11/03/12 10:09am
11/03/2012 10:09 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead field hockey team, including Danielle Napoli, will get a chance to play its playoff game Wednesday.

The high school sports season will resume Wednesday after more than a week off following Hurricane Sandy.

Here are the games scheduled for local teams:


Saturday, Nov. 10

The Riverhead Blue Waves, seeded No. 2 in Division II, will host No. 7 Walt Whitman at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field at 2 p.m. Shoreham-Wading River, seeded No. 3 in Division IV, will host The Stony Brook School also at 2 p.m. And No. 5 McGann-Mercy in Division IV will play a 2 p.m. game at No. 4 Hampton Bays.

The football playoffs were all pushed back one week, so the county championships will be held over Thanksgiving weekend. The Long Island championships will now be pushed back into December.

Field Hockey

Wednesday, Nov. 7

The Riverhead girls, seeded 10th in Class A, will travel to No. 7 Centereach for a 2 p.m. game. The winner plays the next day at No. 2 East Islip. There’s one day off after the quarterfinals and then the semis and finals are on consecutive days.

No. 4 Shoreham-Wading River in Class B will host No. 5 Harborfields at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The winner plays at No. 1 Miller Place Friday.

Boys Soccer

Thursday, Nov. 8

Shoreham-Wading River, seeded 6th in Class B, will travel to No. 3 Eastport-South Manor at 2 p.m. The winner plays the next day against No. 2 East Hampton or No. 7 Miller Place.

Cross Country

Update (12:40 p.m.): The Section XI state qualifier meet is back at Sunken Meadow now  at 1 p.m. Wednesday as the park has been reopened. It had been changed to Sachem East High School, as this post originally stated earlier.

The top 10 teams in each class compete. If the meet gets canceled because of bad weather that may come in Wednesday, there will be no makeup. Results from the division championship will advance teams into the state meet.

Other sections around New York are in a similar situation.

10/26/12 3:32pm
10/26/2012 3:32 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Mike McDonnell (19) tries to clear the ball as Vinny Alese (4) and Anthony Cusano (20) surround Miller Place junior Mike D’Agati.

The Shoreham-Wading River boys soccer team entered the season with big expectations after returning the majority of its players off a team that reached the semifinals of the playoffs last year.

While the Wildcats didn’t get off to the kind of the start they hoped for in the league season, they finished on a 4-1-1 run.

In an eight-team bracket, the Wildcats received the No. 6 seed in Class A, which means they won’t be hosting a playoff game this year. Shoreham will travel to face No. 3 Eastport-South Manor at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Eastport went 10-5 and 7-5 in League V. The Wildcats were 9-5-2 overall and 6-4-2 in League VI.

The winner advances to the semifinals against No. 7 Miller Place or No. 2 East Hampton.

The Wildcats did not play Eastport this year.

Sayville (14-2) received the No. 1 seed.

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10/18/12 7:30pm
10/18/2012 7:30 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Kevin Turano scores on a penalty kick for the only goal Thursday against Miller Place.


It was an unceremonious return to Shoreham-Wading River for Mike Gengler Thursday afternoon.

A 1999 Shoreham graduate who coaches Miller Place, Gengler received two red cards in the final minute of a League VI match against the Wildcats. The Panthers did not have an assistant coach who was certified to take over, so the game was called with 23 seconds left and the Wildcats walked off 1-0 winners.

It was a bizarre finish to a physical game that saw both coaches hit with yellow cards for arguing with officials. Frustration with the officials began to set in for the Panthers late in the game and two players were hit with yellow cards 51 seconds apart.

Shortly after the two yellows, Gengler argued that a Shoreham player should have received one after a play that occurred right in front of the Panthers’ bench. Gengler asked the referee closest to the play if he still had the card. The referee responded by issuing a yellow card to Gengler, who continued to chirp at the referee. Two red cards then followed for Gengler, who is also a varsity assistant coach for the Shoreham baseball team.

As the teams shook hands after the game, Gengler apologized to the Shoreham players. He declined to speak to reporters after the game.

Shoreham coach Andrew Moschetti said it was the first time he’s ever been a part of a game that abruptly ended before the finish.

“I’ve got yellow cards myself in the past, I’ve been involved with coaches who got yellow cards, but never a red that turned into a double red,” he said. “I’ve never in my coaching career seen two reds.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Mike McDonnell (19) tries to clear the ball as Vinny Alese (4) and Anthony Cusano (20) surround Miller Place junior Mike D’Agati.

