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

10/23/12 9:30pm
10/23/2012 9:30 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Danielle Napoli helped lead the Blue Waves to a 2-0 victory Tuesday against Port Jefferson.

BLUE WAVES 2, ROYALS 0

Riverhead senior Christy Brewer expected a sleepless Tuesday night, wondering if the Blue Waves reached the Suffolk County field hockey playoffs.

Brewer and her teammates did their job by defeating host Port Jefferson in their regular-season Division III finale, 2-0, in the afternoon.

After the game, the Blue Waves (10-4 Division III, 10-6 overall) were in fifth place as only the top six teams in the division would qualify for the postseason. The final rankings, predicated on power rankings, are expected to be listed by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“I’ll definitely not get much sleep tonight wondering who made it,” said Brewer, who scored the insurance goal just as the final horn sounded.

“Being a senior it would mean the world to me, just wanting to go to college and wanting to continue my hockey career,” she added. “It would be so special to know we made the playoffs this year.”

Riverhead dominated long stretches of the game. Sophomore Maria Dillingham lifted the Blue Waves into the lead with 3:10 remaining in the match, converting passes from Rebecca Reilly and Amanda Graziano.

Brewer put home the visitors’ 14th penalty corner off a feed from Reilly.

Goalie Tammy Serabian made 11 saves for Port Jefferson (1-13, 1-12), while her Riverhead counterpart Corinne Kimmelman had two.

10/04/12 11:01pm
10/04/2012 11:01 PM

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.”

joew@timesreview.com

09/25/12 7:00pm
09/25/2012 7:00 PM

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

FLAMING ARROWS 1, BLUE WAVES 0

The predicament surrounding the Riverhead field hockey team through the first seven games of the season has little to do with effort or opportunities.

The Blue Waves play hard, can control the ball, keep it deep in the defensive zone at times, and generate scoring chances.

Converting on those has been another story.

Such was the case Tuesday afternoon in a 1-0 non-league loss at Sachem North, a game the Blue Waves controlled for much of the action without ever putting the ball into the cage.

It was the third time this season the Blue Waves were blanked. For the season the Blue Waves have just five goals (.71 per game).

Riverhead coach Cheryl Walsh said sometimes the players are taking lower percentage shots and fail to pounce on rebounds, which are often a great source of goals.

“We’ll get a first shot and then we’re not ready to get that rebound off the goalie where other teams are right in there,” she said. “We need to learn to play that rebound a little more and get that second and third shot.”

The Blue Waves had five penalty corners against Sachem North (1-6) and couldn’t generate any good scoring chances from them.

Riverhead (3-2 Division III, 3-4 overall) opened the game strong before hitting a bit of a lull with about 10 minutes left in the first half. The Flaming Arrows started working the ball deep into Riverhead’s end and putting the Blue Waves on their heels.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead sophomore Maria Dillingham has four goals so far this season, including the game-winner from Monday against Greenport.

Sachem finally converted with 3:19 left in the half when Arianna Franz scored on a shot from the left side about five yards out off a pass from Paige Thorsen.

Walsh said it’s frustrating when the team dominates at the beginning of the game, only to end up playing from behind when the opponent capitalizes on a scoring chance.

“They get down on our end that one time and they score,” she said. “We say that to our kids all the time, we can’t dominate, dominate, dominate and then they get one breakaway down and they score on us.”

Riverhead senior Corinne Kimmelman stopped five shots in cage for the Blue Waves. Sachem North goalkeeper Chelsea Palma made 10 saves.

Most of the scoring for Riverhead this season has come from sophomore Maria Dillingham, a speedy forward. She scored the winning goal a day earlier when the Blue Waves defeated Greenport 1-0 on the road for a pivotal Division III victory.

Dillingham has scored four of Riverhead’s five goals.

“She’s doing very well as a sophomore,” Walsh said. “I’m still experimenting a little bit with the forward line.”

Walsh said senior Rebecca Reilly, who has one goal on the season, has done a nice job on the right side. In each game Walsh said she tries to determine what the best spot on the field is for Dillingham, whether to have her play in the middle or work from the outside opposite Reilly.

