By Benito Vila
Â After nearly three weeks of conditioning, drills, practices and scrimmages, now everything counts for the Pierson teams.
Varsity cross-country, golf, soccer and field hockey all have meets and matches this week that will post in their final league standings. Come late October, those standings will determine which teams play on in regional tournaments and which ones will be headed inside to other sports or to work out for next year.
The fun and frenzy starts tomorrow in Mashashimuet Park at 4:30 p.m.; that’s when boys’ varsity soccer opens against Southold and girls’ field hockey comes on to play Comsewogue. Girls’ varsity soccer is away for their opener tomorrow, meeting Center Moriches there, also at 4:30 p.m.
The other openers put Pierson teams on the road next week. Varsity golf is at the South Fork Country Club to tee off with East Hampton Monday and the two cross-country teams are at Red Creek Park to meet Southold Tuesday.
Going into league play, each team has already developed certain strengths and the coaches are fine-tuning their game-day line-ups.
The Whaler golf team has senior Ryan Miller playing number one, with junior Jimmy Fusco, sophomores Jake Weingartner and Dane Riva, and freshman Harrison Bayrami rounding out the top of Coach Sean Crowley’s line-up. The team has a “home” match with Westhampton at the Noyac Golf Course on Wednesday and makes its way to Center Moriches next Thursday.
Boys’ varsity cross-country coach Joe Amato likes what he has to work with this year. Returning is all-league, state qualifier Kai Leo, a senior, who Coach Amato feels has a chance for a “podium finish” at the county championships. Other top Whaler runners include juniors Kyle Fletcher and James Fraizer. Coach Amato described sophomore Brendan Sheil as his “most improved runner” and noted that everyone benefited from running in weekly “captain’s practice” over the summer.
Girls’ varsity cross-country coach Jim Kinnier is returning a squad that took the 2007 county title. Freshman Kerriann FitzPatrick and seniors Amelia Skerys and Rafaela Gertler will once again lead the way with hopes of repeating last fall’s finish.
Girls’ varsity soccer also has a chance to be towards the top of their league. Coach Haley Luzim sees her girls improving their communication and marking on defense. That work paid off Monday, the team holding Hampton Bays scoreless in a scrimmage that saw Kaci Koehne, Amanda Busiello, Natalie Abbene, Kara Gengarelly, and Katie Osiecki score. These Lady Whalers will be home for the first time next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. against Stony Brook.
Varsity field hockey has started off their season hot, coming out ahead in a closely contested three-school scrimmage with Sachem and Southampton last Thursday and then powering past Hampton Bays 9-0 on Monday. Coach Shannon Judge has seen her team improve their “defensive positioning, footwork and ball movement.”
After Monday’s non-league match, Coach Judge reported the midfielders “consistently kept the ball on the Lady Baymen’s side and created opportunities for the forward line.” Sam Federico, Lindsay Warne and Sariah Cafiero each scored twice, with Warne tallying three assists and Cafiero one. Sarah Barrett, Abby Gawronski and Nicole Dorego also scored.
Â Field hockey is home again Monday against Miller Place, then sets off for Centereach Tuesday and is home once again next Thursday to host Southampton. When asked if all the early season home games concerned her, Coach Judge responded, “We can play anywhere, anytime.”
Varsity boys’ soccer coach Donnelly McGovern said he is still “tinkering and putting the pieces in place.” Looking at his Whalers and their schedule, Coach McGovern does not expect any easy games and has told his players they will “need to be ‘on’ for a full 80 minutes in each match.”
Coach McGovern has seen intensity improve in each pre-season game. In Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Mattituck, he felt the team played “more compact as a group and put pressure all over the field”. Pleased there is a dedicated and committed effort to conditioning, practice and field play, Coach McGovern added, “We have a great bunch of boys that are buying into the message that you must work hard all the time if you are going to be successful.”
Â Pierson seniors Casey Crowley, Noah Feinberg, Sam Guest, Joe Mascali, Andrew Mitchell and Chriss Russo join Bridgehamton seniors Cesar Banandos, Eric Cortez and Jairo Lopez in giving the team experience and depth. Coach McGovern expects Pierson junior Jake Federico and sophomore Kyle McGowin to take on leadership roles and see junior keeper Mark Mahoney get settled in goal.