After a 2-0 loss at Miller Place back on September 26, the Pierson field hockey team was eager to face the powerhouse squad again, hoping to even the score on their home field at Mashashimuet Park on October 8.
And for a brief moment early in the first half of their game, that goal seemed possible, when Emme Luck scored to give the Lady Whalers a 1-0 lead just 7:28 into the game. But less than a minute later, the Lady Panthers tied it, and then they opened the floodgates, adding two more goals before halftime en route to a 5-1 win over Pierson.
The Lady Whalers rebounded two days later with an 8-0 dismantling of a weaker Port Jefferson team, moving to 6-4 on the season. It put them in fourth place in Division III, behind the division-leading Panthers (10-1, 11-1 overall), Sayville (6-3, 7-3) and Harborfields (6-3).
Pierson head coach Shannon Judge said her team simply didn’t have its best effort against a tenacious Miller Place team.
“We didn’t really play well,” she said. “We had transitional breakdowns throughout the field. Miller Place just seemed to want it more. They were coming off their only loss so far, to Shoreham.”
In the win over Port Jefferson (3-8), Pierson’s offense was unstoppable. Kasey Gilbride had three goals, Katherine Matthers had two, and Luck, Cassandra Spencer, and Ana Sherwood each had one.
Judge admitted that Port Jeff is a much weaker team, but said she liked what she saw on the field. “Generally, we looked great,” she said. “Our team play in terms of field vision and passing was really on.”
Pierson was scheduled to finish up the regular season against some stiff competition, taking on East Hampton, Harborfields, Sayville and Rocky Point, all of whom have winning records.
Getting into the Class C playoffs won’t be an issue for Pierson, as the qualification format has changed this year. Formerly, only the top six teams in the division, regardless of what class they are in, advanced to the postseason. Now, the top three of the five Class C teams in the division advance to the playoffs. Class C teams include Pierson, defending county and Long Island champion Southampton, Port Jeff, Greenport/Southold and Babylon. Pierson and Southampton have proven to be far superior in skill to the rest of the Class C teams in the division, and should easily wrap up the top two spots. The top-seeded team will earn a bye into the county title game.
The Lady Mariners split a pair of close games last week to move to 7-3, 8-4 overall, and sixth place in the division. The Lady Mariners got past Bayport/Blue Point, 1-0, on the road on October 8 before losing, 2-1, in overtime to Shoreham/Wading River at home on Thursday.
Victoria Russo scored the only goal in the Bayport win off an assist from Meggie Gallo during a broken corner play with 5:22 left in the first half. Alex Ambrose made six saves for the shutout win. The teams were evenly matched on corners, with Bayport holding a 6-4 edge. It was the second 1-0 win over Bayport for Southampton this year.
In the loss to Shoreham, Southampton struck first when Gallo scored unassisted with 9:19 left in the first half. Shoreham tied it up with 11:28 left in the second half, and scored the winner off a corner less than three minutes into sudden-death overtime.
Southampton head coach Jess Zukosky said the loss was frustrating, particularly because of how Shoreham’s winning goal played out. She explained that Gallo had been whistled for obstruction calls on two consecutive occasions in the overtime sessions, for a shoulder move that she uses all the time and is never whistled for. The calls came on back-to-back corners for Shoreham, and when Shoreham got a third consecutive corner, Gallo hesitated, expecting to get called obstruction again. The whistle wasn’t blown, but it caused enough distraction to allow Shoreham to sneak in the game-winning goal.
“It was very frustrating,” Zukosky said. “This is what Shoreham has done all season—snuck in and beat people in overtime. In the first half we played really well and dominated with good passing, but in the second half, we got a little panicky once they scored and started playing more defensively.”
In their only game last week, the Lady Bonackers were downed, 4-0, at home to Miller Place on Saturday, falling to 5-4 on the year. The loss dropped East Hampton to eighth place in the division. The Lady Bonackers must finish in the top four among the eight Class B teams in Division III to qualify for the playoffs.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Pierson—Wednesday, 10/16, vs. East Hampton, 4 p.m.; Friday, 10/18, vs. Harborfields, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 10/21, vs. Sayville, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10/24, at Rocky Point, 6:30 p.m. Southampton—Wednesday, 10/16, vs. Greenport/Southold, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10/17, vs. Port Jeff, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10/19, at Hampton Bays, 1 p.m.; Monday, 10/21, at Rocky Point, 6:30 p.m. East Hampton—Wednesday, 10/16, at Pierson, 4 p.m.; Thursday, 10/17, vs. Sayville, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 10/21, at Babylon, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10/24, at Harborfields, 4:30 p.m.