Regardless of the finish, the Wildcats will gladly take the victory for what may be the final home game of the season. A strong second-half of the league season has the Wildcats in the playoffs and now it’s a matter of fighting for seeding.

Shoreham improved to 6-3-2 in League VI while Miller Place fell to 5-3-2.

“It’s so close in our league besides East Hampton,” Moschetti said. “The middle four teams are going to be hopping and jumping each other.”

The Wildcats are unbeaten in their last five games (4-0-1) and they hope the momentum can continue into the playoffs.

“We changed some things up halfway through,” Moschetti said. “Since then we haven’t lost.”

The only goal in Thursday’s game came on a first-half penalty kick, which was awarded after a Miller Place handball inside the penalty area.

Moschetti said normally senior Greg Canellys will attempt a penalty kick. But he was on the bench at the time.

Before Moschetti could decide on who to have to take the kick, senior Kevin Turano took charge on the field.

“Kevin just stepped up and said, ‘I’m taking this,’ ” Moschetti said. “I like that. Sometimes you have 11 kids on the field and everyone single one of them walks away from the ball. Kevin went right up, grabbed the ball, put it under his arms and that makes the decision easy for me.”

Turano lined the ball past Miller Place goalkeeper Noah Varonier, whose first step was to his right. Turano kicked to the opposite side, leaving Varonier no chance at making the save.

Facing a team that hasn’t given up more than two goals in any game this season, the Wildcats knew it would be a low-scoring game.

“We marked up on their players,” Moschetti said, noting that junior Anthony Cusano and senior Vinny Alese marked two of Miller Place’s top scorers. “They played the game plan the way we set it up yesterday in practice and came out with a win.”

The Wildcats played an excellent first half keeping the ball deep in the Miller Place end most of the time. They generated six corner kicks. The Panthers got more opportunities in the second half, but neither team was able to convert.

The Wildcats conclude the regular season Monday at John Glenn, another team bunched with Shoreham and Miller Place in a crowded League VI. Shoreham lost 2-1 against Glenn Oct. 3, the team’s last loss.

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10/16/12 8:29pm
10/16/2012 8:29 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Damian Duda scored one goal in Mercy’s loss Tuesday against Southampton.

The McGann-Mercy boys soccer team fell 7-1 Tuesday afternoon at home against Southampton in League VII. It was the 12th straight loss for the Monarchs, who are still searching for their first win.

With a roster made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores, it’s been an uphill battle this season for the young Monarchs.

Damian Duda provided the team’s lone goal against the Mariners. The goal came on the heels of a two-goal performance against Wyandanch in the Monarchs’ previous game. Mercy lost that game 3-2 in what was the closest game of the season.

The Monarchs have two games left in the season, beginning Saturday at Mattituck. Their final home game is Oct. 23 against Center Moriches.

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10/09/12 8:07pm
10/09/2012 8:07 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead senior Andrew Ruggerio sends the ball toward a leaping East Islip defender Tuesday afternoon.


Riverhead coach Lamine Traore believes the game doesn’t begin on the first whistle. It’s the mental and physical preparation before the game that can be just as important.

“The game starts before you get onto the field,” Traore said.

It’s a message he’s tried delivering to his players after another slow start put them in an early hole at East Islip Tuesday afternoon. The Redmen needed only 63 seconds to score the game’s first goal, forcing Riverhead to immediately play from behind.

While the Blue Waves eventually netted an equalizer late in the second half, the Redmen responded shortly after with another goal to win the game, 2-1. It was the fifth straight loss for Riverhead in League III after opening the season with a promising start by winning two out of three.

It was a similar script to the Blue Waves’ first meeting with East Islip, which was also a 2-1 loss in a game that went into overtime. When the Blue Waves started to play their game, they managed to maintain possession deep in East Islip territory and generate scoring chances. But it wasn’t enough.

The Blue Waves (2-6 League III) wanted to keep the ball on the ground and not allow East Islip (4-2-2 League III) to exploit its size advantage.

“I told them, the only way this team will bet you is if you play their game,” Traore said.

The Redmen struck for the opening goal on a touch pass from Mike Simonetti to Steven Braccioforte, who got behind the Blue Waves’ defense. Riverhead goalkeeper Ryan DiResta charged toward the ball and got caught in between. Braccioforte lofted a high shot that sailed untouched into the back of the net.

The Blue Waves got some early chances to answer. They got four shots on goal in the first 10 minutes, including one from senior Demar Mason. He sent a long ball into the box and East Islip goalkeeper Frank Noviello came out to get his hands on it. But he couldn’t fully control it, and the ball skidded behind him and hit the post.

