There was more than just a victory on the line when the East Hampton and Pierson field hockey teams met on East Hampton’s turf field last Friday afternoon.
Bonac head coach Robyn Mott (formerly Bramoff), in her first year at the helm of the varsity program, was looking for a win against her former team. Mott was a standout midfielder for the Lady Whalers more than a decade ago, graduating from Pierson in 2000 and playing on a number of state tournament teams.
The Lady Bonackers (3-1) were considered slight underdogs, ranked lower than Pierson (1-2) to start the season, but they made their coach happy by earning a 4-2 win.
East Hampton’s defense, and goalie Leonella Acevedo in particular, came up big, especially in the second half. Trailing 3-2, the Lady Whalers were knocking hard on the door, especially in the final minutes when they had a flurry of penalty corners. The defense stood strong, however, withstanding 18 second-half corners by Pierson, and Acevedo made several key saves, including a blistering drive off the stick of Pierson star Kasey Gilbride.
Gilbride scored both of Pierson’s goals, the second an unassisted beauty at the end of the first half that made it 3-2. She dribbled through a number of defenders, both into and within the circle, before putting a shot home. The game remained at 3-2 until less than a minute remained on the clock, when East Hampton sealed the win with a goal by Amanda Calabrese that was assisted by JV call-up Dylan Schleider.
Mott said beating her alma mater was satisfying, adding that she was excited to see so many spectators come out and support the team.
“It was good,” she said when asked what it felt like to beat Pierson. “I feel more pressure when I play Pierson as a coach at Bonac. I want to win that much more.”
Mott credited her corner defense and Acevedo for the win. She also pointed out that freshman Cybelle Adamcewicz, the team’s starting sweeper, did a nice job marking Gilbride, one of the most talented players on Long Island.
“Even though she had two goals, we were able to control her a bit defensively,” Mott said. “I think that’s a game-changer. Kasey is a great player, and we knew that going in.”
Unfortunately, Adamcewicz might be lost for the season—she suffered a knee injury in the game and Mott said on Sunday that while she was still awaiting MRI results, it looked like the freshman defender may have torn her MCL.
It was a physical game in general—Pierson also likely lost their sweeper, Emma Romeo, with a season-ending ankle injury. Romeo went down late in the game with the injury.
“It goes to show how hard both sides were playing,” Mott said.
East Hampton took advantage of what was a sluggish start by Pierson, scoring first when Sophia DePasquale made good on an assist from Calabrese. Pierson answered two minutes later to make it 1-1 when Gilbride scored off an assist from Emme Luck. But the Lady Bonackers took a 3-1 lead off consecutive goals from Mary Nolan (from Francesca Keogh) and then Keogh (from Calabrese). Gilbride’s second goal made it 3-2 with less than a minute remaining before halftime.
Pierson head coach Shannon Judge said her team had a hard time adjusting to the turf field in the first half; Pierson plays all of its home games on grass.
“I think we were flat-footed and made a lot of mental mistakes,” she said. “The speed of the ball and adjusting to the turf took us a little while. East Hampton was very willful getting to the ball.”
Judge said she was much happier with the way her team played in the second half, but said her players simply couldn’t convert. She gave credit to Acevedo for making some key saves.
Before beating Pierson, the Lady Bonackers took their first loss of the season, falling 4-1 at undefeated Miller Place. East Hampton fell behind 3-0 at halftime, at which point Mott changed around her entire lineup, putting players in different positions “just to generate something,” she said.
She was happier with the way they played in the second half. “The kids rose to it,” she said. “In the first half, they just played scared. [Miller Place] is fantastic; they’re in great shape, they have great stick-work; they’re just that good.”
Calabrese scored the only goal for East Hampton in the loss.
East Hampton will host an alumni field hockey game on Saturday, October 12, at 11 a.m., after the school’s Hall of Fame induction. The varsity team will play its homecoming game at 4 p.m. that afternoon against Miller Place.
The Lady Mariners moved to 4-2 overall after splitting two games last week. Southampton suffered a tough 1-0 home loss to Rocky Point last Thursday before beating Southold/Greenport 3-0 on the road the following day.
In the loss to Rocky Point, Ashley Faulhaber scored the only goal on a penalty stroke in the first half. The stroke was awarded after a Rocky Point player had a one-on-one breakaway and Southampton goalie Alex Ambrose came out and made a slide tackle to prevent a goal. Southampton head coach Jess Zukosky said she felt that Ambrose executed the slide well, playing both the ball and player, but the officials ruled that Ambrose had only gone after the player and thus awarded the stroke.
“That’s a judgment call,” Zukosky said. “I’ve never seen a goalie get called for doing that.”
Zukosky said she felt her team played better and created more scoring chances in the second half, once it adjusted to Rocky Point’s style of play.
“I felt that [Rocky Point] came out very fast and hard, and we held our own, but we were very defensive in the first half,” she said. “I don’t think we were ready for their aggressive play. In the second half, we were fired up a little more and generated more offense but couldn’t score.”
Ambrose made nine saves in the loss, and Rocky Point had an 8-5 advantage in penalty corners.
In the win over Greenport/Southold, Ana O’Shaughnessy gave Southampton a 1-0 halftime lead off an assist from Meggie Gallo. O’Shaughnessy scored again in the second half, this time off an assist from Chloe Schmidt, and Miranda Maloney scored the final goal unassisted.
“We played pretty well,” Zukosky said. “We just had a very difficult time putting the ball in. We were on offense for a good part of the game, we just couldn’t finish in the circle. The score could have been much higher.”
Southampton had 16 shots on goal and six corners, while Greenport had just one corner and no shots on goal.
ON THE SCHEDULE: East Hampton—Tuesday, 9/24, at Sayville, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 9/27, vs. Babylon, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 10/1, vs. Harborfields, 4:30 p.m. Pierson—Thursday, 9/26, at Sayville, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9/28, vs. Port Jefferson, noon; Monday, 9/30, vs. Rocky Point, 4:30 p.m. Southampton—Tuesday, 9/24, vs. Hampton Bays, 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 10/1, at Port Jefferson, 4:30 p.m.