Brianna Fischetti darted onto the field for the start of the second half Monday when a voice yelled over to her. Her teammates were gathered in a huddle, ready to begin their final cheer after halftime. All they were missing was Fischetti.
If Fischetti, a Shoreham-Wading River forward, seemed eager to get back onto the field and start the next half, she had good reason. She had just tallied a hat trick in the first half against Port Jefferson, her first multi-goal game of her career.
Fischetti’s three goals stood as the final margin in a 3-0 victory for the Wildcats at Shoreham-Wading River High School in the penultimate game of the regular season.
“I just felt it,” Fischetti said. “It was a really good team effort.”
A field hockey player since seventh grade, Fischetti is in her second year on varsity. As a junior last year she spent the majority of the season as a reserve, rarely every seeing the field. But this season, she’s blossomed into a dynamic player with a nose for the goal.
“I feel like I improved a lot,” she said.
Shoreham’s first-year coach, Allison Franklin, said Fischetti’s stick skills have rapidly improved over the course of the season.
“She’s really eager and willing to learn,” she said.
Fischetti didn’t take long to start the scoring. Her first goal came less than two minutes into the game. She added another with 12:19 left in the first half, a goal that started off a penalty corner. Senior Nina Mostaccio, who began the corner, ended up with an assist. Mostaccio played the ball out to Melissa Manzello, who knocked it back in the direction of Mostaccio. Then Fischetti was in position in front of the goal to knock it in.
She added one more with 31 seconds left in the half — this time in style.
“It was across the top and I was just standing there and I closed my eyes and just whacked it in,” she said.
Don’t expect Franklin to begin coaching no-look shooting.
“Please keep your eyes open, Bri,” Franklin said with a laugh after hearing her describe the goal.
It was a pivotal win for the Wildcats, who improved to 8-5 in Division III and 9-5 overall. Even though they’re guaranteed a winning record, the Wildcats may still need a win Wednesday to advance into the postseason.
Their opponent Wednesday: undefeated Miller Place.
The Wildcats began the day in seventh place in the Division III power rankings. Five Class B teams will reach the playoffs. Pierson, one of the teams above Shoreham in the standings, is a Class C team, so the Wildcats need not worry about them. But they will need to leapfrog either Bayport-Blue Point or Comsewogue.
To do so, a win against a talented Miller Place team would be in order.
“We just got to play the same way and have heart,” Fischetti said. “Emotions are high.”
Fischetti nearly scored a fourth goal in the second half of Monday’s game. Fischetti was manning the post in front of Port Jefferson’s goalkeeper when a shot came booming in her direction.
“It went off my goggles, actually,” Fischetti said. The ball careened into the goal, but the referee immediately waved it off.
Franklin said according to the rules, a ball can be chipped in high, but as long as an offensive or defensive player is not in the way.
“We wanted her there because we want her on the post, but at the same time, she couldn’t get out of the way fast enough,” Franklin said.
It was the ninth shutout win for the Wildcats behind goalkeeper Megan Daly. Every game they’ve won has been a shutout. In those nine wins, they’ve outscored the competition 22-0. In every other game, the opposition has outscored them 10-2.
Photo Caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Brianna Fischetti celebrates after scoring her third goal of the game Monday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)