When asked about preparing for the Class D championship at Shelter Island on Halloween, Coach Springer said, “We’ll keep doing what we’re doing, and take it one game at a time. We’ll keep improving with drills at the net, getting after line and angle shots and working on our blocking. We’ll keep having team competitions in practice; I want their intensity to be there.”


Fast Times

Sustaining intensity and fitness is also a year-end theme for cross-country coaches Joe Amato and Jim Kinnier. Both saw their teams individually and collectively run season-best 5Ks in Rhode Island Saturday and then run well in the county-wide divisional meet in Sunken Meadow Tuesday.

Coach Amato described the challenges of running two such races in a period of four days and plans to “taper” the boys’ workouts. “This [between now and the county championships next Friday] is a rebuilding period. We’ll cut back on mileage and get re-energized.” Coach Kinnier will employ a similar strategy to “let the girls regenerate and rest. That way we’ll be in the best physical and mental shape of the season next Friday.”

At the Brown University Invitational, Keriann FitzPatrick came in 28 out of 208 female runners at 20 minutes and 15 seconds. Amelia Skerys was the team’s second finisher at 21:20, followed by Rafaela Gurtler at 21:32. Those three, along with teammates Brianna Kinnier, 23:51, Aura Skerys, 23:53 and Olivia Kaminski, all set personal bests Saturday.

Tuesday saw all the girls turn in respectable times at Sunken Meadow where the county championship and state meets will be held. Coach Kinnier said he’s “happy where the girls are right now” and predicted, “It’s going to be close between us and Stony Brook for the Class D title.”

According to Coach Amato, “The kids had a great trip [to Rhode Island] which included a tour of the Brown campus on Friday. The start [Saturday] had between 200-300 runners and it was a little tough to get position, which is a good learning experience. Kai Leo ran an 18:20, Kyle Fletcher a 19:36 and Brendan Sheil a 20:38; each was a personal record.” He described Tuesday as an “OK day for his team”, adding, “We familiarized ourselves with the course which is a hard one and there were no setbacks. Our big prize is on the 31st and having one or more [runners] qualify for states.”


Depth Makes for Wins

 “The story of our week is three [wins] in a row,” announced coach Sean Crowley on Friday. A 9-0 sweep of Ross Thursday followed a 7-2 non-league win over Shelter Island last Wednesday and an 8-1 victory over Center Moriches last Tuesday.

 In the Ross match at the Noyac Golf Club, senior captain Ryan Miller recorded a team-low 43. Jake Weingartner, Dillon Decker, Gabe Denon, Dane Riva and Christian Deger also posted wins. Coach Crowley said, “the win shows our depth, with all eight [golfers] playing in the 40s.”


The Shelter Island win saw Weingartner, Miller, Denon and Deger make the most of the matches on the Gardiners Bay Golf Club course. Denon, at 45, and Deger, at 47, came in with the team’s lowest rounds.

 The Whaler run ended Tuesday in Southampton with an 8-1 loss to the league leaders. Harrison Bayrami, playing in the fifth position, shot a 49 and recorded the lone Pierson point. Decker, 44, Denon, 45, and Weingartner, 45, kept their matches close. The boys finished their season 3-6 in league play and 4-6 overall.


More Confidence

Boys’ varsity soccer tallied two wins this week, running their record to 5-8 in league play going into yesterday’s finale with Stony Brook in the park. Last Thursday the Whalers mauled Mercy 5-1, breaking open a 1-1 halftime with four second-half goals. Monday the boys raced past Ross, 5-0, keeper Mark Mahoney posting his first shutout of the season.

In describing his team’s successes, coach Donnelly McGovern said, “Playing the way we have of late, the boys had a great deal more confidence going into those games. We went down 0-1 against Mercy, but a nice individual effort by Noah Feinberg allowed us to equalize then we took control of the match. We created opportunities by winning the fifty-fifty balls in the middle and attacking with speed. That mentality continued against Ross. We will definitely need to step it up even more to be successful against Stony Brook.”

