ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Christina Malave scored one of Shoreham’s goals Thursday night against Comsewogue.
WARRIORS 3, WILDCATS 2 (OT)
From jubilation to heartbreak, all in a matter of minutes.
After rallying from a two-goal deficit in the second half and tying the game in the final seconds, Shoreham-Wading River fell in overtime, 3-2, at Comsewogue under a steady rain Thursday night.
The Wildcats (4-3 Division III) forced the extra session thanks to a goal from senior Alex Fehmel with three seconds left for what began a wild swing of emotions. In overtime teams play with just six field players, creating a much more open and fast-paced game that generates more scoring chances.
The Warriors (4-3 Division III) got a fastbreak with under seven minutes to play in the overtime. As Shoreham goalkeeper Kendal Conway came out to make a play and the defense caught up, the ball got pinned under a Shoreham player in the crowd, giving Comsewogue a penalty stroke.
Karie Znaniecki attempted the stroke and drilled the ball inside the left post to beat Conway for the game-winning goal just 3 1/2 minutes into the extra session.
“We didn’t get back as quickly as we could of,” said Shoreham coach J.M. Jackson. “If the ball’s not kept in play like that or pinned under anybody, they’re going to award a stroke.”
Comsewogue got a fastbreak earlier in the overtime and had a shot deflect off the right post. Shoreham came down the other way and Amanda DeGennaro had a shot saved.
For Fehmel, the game-tying goal was only the second of her career. A standout lacrosse player, Fehmel joined the field hockey team for the first time this season as a senior after playing soccer during the fall in previous years.
“It’s been a nice little experiment,” Jackson said.
Fehmel has started at left wing, the same position Alyssa Fleming played last year when she joined the field hockey team for the first time as a senior.
“Her hand-eye coordination being a lacrosse player, similar to Fleming, is phenomenal,” Jackson said.
Fehmel’s job is to man the post and be ready to put the ball in the cage. Before scoring the goal, Fehmel said she missed an opportunity. Senior Christina Malave hit the ball toward the post and Fehmel started up field, anticipating someone would stop the ball.
“It went right past her and where I should have been,” Fehmel said. “[Malave] said to me, ‘You got to be there, you got to be in your position.’ ”
Fehmel said she got down on herself for a second before turning the miscue into motivation.
When she got another chance, she made sure to be in the right position. The Wildcats got the ball into the circle with only a handful of seconds left. Amid a crowd in front of the cage, Fehmel fell toward the turf as she swung her stick on the ball just as Comsewogue’s goalkeeper tried to kick it away with her left leg. The ball squirted right between a Comsewogue defender’s legs and into the goal.
“I watched it go right between the girls legs,” Fehmel said. “I guess she tried stopping it and missed. I was laying on the ground watching it go between her legs. So that was scary.”
ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Alex Fehmel knocks in the game-tying goal with three seconds left Thursday night.
Fehmel’s been steadily learning and improving each game as she becomes more comfortable in the new sport. She admitted the first few games were a tough adjustment period.
“The ball hit my feet all the time,” she said.
Some lacrosse habits kept popping up as well.
“When a player gets the ball in lacrosse [after a foul] you have to go behind them,” she said. “In the first games I kept going behind the girl instead of backing up and going in front and playing defense. So that part was confusing for me.”
Jackson said Fehmel is the type of player who leads by example.
“Even though it’s her first year in field hockey, she’s still a strong-speaking presence on the team,” he said. “I’m very proud of how hard she’s worked. Admittedly she’ll say it’s not the prettiest, but her work ethic makes up for what she lacks in stick skills.”
The Wildcats got on the board with 24:25 left in the first half on a goal from Malave that came off a penalty corner. DeGennaro helped set up Malave for the shot.
A center midfielder and captain, Malave does a little of everything for Shoreham. Jackson said she usually ends up sending the ball in to set up goals, so he was happy to see her get rewarded with a goal of her own.
“She’s kind of like the backbone of our team,” Jackson said. “It’s not always the most glorious position. You work your butt off all game and you’re not guaranteed a lot of points.”
Thursday’s loss marked the halfway point of the Division III schedule for the Wildcats, who get back at it Tuesday against unbeaten Miller Place.
Three losses this early in the season may be unusual for Shoreham, but Jackson said he’s looking forward to playing every team again.
“I don’t think we played to the fullest of our potential,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve played to the fullest of our potential all season. We’ve had glimmers here and there, but we’re not operating on all cylinders just yet.”