Traore said they wanted to keep the pressure on Noviello.

It worked later in the game, when forward Denis Escalante fired a seemingly harmless shot from deep in the middle of the field. The ball slipped off the fingertips of Noviello again and rolled into the back of the net.

With 11:53 left in the game, the Blue Waves had their equalizer and all the momentum.

But Noviello made up for his early mistake by making a terrific save to prevent Riverhead from taking the lead. A little over a minute after Riverhead tied the game, the Blue Waves were awarded a direct kick from a few yards outside the penalty area because of a handball.

Sophomore Anthony Antunes set up for the kick and launched a shot toward the far post that Noviello knocked out of bounds with two hands while fully air-borne and practically parallel to the ground.

The Blue Waves got a corner kick out of it, but couldn’t convert.

Antunes got another chance on a direct kick a few minutes later as the Blue Waves kept the pressure up. But this time the Redmen blocked the kick with their wall.

The Redmen quickly got the ball in transition and Zachary Acocella scored the game-winning goal with 7:21 left. The play was set up by an East Islip throw-in near midfield. The Redmen worked the ball up along the left sideline while the Blue Waves’ defense got caught out of position.

Dan Munar fired a shot from the left side that DiResta made a diving stop on. But Acocella was right there to put in the rebound inside the right post.

The goal for Escalante was his first of his varsity career after a recent call-up from JV.

“Very good start,” Traore said.

The Blue Waves will try to end the losing streak Thursday when they return home to play Centereach. Riverhead won 2-0 in the first meeting between the schools this season.

“We have a very young team,” Traore said. “I think sometimes we fall because of our inexperience.”

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09/14/12 8:00pm
09/14/2012 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Nelson Perez knocks in a rebound for a goal to tie the game at 1 Friday against East Islip.

There was no doubt for Riverhead coach Lamine Traore that through the disappointment and frustration of a season-opening loss Friday against East Islip, there was a silver lining.

The Blue Waves are on the right path.

But in soccer, playing well, controlling possession and generating scoring chances all boils down to one thing: getting the ball in the net.

The Blue Waves had their chances against the Redmen, rallying from an early one-goal deficit, only to fall in overtime, 2-1, in their season opener at home.

“Let’s finish our chances and we win,” Riverhead’s second-year coach told his team afterward.

In an exciting opener, the game came down to what the Blue Waves viewed as two missed calls. In the opening moments of the first overtime period, a Riverhead player got knocked to the ground inside the box, which could have resulted in a penalty kick. But the referees let the contact go with no call.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Anthony Antunes heads a ball in Friday’s loss against East Islip.

Shortly after, the Redmen got out in transition, setting the stage for senior Brady Benitez to get behind the defense and score the game-winning goal.

The Blue Waves felt Benitez was offside on the play. The Riverhead players momentarily gave up on the play, expecting a whistle, only to never hear it.

It was a lesson learned — never assume a whistle is coming.

“It’s hard to see the kids fighting from the beginning to the end and it ended up like this,” Traore said.

The Redmen scored the game’s opening goal in the first when senior Dan Munar headed the ball in after an initial East Islip shot was saved by Riverhead sophomore Ryan DiResta.

Riverhead netted the equalizer midway through the second half on a goal by junior Nelson Perez. The ball was chipped ahead toward the goal and the Blue Waves got off one shot that was saved by East Islip goalkeeper Frank Noviello. But the Waves kept the pressure on in front of the goal and the ball bounced back on a rebound toward Perez who knocked it in a few feet in front of the goal.

“We’re really counting on [Perez],” Traore said.

Riverhead forward Anthony Antunes had a couple good scoring chances late in the second half. He ripped one hard shot just wide of the net. Shortly after he got a crossing pass from Perez and hit a shot just wide left.

Earlier in the half senior Andrew Ruggerio had a free kick from in front of the box that skimmed just over the crossbar.

“We had more chances than they had,” Traore said. “Soccer’s all about getting the ball in the net.”

Noviello made two quick superb saves back-to-back on shots by Perez. After making an initial save, the ball came back out to Perez, who looked like he had an open net. But Noviello made a miraculous jump to get back in position and knock down the next shot to keep the game tied at 1.

DiResta finished with eight saves for Riverhead.

Traore said he’s impressed with how much DiResta communicates with the players in front of him.

“You can hear him from over here,” he said. “He does the most talking. That’s what I like about him.”

East Islip finished the game with nine corner kicks. Riverhead had three corners.

The Blue Waves return to action Thursday at Centereach.

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09/11/12 8:00pm
09/11/2012 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River freshman Doug DeMaio will play forward for the Wildcats.

