03/18/14 1:00pm
03/18/2014 1:00 PM
Ohio State-bound Shannon Rosati (10) returns to lead Shoreham-Wading River this year. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk, file)

Ohio State-bound Shannon Rosati (10) returns to lead Shoreham-Wading River this year. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

Rachel Feirstein, who once admired the Shoreham-Wading River High School girls lacrosse team from afar as an outsider (an opposing player for Smithtown East) is now the ultimate insider: She is the team’s coach.

Feirstein can now admire, from close range, the fervor with which the Wildcats practice. “They’re relentless,” she said. “They go hard after every ball.”  (more…)

03/20/13 3:00pm
03/20/2013 3:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Carolyn Carrera scored four goals with two assists in the Blue Waves’ season-opening loss Saturday.

Ashley King took the field for the first Riverhead practice this season in a unique position. As the new head coach of the third-year program, King had little knowledge of the players assembled before her. It didn’t matter what grades players were in or what positions they played in the past.

“I take that as an advantage, not knowing too much,” King said.

During tryouts, King evaluated players, trying to determine their skill level and lacrosse IQ. For a new program still in the building stages, the early part of the season is very much a work in progress.

“I’m really just trying different things, seeing where I thought they fit and then I asked for their feedback,” King said.

RELATED: Defending champs return biggest team yet

King takes over at Riverhead after a superb lacrosse career at Shoreham-Wading River and then the University of Massachusetts and Louisville. In 2006 King was a senior on the first Wildcats team to win a Long Island championship. Shoreham has since won five state championships.

King was a defender for two years at UMass, where she was on the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team as a freshman. She finished her career at Louisville, where she was a starter on defense.

When King saw the Riverhead position was available, it seemed like a perfect fit for her, she said.

“I’d love to rebuild the program and really grow it,” King said. “We’re playing in a huge hotbed for lacrosse.”

King said she hopes to share her experiences as a former college player and teach some of the lessons she learned along the way.

“I try to get them prepared for the next level and treat it kind of as a miniature college team,” she said. “They’re really giving 100 percent the entire time. We may be young, but I’m still going to have high expectations.”

The Blue Waves have a mix of youth to go with a handful of seniors. Junior Carolyn Carrera returns in the midfield and will be a key player on both ends for Riverhead. Carrera was named a Brine High School All-American last season. Carrera opened the season with 4 goals and 2 assists in Riverhead’s loss to Mattituck/Greenport/Southold on Saturday.

Sabina Dorr returns at attack for Riverhead. She dished out 4 assists Saturday. Amanda Dickerson and Emily Jehle will both be key on attack as well.

Michelle Danowski will anchor the defense. Paige Hubbard earned the first start in goal.

“We do have a lot of strengths,” King said. “It’s just finding a way to put it all together. These girls coming back are great athletes and great leaders.”

Riverhead will open its division schedule March 27 against Sachem East.

03/16/13 1:17pm
03/16/2013 1:17 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's Tricia Brisotti, Riverhead's Carolyn Carrera, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's Audrey Hoeg and Riverhead's Isabella LoPiccolo competing for a ground ball.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Tricia Brisotti, Riverhead’s Carolyn Carrera, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Audrey Hoeg and Riverhead’s Isabella LoPiccolo competing for a ground ball.

TUCKERS 13, BLUE WAVES 10

Some similarities can be found between the Riverhead and the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold girls lacrosse teams. Both squads are just emerging from infancy; Riverhead is in its third varsity season, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold is in its fourth. Both teams have a go-to player they can rely on; Riverhead looks to Carolyn Carrera, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold is led by Katie Hoeg.

The most significant difference between the teams on Saturday came down to this: Mattituck/Greenport/Southold has a season-opening win, and Riverhead doesn’t.

Hoeg was a big reason, too. Athletic, talented and competitive, Hoeg could probably do well in just about any sport she plays, but she may be at her best when that sport is lacrosse, her favorite.

Hoeg, a freshman who doesn’t play like a freshman, showed her value on Saturday. The midfielder shot in 6 goals from 9 shots and had 3 assists as the Tuckers downed Riverhead, 13-10, in a non-division season opener for both teams at Cutchogue West Elementary School. She also had 3 ground balls.

“She is a leader, but without having to say much,” Mattituck/Greenport/Southold coach Julie Milliman said. “She just leads by example. She is very knowledgeable of the game. She knows what to do and she makes sure her teammates know what to do. She really controls the field. And she’s unselfish at the same time. When she plays well, the team plays well.”

No surprise there.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Katie Hoeg, who had 6 goals and 3 assists in Mattituck/Greenport/Southold's season-opening win, trying to maneuver around Riverhead's Isabella LoPiccolo.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Katie Hoeg, who had 6 goals and 3 assists in Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s season-opening win, trying to maneuver around Riverhead’s Isabella LoPiccolo.

Hoeg played well as the Tuckers have already equaled their win total from last season.

“We did a good job as a team,” Hoeg said. “We improved so much from last year and we played a lot more as a team rather than as individuals.”

After falling behind, 3-1, in the opening 5 minutes 24 seconds, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold scored 4 straight goals (3 by Hoeg) to take the lead for good.

Sydney Sanders, Tricia Brisotti and Laurel Bertolas put in 2 goals apiece for the Tuckers. Audrey Hoeg, Katie’s cousin, had 1 goal and 2 assists. Natalie Troisi assisted twice.

“We did really well on offense,” Katie Hoeg said, “just like pacing and being patient and looking for each other.”

Nicole L’Hommedieu picked up the win in goal, making 5 saves.

Mattituck/Greenport/Southold did well in draw control, holding a 17-8 advantage over Riverhead in that area.

“Honestly, it was what I expected,” Milliman said of her team’s performance. “They have come to practice ever since Day 1 and they have worked hard every day. And every day they leave better players and as a better team. I expected them to do something good on the field.”

Ashley King, a former Shoreham-Wading River star player who went on to play for Massachusetts and Louisville in college, made her debut as Riverhead’s new coach. It wasn’t a winning one despite 4 goals and 2 assists from Carrera, a junior midfielder who has verbally committed to play lacrosse and soccer for Hofstra University. Sam Brodeur added 2 goals and 1 assist, Emily Jehle and Amanda Dickerson struck for 2 goals each, and Sabina Dorr passed for 4 assists for the Blue Waves.

The loss aside, Carrera said she has seen noticeable improvement in the Blue Waves since last year.

“We have a lot of potential,” she said. “Of course, I’m disappointed in the loss. A loss you can always improve on, but I’m not disappointed in the team. We’re in this together. We’re a family. We’re coming through this.”

King said turnovers hurt Riverhead, but she liked what she saw from players like Carrera, defenseman Michelle Danowski (“She’s an unbelievable, aggressive little fireball”) and attackman Sabina Dorr.

In the game’s final minutes, with the win secure, the Tuckers passed the ball around like veterans, draining the remaining time off the clock.

“We showed that we know how to win,” Milliman said. “We’ve never really been up at the end of a game and really had to kill time. Usually the other team is passing around on us out of mercy and feeling bad. We really showed that we can control the game when we want to.”

bliepa@timesreview.com