07/06/15 6:42pm

SPORTS DESK/Bob Liepa

A surge of patriotic fervor swept through me on Sunday. Sure, it was the day after the Fourth of July holiday, but that wasn’t the reason for it. What caused the red, white and blue of my fiber to tingle with pride was, would you believe it, a 40-second video.

Before the start of the Women’s World Cup final between Japan and the United States on Sunday evening, I checked out a short video that someone had evidently shot from a hotel room high above as American fans marched, apparently toward BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the game. Clad in red, white and blue behind a large banner for the American Outlaws, a supporters group for United States soccer, this spirited band of fans had made its presence known. Chanting loudly, with whistles and horns blowing and drums banging, they made it clear that the United States women’s team wasn’t alone on this quest.

Americans for America. You have to love that.

(more…)

06/30/15 9:58pm
Shoreham-Wading River's Megan Kelly leaves a Port Jefferson defender in her wake as she moves the ball up the field. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Megan Kelly leaves a Port Jefferson defender in her wake as she moves the ball up the field. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

It’s hard to believe for a soccer player with such good field vision, but Megan Kelly doesn’t have peripheral vision in her right eye.

During a game four years ago, while a defender cleared a ball, it pegged Kelly in the face, causing the vision loss. As bad as it was, it was close to being even worse.

“I was really lucky that it wasn’t my permanent eyesight,” she said. “It was like, I don’t even know, millimeters away from losing full vision.”

Kelly wore goggles for a while, but not any more. The loss of the peripheral vision, she said, doesn’t affect her game.

It sure doesn’t seem like it has. Last year the Shoreham-Wading River High School standout was named to the all-state team as a junior.

Kelly is a dynamic forward who can play any of the field positions. A joy to watch on the soccer field, she has the foot skill and the speed to tear opposing defenses apart.

A fine example of what Kelly can do was seen Tuesday evening when the Wildcats kicked off their Town of Brookhaven Summer League season. After collecting a pass from Sarah Stietzle, Kelly charged forward in fluid motion. Nudging the ball from one side to another and operating on instinct, she evaded Port Jefferson defenders and then slipped the ball between the legs of a final defender, Alexa Wakefield, before depositing a shot under Port Jefferson goalkeeper Brianna Scarda in the 28th minute.

Pretty slick stuff.

Asked for an assessment, Kelly conceded, “It was pretty good.”

It was the second goal in Shoreham’s 5-0 blanking of a shorthanded Port Jefferson team at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer Complex in Medford.

“Her foot skill is like awesome,” Shoreham center midfielder Sam Higgins said. “She’s definitely one of the best players on the field and I really look up to her. The way that she can outrun people, it’s pretty awesome.”

It was quite a performance by Kelly, who scored twice from five shots. She might have had another goal, but Scarda did well to push one of her shots off the top of the crossbar.

The Wildcats didn’t have any trouble against Port Jefferson, which started the game with nine players, was reduced to eight for a while in the first half because of injury, and played shorthanded the entire 60-minute match.

Second-half goals were supplied by Grace Blomberg (assisted by Rachel Suarez), Sophia Triandafils (assisted by Higgins) and Alessi Rikkimarie, who landed a shot in moments after sending an attempt off the crossbar.

The Wildcats held a 21-1 shots advantage. Their goalkeeper, Lydia Kessel, didn’t touch the ball until the 49th minute when a teammate gave her a back pass. Kessel’s only other two touches were also from back passes.

At various times during the game, Kelly played center midfielder, defense or forward. It’s all good with her.

“I just always have fun when I’m on the field, no matter where I am,” she said.

Kelly, a varsity player since her freshman year, will play in college. She has committed to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, an NCAA Division II school.

“It’s my last year of high school ball,” she said. “It’s crazy. It is hard to believe.”

The Wildcats are a young bunch. Aside from Kelly, the only other incoming seniors on the summer team’s 23-player roster are Makayla Meeker, Victoria Stirpe and Suarez.

As a senior leader, Kelly said she feels an added responsibility this year.