The Blue Waves had a flurry of chances in the final 11 minutes to try and knock in an equalizer against the Flaming Arrows. Sophomore Amanda Baron had a shot saved with about 6:20 left.

Earlier in the half she another shot saved after Dillingham charged up the right sideline and delivered a strong pass into the circle. Baron got a stick on it for a shot, which deflected back out, but the Blue Waves weren’t in position to capitalize on the rebound.

“It’s not the first game,” Walsh said. “It happens over and over again that we’re down there. Against some teams we’re even dominating and we can’t put the ball in.”

After playing back-to-back games, the Blue Waves will have a full week off before returning to action against Shoreham-Wading River Oct. 2. They’ll play Port Jefferson Oct. 4 to conclude the first half of the league season.

To have a chance at making the playoffs, Walsh said she knows the Blue Waves will need to find a way to knock off one of the top teams on their schedule.

They’ll get their first chance against the Wildcats, whose two losses this season have come against the top two teams in the division by one goal each (2-1 against Miller Place and 3-2 against Rocky Point).

joew@timesreview.com

09/05/12 8:01pm
09/05/2012 8:01 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Kendal Conway returns for the Wildcats this year.

On the bus ride back from Cortland after the Shoreham-Wading River girls lacrosse team won the state championship in June, it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn toward the future.

Several girls were already looking ahead to next fall and the start of field hockey season. On the bus with them, assistant coach J.M. Jackson also had an eye on the next season. After seven years coaching JV field hockey and assisting with the varsity, Jackson was about to take over the varsity program that for decades was under Lea Calligeros.

Jackson is now the coach of one of the most successful field hockey programs in Suffolk County, a team loaded with returning players. Calligeros opted to retire at the end of last season after an illustrious career that included a state championship in 1997 and four straight county titles from 2007-10.

For someone who never played the sport — field hockey is predominantly a female sport in America — Jackson said he learned under Calligeros as he got a better feeling for coaching the sport over the years.

Last spring Jackson contemplated taking a year off from coaching as he went through a difficult time with his father passing away. But he ultimately felt an obligation toward continuing what Calligeros had built.

“It would have broke my heart to see that many returning kids have a new coach come into the program and basically start everything over,” Jackson said.

The Wildcats saw their run of county titles come to an end last season when they were knocked off in the first round of the playoffs. While the Wildcats did lose their top two players in Debi-Michelle Jantzen and Kaitlyn Taddeo — both of whom are playing Division I field hockey in college now — they return a strong core that should have the team in the hunt once again for the top spot in the county.

“I think the girls from a very early time recognized that everyone was going to have to step up to get this done this year,” Jackson said. “We’re going to have to spread out our scoring, spread out our points and pretty much move up the field as a unit.”

Senior Christina Malave returns as a versatile player for Shoreham who can play both defense and midfield. Senior Lauren Lustgarten will be a “mainstay on defense,” Jackson said, along with Kim Pflumm.

Senior Kendal Conway, who started last year in goal, returns between the pipes. Senior Amanda DeGennaro returns as a midfielder/forward.

The Wildcats have gotten some new players to join the team this year as well from the lacrosse team. Seniors Clare Blomberg and Alex Fehmel both decided to join the team this fall.

Blomberg played on the JV as a sophomore and had a strong season. She decided not to play last year and focus on preparing for lacrosse. Fehmel, meanwhile, had never played field hockey before deciding to give it a go as a senior.

Last year Alyssa Fleming joined the team for the first time as a senior and had an immediate impact as one of the team’s leading scorers. Fehmel, who will play forward, could have a similar impact.

“She just knows where to be on the field,” Jackson said. “She knows how to get open.”

Blomberg informed Jackson her intentions to play field hockey again on the bus ride back from Cortland. Fehmel overhead them talking about it and she expressed her own interest in playing.

“We joked around and I didn’t know if she was serious at the time,” Jackson said. “We’ve come to find that she’s been training pretty hard with some of the girls over the summer.”

The Wildcats will have a couple tough scrimmages to get ready for the season, including against Ward Melville, one of the top teams in Class A every year.

