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Top Sports Stories 2017: Blue Waves win first playoff game

12/27/2017 5:59 AM |

One game, one goal, kept the Riverhead girls lacrosse team from reaching its goal in 2016. The Blue Waves weren’t about to let it happen again.

The Blue Waves dropped a 17-16 game to Longwood in the final regular season game of 2016, which kept them on the outside of the playoffs. This year, the Blue Waves were determined to break through with the team’s first playoff appearance.

At the start of the season, Riverhead coach Ashley Schandel distributed copies of a book titled “The Energy Bus” for all the players to read. The book is about “positive ways to fuel your life, yourself and your team,” Schandel said.

The Blue Waves used that message throughout a historic season. The outlook seemed bright for the Blue Waves early on when they defeated Sayville, 19-14, in a non-league game in Riverhead, knocking off one of the perennially strong programs in Class B.

Behind the young trio of freshman midfielder Megan Kielbasa, freshman attack Chrissy Thomas and sophomore midfielder Kayla Kielbasa, the Blue Waves compiled a 10-6 league record to earn their first playoff berth in the program’s seven-year history. The team even earned a home game by being seeded seventh.

The party was on May 17 when the Blue Waves topped Huntington in a thrilling 10-9 victory.

“This is a big step for Riverhead,” Megan Kielbasa said after the game. “We haven’t done anything like this before.”

The season came to an end with the next game at Smithtown East in the quarterfinals.

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