Also scoring against Mercy were Andrew Mitchell, Eric Cortes, Casey Crowley and Christian Gonzalez, with Tyler Gilbride contributing an assist. Crowley scored a pair against Ross, with Kyle McGowin, Jairo Lopez and Gabe Garro each netting 



All Varsity Teams Tally Wins

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By Benito Vila


Wins. It’s what most fans want out of sports. It’s how they measure success, even though that outcome often says more about the competition than it does about the team.

To those who coach and play, sports are about confidence, competition and teamwork, working intently to make the most of moments that are quickly gone. It’s a process of review, learning, improving and preparing anew, all undeniably more satisfying when the team comes out ahead.

Coming out ahead was an experience players on all seven Pierson varsity squads enjoyed this week. Boys’ soccer rolled up two wins, outscoring Ross 2-1 Friday and Smithtown Christian 7-1 Tuesday; girls’ soccer rebounded from a 4-0 loss to undefeated league-leader Center Moriches Friday to rally past Mercy 3-1 Monday; boys’ cross-country came in ahead of Hampton Bays 19-38 Tuesday to post their first win, while the girls’ team improved to 3-2 outpacing Port Jefferson 18-37 Thursday and Shelter Island 15-40 Tuesday; boys’ golf notched four individual wins this week, total strokes keeping the team from the top spot Tuesday in Westhampton.

With just two weeks left in the fall schedule, two girls’ teams are closest to clinching post-season play. Volleyball finished off Ross 3-1 Friday to improve to 5-3 in league play and 6-3 overall, moving into fourth place in the standings. With an 8-2 mark, field hockey is also fourth in its divisional rankings, a 1-0 win at Comsewogue Friday and a shoot-out loss to higher-ranked Miller Place Tuesday helping hold their position.


The Week Ahead

The Whaler varsities are playing away for the most part this week. Girls’ soccer is at Stony Brook tomorrow and Port Jefferson Wednesday; field hockey is at Southampton tomorrow at 4 p.m. and at Greenport/Southold Tuesday. Friday’s schedule also finds boys’ soccer in Greenport and girls’ volleyball in at Port Jefferson.

It will be much easier to see the teams play next week with volleyball hosting Mercy Monday at 2 p.m. and soccer home Tuesday against Port Jefferson at 4:30 p.m. Next Thursday field hockey has its last home game, William Floyd coming in for a 4 p.m. start; boys’ soccer will also be in the park, meeting Mercy at 4:30 p.m. Golf tees off in Noyac at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday with Center Moriches and again on Thursday with Ross to close out their home schedule.


A Fearsome Foursome

Varsity golf coach Sean Crowley has been adjusting his one-to-four line-up from match to match. Dillon Decker, Gabe Denon, Ryan Miller and Jake Weingartner have played on par with one another and Coach Crowley describes them as “very close in stroke average. The lineup can change from day to day. It just depends on who’s hot.”

On Thursday in Noyac, Weingartner came away with the team’s only win against East Hampton, shooting a 46 from the number four spot. In Westhampton Tuesday, Miller at 46 and Denon at 48 took their matches, as did Weingartner with a team-low 45.


Breakthrough Results

Boys’ cross country coach Joe Amato saw his team take five of the first six finishing position in posting their win Tuesady. Kai Leo led all runners at 20 minutes, one second, with Kyle Fletcher, 20:29 and Brendan Sheil, 21:17, second and third respectively. Peter Skerys, 21:43, and Paul Dorego, 21:53, took fifth and sixth.

Coach Amato described the day as “a breakthrough race. We’re coming into stride and our hard work at the beginning is starting to pay off.” Next up for the boys are the Westhampton Invitational on Friday, a meet with Center Moriches at Sunken Meadow on Tuesday and a regional invitational at Brown University next weekend. That will prepare the team for the divisional and sectional meets at the end of the month that determines which teams and runners head to the state finals.

