11/10/12 1:22pm
11/10/2012 1:22 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Alyssa Pearce works the ball up field against Miller Place Saturday morning.

CLASS B SEMIFINALS  |  PANTHERS 3, WILDCATS 1

It was only a matter of time before one of the most decorated field hockey programs on Long Island returned to the top.

For much of the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000′s, the road to a county title ran directly through Miller Place. And more often than not, it was the Panthers hoisting a county trophy.

That began to change around 2006, when Shoreham-Wading River — a proud program in its own right — turned the tables on Miller Place. The Wildcats won 13 out of 15 games against the Panthers before last year, consistently ending their season in the playoffs while running off four straight county titles from 2007-10.

Now, the Panthers have flipped the script back into their favor.

After ending Shoreham’s season in the playoffs last year, the Panthers did it again Saturday morning with a 3-1 victory at Miller Place High School in the Class B semifinals. Going back to last season, the Panthers have now won five straight games against the Wildcats including all three meetings this season.

“This is definitely the strongest team they’ve had for the better part of a decade since I’ve been in the program,” said Shoreham coach J.M. Jackson. “Their program is definitely going places beyond where it was in the past.”

The Wildcats, playing less than 24 hours after a victory over Harborfields, saw their season finish at 8-8. Miller Place, the top seed in the bracket, remains undefeated at 17-0. The Panthers will play Monday for the county championship, which would be their first since 2005.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Christina Malave maintains the ball as Heather Ercolano closes in.

The Panthers feature a roster that more resembles a football team in terms of numbers than a field hockey team. Their depth across the board is hard to match and the Panthers aren’t afraid to rotate in multiple subs.

It helps fuel their high-octane pace, which was something the Wildcats hoped to avoid.

“Coming into today it was just bringing our game and being patient and not falling into the trap of playing that huge run and gun game.”

The Wildcats were more effective in the second half slowing the pace down and maintaining possession in the Miller Place end. But after giving up two goals in the first half, the Wildcats couldn’t mount enough of a comeback.

Shoreham began to earn more penalty corners in the second half and it paid off when sophomore Jessica McCormack converted after a pass from senior Christina Malave.

The goal sliced the Panthers’ lead to 2-1 with 15:42 left in the game. The Wildcats called a timeout four minutes later, regrouping to make one final push to try to tie the game.

Instead, the Panthers, after getting outworked for much of the half, put the game away with 9:18 left. After an initial shot from Miller Place was saved by Shoreham goalkeeper Kendal Conway (8 saves), the ball bounced back out toward Miller Place senior Jamie Emma. She knocked the ball toward the cage and just as it hit the goal line, junior Megan Conzalez tapped it in to push the Panthers’ lead back to two.

The Panthers were playing their first game since Oct. 23. If there was any rust from all the time off, it didn’t show.

The Panthers needed only 92 seconds to score the first goal of the game.

Senior Emily Mott scored off a rebound after a shot from junior Maggie Revera. The two teamed up for the next goal with 13:30 left in the first half, this time with Revera scoring off an assist from Mott. The play was set up off a corner.

“A corner for them is like a point,” Jackson said.

Conway was kept busy in goal for Shoreham. Late in the first half she made three straight saves on one play as the Panthers kept attacking the rebounds. In the second half after Shoreham had the cut the deficit to one, Conway made a stop on Ally Hutzler, who got behind the defense on a breakaway.

“Being her JV coach, she’s come a long way since her freshman year,” Jackson said. “I’m very proud of her. Today was her birthday so the script was written very well. Unfortunately it didn’t end I’m sure the way she wanted it to end.”

Conway was one of nine seniors for Shoreham who played their final field hockey game as a Wildcat.

joew@timesreview.com

11/09/12 6:31pm
11/09/2012 6:31 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Amanda Graziano works the ball up field Friday afternoon against Centereach.

CLASS A PLAYOFFS  |  COUGARS 2, BLUE WAVES 0

After waiting 11 days to play, Riverhead High School’s field hockey season ended on Friday as the Blue Waves dropped a 2-0 decision to host Centereach in the Suffolk County Class A playoffs.