At the beginning of last season, the Shoreham-Wading River boys soccer team set a goal of earning a home playoff game. The Wildcats accomplished that and defeated Westhampton 3-2 in an overtime thriller, a game the Wildcats twice trailed.

With all but two starters back from last year’s team, the goals are even higher for the Wildcats as they begin the 2012 season in pursuit of the program’s first county title since 2005.

“I think that experience is going to come a lot into play throughout the season,” said Shoreham’s fourth-year coach Andrew Moschetti. “We want to compete for the league championship in League VI.”

The Wildcats’ playoff run came to an end last season in the semifinals at Sayville, one of the perennial top teams in Class A. The Wildcats haven’t advanced beyond the semifinals since 2006.

They’ll rely on a big senior class to try to make it happen this season. Shoreham enters the season with 11 seniors, many of whom have a few years’ varsity experience.

The Wildcats had a productive summer leading into the season by winning the small school championship in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League. Moschetti said they’re hoping to carry that momentum into the varsity season.

“The hard work the kids put in over the summer and the preseason work, running and conditioning, are really going to come into play and help out the first couple games of the season,” he said.

The Wildcats return their leading scorer from last season in Charles DeMaio. A forward, DeMaio scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Westhampton. He also assisted on the first two goals.

Junior Zach McAuley will play up top as well. McAuley has double duty this season by also playing kicker on the football team. Moschetti said he sat down with football coach Matt Millheiser before the season to look at the schedule and determine how McAuley could do both. On Saturday McAuley missed the soccer team’s non-league game against Rocky Point to play in the football team’s season opener. He kicked a field goal that made it 17-0 in the win.

Freshman Doug DeMaio, a newcomer to the varsity, will also see time at forward. The DeMaio brothers were the leading scorers for Shoreham during the summer league.

Three seniors return in the midfield: Matt O’Gorman, Greg Canellys and Kevin Turano.

“Those guys all have two, three years of varsity experience,” Moschetti said.

The defense will be led by seniors Travis Qualley, Vinny Alese and juniors Michael McDonnell and Anthony Cusano.

Senior Evan Kearney returns as the starting goalkeeper.

“It looks like the team is starting to gel together real nicely,” Moschetti said.

The Wildcats are back in League VI, where the top competition includes Miller Place, East Hampton and John Glenn.

Riverhead coach Lamine Traore understands it’s a long road to building a program.

“You have to have a foundation,” the second-year coach said.

Without an organized club team in the area and minimal emphasis on youth programs, players have little experience by the time they reach the varsity at Riverhead. Whereas players in other schools play soccer together throughout the year, that rarely happens in Riverhead.

“It’s hard to work on everything in two months,” said Traore, who was the top Division II goal scorer for Dowling College in 2008.

While wins were hard to come by last season, the Blue Waves played competitive soccer that they can hope to build upon this season. Five of their losses last season were by one goal; two of them were in overtime.

The Blue Waves did lose some key players from last year’s team, but will have nine seniors to go with younger players coming up from the JV. Traore said the JV had a strong season last year.

The Blue Waves return seniors Diego Guazhambo on defense and Andrew Ruggerio and Michael Atkins in the midfield. Sophomore Selvin Morales is back at goal along with another 10th-grader, Ryan DiResta.

Traore said the biggest emphasis heading into the season is generating offense.

“We want to move more forward,” Traore said.

Early in the season Traore said he wants to see how the new players up from JV can handle the higher level of play.

Riverhead will face a challenging schedule this season competing in League III. The Blue Waves open the season Friday at home against East Islip. The Blue Waves lost twice to the Redmen last year, including a 3-2 overtime defeat.

The McGann-Mercy Monarchs enter the season with no seniors and barely enough bodies to field a team. It’ll be an uphill climb under new coach Frank Baker, but the good news is that the Monarchs have a core of players who could play together for several seasons.

With six freshmen and three sophomores forming the 12-man roster, the Monarchs will resemble more of a JV team.

“We’re in a rebuilding season,” Baker said. “They work hard and they’re very loyal. They have a passion for the game, as I do.”

Baker takes over after Louis Manoussos and Mercy severed ties after a less than harmonious relationship. Manoussos — fired from his previous job at Shoreham-Wading River mid-season in 2008 — spent the last three years coaching Mercy. Last season ended on bad terms as many players felt Manoussos was degrading them.

Several players who would have been seniors opted not to return to the program this year, Baker said.

So the Monarchs will rely on their youth.