The girls’ team has a trio of runners–Keriann FitzPatrick, Amelia Skerys and Rafaela Gurtler–routinely finishing in front of the pack. In the win over Shelter Island, each ran their best times, Fitzpatrick, first overall at 21:49, with Skerys in at 23:02 and Gurtler at 23:03. Brianna Kinnier, 25:22, and Aura Skerys, 25:40, also had personal bests Tuesday. In last Thursday’s win over Port Jefferson, FitzPatrick led all finishers, 21:57, and Amelia Skerys, 22:41, was third.


Hard Work Pays Off

With a 3-1 loss at Stony Brook last Thursday dropping the boys’ soccer record to 1-6, it would have been easy for the squad to lose the intensity and drive that has kept them in every game. Fortunately the players and their faithful fans saw a quick turnaround, the wins Friday and Tuesday pushing them back into the playoff hunt. The Whalers have five games left, only let downs and two more losses can keep them from a berth.

Coach Donnelly McGovern is still fine-tuning his lineups and combinations. He wants to see midfield play that “battles across the whole field. We keep getting caught even with our forwards. That keeps us from getting back quickly enough to defend.” Coach McGovern is also dedicating more practice time to “finishing. We create chances every game. We have to get the ball in the net more.”

That emphasis paid off Tuesday with six players scoring in avenging an early season loss. Casey Crowley knocked in two and delivered four assists while Noah Feinberg, Andrew Mitchell, Jeffrey Schimmer, Christian Gonzalez and Kyle McGowin each netted one.

In describing the win, Coach McGovern said, “We dictated the play. Defensively we played as a unit and closed their options down. Andrew played a tough match winning the battle of the middle in the air. We countered quickly on them. Casey played with urgency and created numerous opportunities that we finished.”


Comeback Lifts Ladies

Down 1-0 to Mercy Monday, the girls’ soccer team scored three times to come home with the win and renewed confidence. Coach Haley Luzim said, “We came out strong and then just put them away. It was big [after a loss to Center Moriches] and it sets us up well for Stony Brook. We’re there under the lights Friday for their homecoming and we have to do the same thing to quiet their crowd.”

In looking back at the week, Coach Luzim praised the improving play of her defensive backfield, Kaci Koehne and Diana Roderiguez at fullback and Alexia Farraguna at stopper. She continues to see solid play from Annie Osiecki in goal, Kara Gengerally at sweeper, Katie Osiecki in the midfield, and Amanda Busiello and Natalie Abbene in front. Abbene, Kathryn Heine and Olivia Broich had Monday’s goals with Osiecki keeping 14 shots out of the net.


Almost There

Three years ago varsity wins were few and far between for volleyball coach Stacey Springer. She came into this year though with “high hopes. Sixteen girls went to camp this summer and I felt pretty good coming in.”

That off-season work has paid off, with a winning record and a chance at making post-season play for the first time. Coach Springer says, “Each day this season I’ve seen them get a little bit better. Now, other coaches are complimenting me on how well they communicate; they’ve done that themselves. We’re almost there in terms of offense and defense and this year [in our league] anybody can do it.”

The win over Ross Friday saw Tanasha Clark come up with eight kills, a block and a dig to keep the team on track. Danielle Schiavoni added eight kills and two aces. The leadership of Brianna Hand and the passing of Devon Larsen and Katelyn Grodski helped the Lady Whalers take the last two games after the Lady Ravens had tied the match at one game apiece.


Playoff Intensity

The field hockey Lady Whalers have been the darlings of the fall sports scene thus far, posting an impressive 3.2 goal per game average while allowing a miniscule .5 points per game. Coach Shannon Judge does not see her team resting on its laurels, saying “Things can change so quickly in our division. Everything is based on power rankings [not wins and losses]. You lose to a lesser-ranked team and you can find yourself out of the playoffs.”

Friday’s 1-0 win at eighth-ranked Comsewogue saw Alexa Lantiere score late in the first half and goalkeeper Christy Deery go on to record her seventh shutout. Pierson controlled play for most of the game, earning 14 corners while surrendering just four.