Riverhead was supposed to play this first-round game on Oct. 29, but Hurricane Sandy last week and Wednesday’s nor’easter combined to push this match back until Friday.

Colleen Leahy gave the seventh-seeded Cougars (11-4) all the scoring they needed with a goal off an Amanda Barrett assist with 16:07 remaining in the first half.

Kristin-Anne Lunghi doubled the lead after a scramble in the goal area with 16:53 left in the second half.

The 10th-seeded Blue Waves finished the season at 11-7.

Centereach will play at No. 2 Islip on Saturday.

11/09/12 6:18pm

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Samantha Pedulla passes the ball against Harborfields Friday afternoon in the Class B playoffs.

CLASS B PLAYOFFS  |  WILDCATS 2, TORNADOES 0

There were no joyous screams, no sticks hurled into the air. Certainly no pile up.

As the horn sounded on Shoreham-Wading River’s 2-0 Class B playoff victory over Harborfields (8-9) Friday afternoon, the subdued celebration didn’t seem to quite fit the moment.

But then again, after an unusually long break, and with another game in less than 24 hours, the Wildcats were more inclined to take a breath than scream.

“We really haven’t been in our flow,” said senior Christina Malave. “After that win we were all so tired and drained so we didn’t celebrate as much. Hopefully tomorrow we will.”

The condensed schedule following all the time off in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy and Wednesday’s nor’easter has the Wildcats back at it Saturday morning against No. 1 Miller Place, one of only two undefeated teams in Suffolk County.

On Friday both teams were playing their first game in more than two weeks.

“The officials even said prior to this game, we’ll give you 10 minutes to get the feel back,” said Shoreham coach J.M. Jackson, who recorded his first playoff win as a varsity coach. “They were rusty themselves, admittedly. But it comes back pretty quick. It’s like riding a bike.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shoreham senior Christina Malave helped set up the Wildcats’ first goal Friday.

The Wildcats broke through for the game’s first goal with 18:16 left in the first half. Malave drilled a long pass from outside the circle that made its way all the way through to the goalkeeper. The goalie kicked ball out and junior Kayla Mistretta was waiting right there on the left wing to tip the ball into the cage.

“She’s always in the right position,” Malave said. “She did a great job finishing that off. The goalie wasn’t even there. She was all by herself.”

Mistretta had just been inserted into the game about a minute earlier.

Jackson said Mistretta has been working hard the last few weeks on those type of plays. During warmups Jackson said he saw Mistretta tip a ball in on a similar play.

“I said it doesn’t matter if you miss every one two weeks prior,” Jackson said. “It’s what you do on gameday. And that carried over.”

Malave, a center midfielder, said she loves her position, which allows her to set up other players for scoring opportunities.

“I like giving the assists a lot better because it’s making a play and giving the goal to someone else,” she said. “I like seeing [the forwards] finish. It’s a great position to be in.”

Jackson said finishing chances in front of the goal was a key focus during the extended break.

“We spent the last four to six practices just in front of the goal,” he said. “We’d get the ball up field, we just weren’t closing out. So it’s come to fruition a little bit.”

The Tornadoes, a Division I team that the Wildcats don’t play in the regular season, kept the pressure on in the second half. They generated eight penalty corners in the second half after three in the first.

The Wildcats spent a good portion of the second half in their defensive end. But the defense never broke.

“We just kept pumping each other up,” Malave said. “Kendal [Conway] our goalie was doing a great job of saving the ball at all times. Even though we were breaking up the plays with our feet or a high ball, we were still breaking up the play. That was our main point, just get the ball out of the circle.”

Conway finished with six saves in the shutout.

Jackson said they knew coming into the game that the Tornadoes were quick and aggressive.

“You could see they definitely worked very hard to get tons of corners,” he said.

The Wildcats (8-7) had four penalty corners.

The Wildcats added an insurance goal with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the game when senior Alex Fehmel tipped in a shot from senior Alyssa Pearce.

“When you get that second one it’s such a relief,” said Malave, a four-year varsity player.

On Saturday Shoreham will face the team that ended its season last year in the playoffs. Miller Place also won two games against the Wildcats this season, 3-0 and 2-1. Game time is 10 a.m.

