09/27/14 9:05pm
Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

So, how does a high school football team follow up one of the biggest wins in program history?

Well, if it’s Shoreham-Wading River, it wallops visiting Hampton Bays, 48-0.

A lot of things could have gone wrong in Saturday’s Suffolk County Division IV game for the Wildcats (3-0), who were coming off a stunning 9-7 upset of defending Long Island Class IV champion Babylon a week earlier. In addition to having to deal with Saturday’s hot weather, the Wildcats could have faced a natural letdown after their big triumph over Babylon.

It didn’t happen. (more…)

09/22/14 5:50pm

McGann-Mercy’s former athletic director Paul Mastronardi resigned last week. (The Press News Group/Kerry Monaco photo)

Problems routinely cross an athletic director’s desk. Putting out fires are part of the job.

Paul Mastronardi resigned last week as the athletic director at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, and joked that he may have done more firefighting in that capacity than he has done as a firefighter for the New York City Fire Department.

Despite some turbulence in the form of coaching changes as the McGann-Mercy athletic program sought to reach a higher level of accomplishment, Mr. Mastronardi’s short stay at the private Catholic school in Riverhead came to an end last week in an amicable fashion, he said. Mr. Mastronardi said he resigned after nine months on the job in order to return to his passion: coaching football.

Mr. Mastronardi, in a 22-minute phone interview with The Riverhead News-Review on Monday afternoon, said he is following his heart. “I’m a football coach,” he said.

Mr. Mastronardi, said he has received “many offers” to return to coaching, which he had done for 25 years prior to his role as the McGann-Mercy A.D., though no particular schools were mentioned. He was the Eastport/South Manor High School coach before taking on his first job in athletic administration at McGann-Mercy.

Before his position at Eastport, Mr. Mastronardi coached two years at South Side High School, compiling a 3-13 record. The school opted to not bring him back in 2011, according to an article in the Long Island Herald. He then compiled an 11-14 record over three seasons at Eastport, including a 7-1 regular season in 2013.

Mr. Mastronardi took over the McGann-Mercy job after his predecessor, John Lonardo, resigned to pursue a private business opportunity. His arrival coincided with what was heralded as the school’s new vision for a stronger athletic program, which in turn would be expected to help boost student enrollment and course offerings at the school.

“This is an attempt to bring the school to a new level of excellence,” McGan-Mercy principal Carl Semmler said at a parents-only meeting in February, during which details of the changes were discussed.

But many parents at the time — one of whom leaked audio from the February meeting to The Riverhead News-Review — were already outraged at one of Mr. Mastronardi’s first decisions: not to re-hire football coach Jeff Doroski. In June, former NFL quarterback Michael Buck was tapped for the role.

Other coaching changes included the resignation of varsity baseball coach Ed Meier and the replacement of the girls’ varsity basketball coach, Brian Babst, and the girls’ varsity soccer coach, Meaghan Macarthur. Mr. Doroski, Mr. Meier, and Ms. Macarthur had all attended Mercy as students themselves.

Asked if resigning had been marinating in his mind for a while, Mastronardi said: “You know when it really hit? When people started playing games.”

The start of the current football season — Mercy’s opening game was 10 days ago — apparently rekindled Mastronardi’s desire to be on the sideline again with a clipboard and a whistle. He said it really hit him when he watched his former Eastport/South Manor team play its season-opening game against Miller Place.

Mastronardi, who lives in Westhampton Beach, spoke highly of his time at McGann-Mercy, where he oversaw many teams, from crew to cheerleading. He said the school has made financial commitments to improve its athletic facilities with a new softball field, a new state-of-the-art trainer’s room and a nearly completed strength training facility that will cover almost 4,000 square feet.

“I think it’s a wonderful school; it’s a wonderful community,” he said. “The children are absolutely wonderful human beings. It was certainly a wonderful experience for me …  It’s all good. I have nothing but positive things to say about Mercy.”

A reporter who called Mr. Semmler’s office was told he was not available and was referred to a school publicist, who received an email request for answers about the future of the athletic director position.

The following statement was released on behalf of Mr. Semmler: “Paul Mastronardi has decided to resign as our Athletic Director. During his time here we have made significant strides in the athletic vision at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School. We will continue to foster a plan that is aggressive yet also fits into the school culture.”

An automated message to parents from Mr. Semmler noted that “all future concerns about athletics for the time being should be sent to Melissa Edwards,” who was hired earlier this year in the athletic department.

Asked if he saw himself getting back into athletic administration, Mr. Mastronardi replied, “Absolutely not. Unequivocally not.”