Playoff intensity was evident Tuesday at Miller Place as the team sought to avenge its only loss, a 2-0 heartbreaker at home. The Lady Panthers took an early 1-0 lead, but Samantha Federico rocketed in a crossing pass from Nicole Dorego to even the score with nine minutes left in the first half. From there on the game remained scoreless, through the second half and into overtime.

In that 49 minutes of high-pressure field hockey, Miller Place earned 21 corners and took 10 shots while Pierson drew 11 corners and managed four shots. Deery’s play in the overtime kept a sustained attack by the Lady Panthers from getting the ball in goal, forcing the result to be decided by penalty strokes.

With each team getting a five-shot sequence on the strokes, Pierson shot first and scored twice. Deery blocked two of the first four shots but the fifth one found the back of the box to give Miller Place the win. Coach Judge came away anything but disappointed, saying, “It was good to see us play with a higher caliber of intensity. We did what we had to do. We played aggressive. Aly Bori kept us together in the middle both ways and Megan Pintauro kept Christy from having to do more. We have to keep doing what we’re doing. We have to keep scoring. That’ll keep us where we want to be.”

Pierson Sports: Homecoming Part II

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By Benito Vila

 Last weekend’s washout saw the Pierson athletic department scramble to reschedule homecoming festivities and five home games. Elizabeth Marchisella, assistant to athletic director Bill Masden, described last Friday as, “a rotten mess.” Both Marchisella and Masden spent most of the day negotiating with other schools and finding another way to celebrate homecoming.

Their solution is a novel one. The annual bonfire on Long Beach will be this Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m., making the event perhaps more an end-of-summer celebration than the traditional “beat-‘em-up” pep-rally. The Homecoming parade will roll up Main Street to Mashashimuet Park Sunday morning at 9 a.m. and is likely to surprise those few who usually have the town to themselves at that hour. As is the custom, class skits in front of the parade floats will end the festivities in the park.

Despite all the schedule changes, nothing could keep the varsity field hockey team from rolling on this week, the team improving to 8-1 in Divisional play and 10-1 overall. Forward Samanthe Federico recorded five goals in the team’s two games to break the school’s single-season goal mark. Federico now has 16 goals with six games left, easily surpassing the 13 scored by Bethany Semlear last year.

This week’s schedule has the Lady Whalers on the road, at Comsewogue tomorrow and Miller Place on Tuesday. With that team away, soccer will be the main event for those looking to see Pierson play. Boys’ varsity soccer is home behind Pierson tomorrow at 4 p.m., in a rescheduled match with Ross and returns to the park Tuesday to host Smithtown Christian at 4:30 p.m. Girls’ varsity soccer is also home tomorrow, taking the field in the park against Center Moriches at 4:30 p.m.

There are other matches and meets for Pierson teams this week. Boys’ varsity golf hosts East Hampton at the Noyac Golf Club today and girls’ varsity volleyball is home in the gym against Ross tomorrow at 4 p.m. The cross-country teams travel to Sunken Meadow today to meet Port Jefferson and run in Red Creek Park Tuesday with Hampton Bays.


Young Golfers Lead


Despite a team loss to Southampton last Thursday, the play of eighth graders Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon earned praise from varsity golf coach Sean Crowley. Decker, teeing off at number one, came away with his first varsity win, while Denon turned in a team-low round of 43. Coach Crowley, delighted by their performances, called the young pair “pound for pound, the best golfers in the league.”

The 13-year old Decker relishes matching up with much older players, explaining, “They tend to be 17 or 18 and more than six feet tall. I’m only five feet and I can see they underestimate me. It makes me want to win more.” That kind of motivation is key to Decker’s success, with weekly lessons following practice after a summer spent making the rounds on courses from Montauk to Manorville.

Meanwhile, Denon finds playing varsity golf has helped him focus on his strengths, which he describes as, “the short game: putting and irons.” Knowing his rivals will out-drive him, Denon says, “I make sure I hit straight shots, play it safe and avoid risks.” In sinking a 35-foot putt for a birdie on the first hole Thursday, Denon set himself up to finish the 9-hole round with just 13 putts, one-putting six times in all. Coach Crowley recounted, “Gabe was excited with his 43 and he should be.”