“They kicked us out last year first round of playoffs so that was pretty bitter for us,” Malave said.

The winner of Saturday’s game will play for the county title Monday against No. 2 Rocky Point or No. 3 Sayville.

joew@timesreview.com

11/08/12 12:22pm
11/08/2012 12:22 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Danielle Napoli works the ball up field against Sachem North earlier this year.

The Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River field hockey teams had their playoff games Thursday pushed back because of poor field conditions following the nor’easter that dumped snow across the region.

No. 10 Riverhead will play at 2 p.m. Friday at No. 7 Centereach in Class A.

No. 4 Shoreham will host No. 5 Harborfields at 2 p.m. Friday in Class B.

Not every game in the county was postponed. The McGann-Mercy girls volleyball team will still play Mattituck today in the Class C playoffs at 4 p.m.

11/04/12 9:29am

Riverhead schools superintendent Nancy Carney said district schools will be open on Election Day, as well as Monday, “due to the three day loss of instructional time” during and after Hurricane Sandy last week.

Unlike many schools on Long Island, Riverhead schools were open this past Thursday and Friday as well, though administrators excused children who couldn’t make it due to the circumstances. Attendance was scarce, one teacher told the News-Review, with as few as five or six kids in classes.

Students are to report to school as normal on Election Day, Tuesday, Ms. Carney said.

Superintendent’s conferences had been scheduled for Tuesday but were cancelled.

Although information on Election Day classes out of Shoreham-Wading River wasn’t immediately available, the district website indicates superintendent conferences scheduled for that day were rescheduled as well.

A SWR school board meeting scheduled for Tuesday has also been re-scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 at Prodell Middle School, according to the website.

Ms. Carney is encouraging faculty members to car pool to work to preserve gas, as lines were still long at pumps as of Sunday and relatively few stations were open.

Click here for an updated sports schedule for Riverhead, Shoreham-Wading River and McGann-Mercy High School.

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:

Football

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.

11/01/12 12:26pm
11/01/2012 12:26 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead football team will not be starting the playoffs Saturday as playoff games across Suffolk County were postponed.

All high school sports in Suffolk County have been postponed through Saturday  — including football playoffs that were scheduled to begin Friday night, Section XI announced Thursday morning.

Exact dates for games are still to be determined and more information will be available Friday.

Many schools across the county are closed through the end of the week, making it nearly impossible to coordinate scheduling of any games. The first playoff games were originally to begin last Monday with field hockey. Riverhead was scheduled to play at Centereach as Hurricane Sandy pounded the east coast.

The cross country county championship originally scheduled for Friday may have to be moved to a different location. Sunken Meadow State Park may not be accessible due to many down trees, according to an e-mail sent by Tony Toro, the cross country girls coordinator. Section XI will determine the date and location.

joew@timesreview.com

10/26/12 12:37pm
10/26/2012 12:37 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Maria Dillingham leads the Blue Waves into the playoffs next week as the No. 10 seed.

The Riverhead field hockey team received the No. 10 seed in the Class A playoffs and will travel to No. 7 Centereach Monday for an outbracket playoff game. The winner advances to the quarterfinals against the No. 2 seed, East Islip.

The Blue Waves finished the season on a tear to go 10-4 in Division III, which landed them sixth in power rankings.

Starting with a 1-0 win over William Floyd Oct. 11, the Blue Waves ran off six straight wins to end the season, including a 2-1 victory over Shoreham-Wading River.

Centereach also went 10-4 this season while competing in Division I. The two teams did not face each other in the regular season.

Shoreham, meanwhile, received the No. 4 seed in the Class B playoffs and will host No. 5 Harborfields Tuesday. The winner advances to play top-seeded and undefeated Miller Place.

The Wildcats had an uncharacteristically rough season, finishing only 7-7 in Division III. They were still third in the power rankings. The Wildcats dropped their last two games leading into the playoffs.

With Hurricane Sandy threatening to hit the area late Sunday into Monday, it’s possible both Riverhead and Shoreham’s playoff games could be pushed back to later in the week.

joew@timesreview.com