09/17/14 5:00pm
Zach Holmes of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck tries to thwart an attempted tackle by Babylon's James Messina. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Zach Holmes of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck tries to thwart an attempted tackle by Babylon’s James Messina. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Friday night marked the opening game for the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck high school football team’s season, and Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field at Greenport High School may have never looked so nice. Along with the plush grass field, which has been well-watered, there were new NFL-style goal posts. The recently painted purple and gold bleachers looked brilliant in the fading sunlight as kickoff time approached. And there, on the south end of the field, was the sharp looking scoreboard, which was installed last season.

Ah, yes, the scoreboard.

On a night when the game was cut and dried, it was the scoreboard that provided the only real controversy — if you want to call it that — of the evening. (more…)

09/16/14 8:55pm
Southold/Greenport's Raeanne Berry dribbling forward while being followed by teammate Jasmine Fell and Bishop McGann-Mercy's Madeleine Joinnides (5) and Alexandra Hulse (9). (Credit: Garret Meade)

Southold/Greenport’s Raeanne Berry dribbling forward while being followed by teammate Jasmine Fell and Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Madeleine Joinnides (5) and Alexandra Hulse (9). (Credit: Garret Meade)


A spirited contest between two improved high school girls soccer teams brought what could be considered a just result. It could be said that neither Bishop McGann-Mercy or Southold/Greenport deserved to lose in their Suffolk County League VII game on Tuesday, and neither team did, thanks to Siobhan Merrill.

Merrill, a sophomore center midfielder, rescued McGann-Mercy from what would have been its first loss of the season by scoring the tying goal with 4 minutes 10 seconds left in the second overtime period of a 3-3 draw at Southold High School. (more…)

09/15/14 5:40pm


Ed McGarr II, the new coach of the Shoreham-Wading River High School boys volleyball team, was looking ahead to his team’s season-opening match, which was, fittingly, at Connetquot on Tuesday.

To say that McGarr, 23, has ties to Connetquot would not be nearly enough. He played for Connetquot’s first middle school, junior varsity and varsity teams. Now, in his first match as Shoreham’s coach, he was to face his former coach, Jeff Tacke, whose Connetquot team is only five years old. (more…)

09/13/14 6:44pm
Riverhead's Raheem Brown evading West Islip's Joe Rushton during Saturday's season-opening game. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Riverhead’s Raheem Brown evading West Islip’s Joe Rushton during Saturday’s season-opening game. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)


An overcast, gray day got uglier in the second half when rain began to fall, lightly at first, and then with growing intensity, making for slick conditions and a slippery football. That was fitting enough because Riverhead was turning in a performance that was at once disturbing and ugly. But what the Blue Waves lacked in points for artistry, they made up for in drama and excitement.

The Blue Waves, defending Suffolk County Division II champions, dodged a bullet in their season opener on Saturday, narrowly averting an upset loss to West Islip in the final seconds. Steven Reid III pulled in an 18-yard touchdown reception with 15.1 seconds left to play, allowing the Blue Waves to escape with a 28-25 result in their favor at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field in Riverhead.

Call it Riverhead magic. (more…)

09/11/14 8:00am
Ethan Greenidge, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman, is one of Riverhead's three all-division players. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Ethan Greenidge, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman, is one of Riverhead’s three all-division players. (Credit: Garret Meade)


So, what will be vital for the Riverhead High School football team as it makes a bid this year for a third straight Suffolk County Division II championship? Will it be the play of its quarterback, Kenny Simco? The blocking of the offensive line? The running prowess of Ryun Moore? The tenacity of its defense?

While all of the above will undoubtedly be important, those are not the answers coach Leif Shay gave when asked that question. As Shay sees it, it comes down to something far more elemental: team chemistry and player personalities.

Shay said how well his players get along with each other and respect each other — the subject of his speech to them on the first day of preseason practice — will go a long way toward determining whether the Blue Waves go a long way. (more…)

09/05/14 4:00pm
Joscelin Morrow, an all-county libero, is a big part of Riverhead's defense. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Joscelin Morrow, an all-county libero, is a big part of Riverhead’s defense. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


This year Riverhead High School’s girls volleyball team has been moved from League IV to League III, where it will play against bigger schools. In trading places with Centereach, Riverhead is the only newcomer to League III, a mystery team to the rest of the league, if you will.

Riverhead coach Amy Greene likes that.

“We have nothing to lose this year and everything to gain because League III knows nothing about us,” she said. “… I think they should see us as a threat.”