Whalers Win First


Boys’ varsity soccer broke into the win column last Wednesday, coming home from Mercy with a 7-2 triumph. Christian Gonzalez scored four times and Tyler Gilbride tallied his first varsity goal in breaking open a close game. Gilbride also added an assist while Stephen Early had two.

The win came after a series of narrow losses, Coach Donnelly McGovern saying, “It clicked. We stepped it up. We closed down their scoring option and we moved the ball well. We played with a sense of urgency and finished the opportunities we created.”

Things were different in Monday’s 2-0 loss in Southold, Coach McGovern reporting, “We allowed them to dictate play”, but noting, “Mark Mahoney played a great game in goal.” Senior sweeper Andrew Mitchell echoed his coach’s praise of the junior keeper adding, “Mark saved us a lot of goals.”

Mahoney, in goal for the varsity for the first time after just two years playing the position, says he’s still learning how to “control the game from the back and let the defense know where to go. I’m starting to call out who should mark who.” Mitchell, who often plays directly in front of Mahoney, feels his keeper has “become more aggressive and gotten a lot better.”

In considering the team’s season thus far, Mitchell said, “We compete. We’re always hustling. We’re in every game. We just need to finish more.” Looking ahead to the team’s upcoming matches this week against Stony Brook, Ross and Smithtown Christian, Mitchell added, “We can get these. We had Smithtown the first time but they got away and we’re better than we were last time we played [the other two].”

The boys go into today’s match at Stony Brook, 1-6 in league play. Coach McGovern sees his players “improving their reads and moving better without the ball. But, we’ve got to dictate play more. If we do that we’ll be happy with the results.”


Comeback Undone


Girls’ varsity soccer saw Southold/Greenport make off with a last-minute 4-3 win Monday, undoing a comeback from a 3-0 halftime deficit and dropping their league record to 2-4.

A goal by right wing Natalie Abbene early in the second half sparked the Pierson attack. Sweeper Kaci Koehne noted, “After Natalie scored, we started thinking, ‘We got this.’” Midfielder Katie Osiecki felt the same thing, saying, “We saw that we could play with them and we stepped it up.” Osiecki added a goal and Abbene another in evening up the match at 3-3.

Osiecki, a senior, saw her seventh-grade sister Annie have another strong game in goal, until a breakaway set up Southold for the winning score. The elder Osiecki said, “Annie’s been great. It’s a real learning experience for her”; a sentiment shared by Koehne, who added, “Annie’s amazing. She works well with all of us.”

Osiecki believes the team, in just its second season at the varsity level, can still reach the county playoffs. “That’s been our goal from the beginning. We’ve already done better than last season and we have six games left.”


No Let Up

Just over 15 minutes into Monday’s match with Hampton Bays, the Pierson varsity field hockey team led 4-0. Sam Federico fired up the home crowd by knocking in all four goals to shatter the school scoring mark.

From her position in the backfield, Megan Pintauro believes the Lady Whalers’ passing and positioning will keep Federico adding to her total. “She’s playing that back post the way you’re supposed to,” explained Pintauro on Tuesday, “We’re feeding it in to her and she’s taking advantage of being behind the goalie. It’s great.”

Pintauro has been thrilled by the team’s start saying, “I never thought we’d be 10-1.” She attributes that success to the way the team works, and points out, “Everybody hustles in practice. No one is kidding around. No one takes field hockey as a joke at all.” Meanwhile, tri-captain Anna Verneuille is less surprised at the team’s ranking, admitting she “came into the season with high expectations because we worked together all summer and we’re passionate about our game.”

With four games on the road before the final home game against William Floyd on October 16, Verneuille “does not want to let up and I don’t think we will. We can play well wherever we go.” Pintauro feels especially ready for Tuesday’s match at Miller Place, where Pierson can avenge its only loss, suggesting, “We’re stronger than we were. And they can’t fool us anymore.”