“The whole game is changing this year,” she said. “We’re relying on different players to make wins happen, so now we have to really stand up on the field and help the younger girls because we’re such a young team now.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

06/30/15 5:00pm
Riverhead pitcher Jake Reinhardt, coming off knee surgery, ranked second in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League with a 0.44 earned run average. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead pitcher Jake Reinhardt, coming off knee surgery, ranked second in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League with a 0.44 earned run average. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Jake Reinhardt, a pitcher, had not played a baseball game in about a year. That’s a long time without baseball for a baseball player.

Then, when the time he had long waited for — the chance to finally play in a game again — had arrived, he was put at, would you believe it, first base.  (more…)

06/26/15 8:58pm
North Fork second baseman Kyle Colletta tags out Riverhead's Tyler Osik, who tried to steal in the seventh inning. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

North Fork second baseman Kyle Colletta tags out Riverhead’s Tyler Osik, who tried to steal in the seventh inning. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

OSPREYS 3, TOMCATS 1

It’s not even July yet, and it appears as if the dog days of summer have arrived in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.

Keen-eyed observers are noticing signs of wear and tear taking their toll on players not accustomed to playing such a congested schedule of games. With teams just about halfway through a grueling 42-game schedule, managers are seeing players battling the grind, the heat and the humidity. The league has a busier June schedule than usual, noted the Riverhead Tomcats manager, Randy Caden. (more…)

06/24/15 12:00pm
North Fork Rugby Club players during a scrum at practice. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

North Fork Rugby Club players during a scrum at practice. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

To those who have never seen one before, a rugby ball is sort of odd looking, like a bloated football on steroids. One can imagine a rugby player being asked by somebody who doesn’t know better: “Hey dude, what’s wrong with your football?”

Rugby balls are not exactly a common sight on the North Fork, although they are becoming more common, thanks to the efforts of Mike Jablonski.

Jablonski, a Mattituck High School teacher who lives in Shoreham, is the founder and coach of the fledgling North Fork Rugby Club. He assembled an under-18 team that held after-school practices this spring and played its first game earlier this month. It is Jablonski’s hope that, with this modest beginning, rugby will gain a foothold on the North Fork. (more…)

06/24/15 12:21am
Shoreham-Wading River wide receiver Isreal Squires pulled in a pass for a touchdown that gave Long Island a 34-14 lead with 5 minutes 45 seconds to go. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk).

Shoreham-Wading River wide receiver Isreal Squires pulls in a pass for a touchdown that gave Long Island a 34-14 lead with 5 minutes 45 seconds to go. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk).

EMPIRE CHALLENGE | LONG ISLAND 34, NEW YORK CITY 27

Because of the weather, the postgame fireworks show was cancelled. That was O.K., though, because the fans had already seen a different sort of fireworks, before and during the 20th annual Empire Challenge football game.

At first, there was nature’s brand of fireworks that caused two lightning delays at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium. And then there were the fireworks created by the Long Island offense.

Long Island’s offense provided some bolts of energy itself, beating New York City, 34-27, on Tuesday night in the annual meeting of the top senior high school players in the area. (more…)

06/18/15 8:03pm
Three of the Riverhead News-Review athletes of the year honored were (from left) Katherine Lee of Shoreham-Wading River, Reggie Archer of McGann-Mercy and Danni Napoli of Riverhead. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Three of the Riverhead News-Review athletes of the year honored were (from left) Katherine Lee of Shoreham-Wading River, Reggie Archer of McGann-Mercy and Danni Napoli of Riverhead. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

2014-15 ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

For the second year in a row, Meg Tuthill, a cross-country runner and track and field athlete for Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, was named an athlete of the year by the Times Review Media Group. Tuthill, a junior, is the first McGann-Mercy athlete to ever win the award more than once.

Tuthill was the only repeat winner among the slate of 12 winners for the 2014-15 school year. She was also one of four non-seniors in the group. (more…)

06/03/15 12:00pm

Opening day is a special day in baseball. The pageantry, the anticipation and the high hopes teams take into the new season all contribute to a setting that is about as American as it gets. A clean slate is ready to be written on. The story it will tell is anyone’s guess.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League celebrated its third opening day with three games on Sunday, including a matchup between the North Fork Ospreys and the Riverhead Tomcats at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton. They were the first games in an expanded 42-game regular season for the seven-team league.  (more…)