“I said [to the team], my goal is to make you the best athlete and best soccer player that I can,” Baker said. “And your goal is to be the best athlete and soccer player that you can. And the way we play is a result of how we practice.”

A retired physical education teacher and athletic director at Oyster Bay, Baker came back to New York after living in Alabama and Florida. He was interested in returning to coaching and found an opportunity at Mercy.

He got a call from athletic director John Lonardo in mid-August to discuss the possibility of taking over the boys varsity team.

Baker said he’s going to start the season with a strategy of keeping his four best players on defense. And if they can hold the opponent, he’ll switch them to the front line.

The only upperclassmen for Mercy are Codey Colins, James Haynal and Chris Williams — all juniors. Haynal scored the team’s lone goal Monday in an 8-1 non-league loss at Mount Sinai.

Louis Arresta, Wesley McBernie and Michael Shelton are sophomores.

Mercy opens the league season Thursday at home versus Hampton Bays.

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08/07/12 12:54am
08/07/2012 12:54 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s Greg Canelly, right, scored the Wildcats’ second goal against Center Moriches from a direct free kick.

The way the summer has gone for the Shoreham-Wading River varsity boys soccer team, one goal would have been enough. But the Wildcats got two, just in case.

Two first-half tallies and another superior defensive effort propelled Shoreham-Wading River to a 2-0 victory over Center Moriches in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools championship game Monday evening at Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram. The win improved the Wildcats’ summer record to 11-0-1, with all 11 victories coming on shutouts.

“The defense has been playing great all summer,” said Shoreham-Wading River coach Andrew Moschetti, lauding the defensive work of players like Anthony Cusano, Garrett Budney, Travis Qualley, Michael McDonnell and Vincent Alese, along with goaltenders Evan Kearney and Adam Pietrowski, who have split time in the nets.

“The guys in the back, with the two keepers, to only give up two goals all season? That’s a pretty solid defense,” Moschetti added. “They say defense wins championships. So it seems to work.”

The victory pushes Shoreham-Wading River into the overall Brookhaven championship game Wednesday against Sachem North, which defeated Northport, 1-0, in the large schools title game. Wednesday’s game will be at 6:15 p.m. at Diamond in the Pines, and the winner of that game will face the Town of Babylon champion Thursday at St. Joseph’s College.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Matthew O’Gorman of Shoreham-Wading River rose above the crowd for a header.

Moschetti expected the Wildcats to be good this summer, thanks to nine returning varsity starters and 14 seniors — just maybe not along the lines of 31 goals for and only two allowed in 12 games. “I didn’t know what to expect during the summer, but they’ve all been playing great,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for these guys to come up since they were freshmen, and now they’re starting to jell together, and it’s senior year, you know. They’re older now, they know the game, they know each other, and it’s showing on the field.”

Shoreham won the Brookhaven small schools regular-season championship by finishing 8-0-1, the only blemish a 2-2 tie with Mattituck in the third game. That turned out to be the only game in which the Wildcats allowed any goals.

Shoreham-Wading River advanced to the small schools title game with a 2-0 playoff win over Bayport-Blue Point, followed by a 1-0 win over Miller Place in the semifinals. Center Moriches blanked Southold and Eastport/South Manor in its two playoff games by identical 1-0 scores.

The Wildcats dominated possession in Monday’s final against Center Moriches, limiting the opposition to only a handful of chances and even fewer shots that were actually on net.

Shoreham-Wading River opened the scoring with 12 minutes left in the first half when Charles DeMaio scored off a cross from William Mileski. Three minutes later, Greg Canelly fired a direct kick from 25 yards out past Center Moriches keeper Jeff Carpenter, and the Wildcats led at halftime, 2-0.

The second half saw more outstanding defense by the Wildcats. Pietrowski made two solid saves, and Cusano foiled another Center Moriches scoring opportunity by running down an attacker midway through the half.

Moschetti noted that the small schools title is the first won by the Shoreham-Wading River boys in his four seasons coaching the summer team; he won a summer title previously coaching the Shoreham girls. He said while winning is “great,” it’s not what the summer season is about.

“I never really stress winning in the summer,” he said. “It’s more of an opportunity for the kids to keep playing together, for me to see some of the younger kids who didn’t play varsity last year. That’s really the emphasis.”

That said, winning a summer title is a just reward for the hard work the team has put in the past three months.

“It’s a good feeling; the kids are excited,” Moschetti said. “They’ve been playing well, they’ve been training hard in the summer, working their butts off. The seniors have had them running twice a week at the track, kind of knowing that we might have something special here, and they want to be prepared for the [fall] season.”