In Division III the Wildcats can expect the usual cast of teams to be the top competition. Miller Place, the team that knocked Shoreham out of the playoffs last year, returns another deep, talented team. Jackson said last year the Panthers had eight or nine girls playing JV who would have been good enough to make the varsity at most schools.

The Wildcats will find out soon enough how they match up against the Panthers. The two teams open up against each other in Division III Sept. 13.

joew@timesreview.com

09/05/12 8:00pm

BARBARALLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Amanda Graziano returns as part of the core four for the Blue Waves.

The core four of the Riverhead field hockey team has played together on varsity since their freshman year. As they begin their senior year on a team that lost a big chunk of last year’s lineup, they’ll be asked to shoulder a heavy load in their final year.

“They have been pretty dedicated to the program and worked very hard since they were in seventh grade,” said Riverhead coach Cheryl Walsh-Edwards. “They’re going to be the backbone of the team.”

Leading that core is center midfielder Christy Brewer, a year-round field hockey player who the Blue Waves will look to gel around. Amanda Graziano, who played in the midfield last year, returns and will start off the season playing more defense. She’ll likely play both positions throughout the season.

Christina Sacchitello returns to help anchor the defense as well. Rounding out the core four is Corinne Kimmelman, who will find herself in an entirely new role this season.

Kimmelman played as a defender and forward last season as a junior. But with the Blue Waves in need of a goalkeeper, she volunteered to step up and try to fill the void.

“She’s doing very well,” Walsh-Edwards said. “She’s a great athlete, very agile and very quick.”

Knowing that there was going to be a goalie spot opening up this year and no one in line to take over, the Blue Waves tried out Kimmelman at times last year in goal during practice.

“She stepped up to the plate,” Walsh-Edwards said.

The Blue Waves have two more seniors in Rebecca Reilly (forward) and Alex McKillop (defense). McKillop is in her first year playing field hockey after switching from soccer.

“She’s doing a really nice job,” Walsh-Edwards said.

The Blue Waves will have some speed on the field with sophomore Maria Dillingham on the forward line. Dillingham was a strong distance runner in track and field during the winter and spring last year. Junior Kyra Braunskill-Miller, another track star who was one of the top triple jumpers in the state, will be playing her first year on varsity. She just started playing field hockey last year.

Other returnees include junior Sydney Kito on defense, sophomore Danielle Napoli in the midfield and sophomore Amanda Baron on the forward line.

Freshman Emily Masse will start in the midfield and defenders Shannon Harden and Rashae Smith are both in their first year on varsity.

“There’s a lot of youth, a lot of kids that might be a little older but don’t have those years of field hockey behind them so it’s just kind of getting them all to mesh together,” Walsh-Edwards said. “But I’ve been happy so far.”

The Blue Waves were seeded ninth in Division III. They open the season Friday with a non-league game against Pierson/Bridgehampton. The league schedule opens up Sept. 11 at Southampton.

joew@timesreview.com

11/01/11 5:01pm
11/01/2011 5:01 PM

PANTHERS 2, WILDCATS 1

For four straight years the Miller Place Panthers saw their season end at the hands of Shoreham-Wading River. Each season the Wildcats won the Class B county championship.

Kaitlyn Taddeo

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Kaitlyn Taddeo scored the Wildcats' lone goal Tuesday against Miller Place.

Tuesday afternoon, the Panthers finally got their revenge.

No. 5 Miller Place, less than a week after defeating Shoreham in the regular season finale, prevailed 2-1 at Shoreham-Wading River High School in the first round of the Class B playoffs. It’ll be the first time Shoreham didn’t reach a county final since 2006.

All three goals were scored in the first half. Sophomore Maggie Revera put the Panthers on the board first just over five minutes into the game. The Wildcats answered about seven minutes later when Kaitlyn Taddeo ripped a shot from the right side.

The Panthers came back right before halftime to retake the lead when junior Tiana Parrella scored.

Miller Place improved to 11-6 and will travel Friday to top-seeded and undefeated Sayville in the semifinals. Shoreham ends the season at 13-4, with two losses in its final two games, both to Miller Place.

The Panthers last won a county title in 2005, a year they also beat Shoreham in the playoffs. Before last week the Wildcats were 13-2 against Miller Place since the start of the 2006 season.