10/19/10 6:55pm
10/19/2010 6:55 PM

If nothing else, the Southold / Greenport high school girls soccer team can say that it is undefeated against the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs this season.

The Clippers defeated McGann-Mercy, the only team they have beaten this season, for the second time on Tuesday. Both teams entered the Suffolk County League VIII game with only one win each. Justina Babcock notched a goal and an assist and Megan Knapp assisted twice in a 3-0 result at Southold High School that snapped a five-game losing streak by the Clippers.

In a season in which they have seen their share of difficulties, it was a good day for the Clippers (2-9-1, 2-7-1), who were 2-0 winners over McGann-Mercy (1-11, 1-8) on Sept. 29.

“There were a lot of positives from the game today,” Southold / Greenport Coach Kevin McGoey said. “We moved the ball around well. We were able to move it to the outside and get some crosses in to score a couple of goals.”

For all of their dominance in the first half, the Clippers had only one goal to show for it. Babcock, a freshman midfielder in her first varsity season, broke the ice in the seventh minute with her fourth goal of the season. Chasing after a left-wing service from Knapp, Babcock beat goalkeeper Amy Boden to the ball and put her shot away.

A little later in the half, Mackenzie Lennox of the Clippers sent the ball off the right post and it bounced back safely into Boden’s hands.

Nicole Busso made it 2-0 on Knapp’s second assist in the 61st minute.

Chelsea Anderson completed the scoring less than three minutes later, knocking in a centering pass from Babcock.

Southold / Greenport goalkeeper Melissa Rogers didn’t need to bother making a single save as the Clippers held a 24-0 advantage in shots. Boden made nine saves.

“Today we put together a lot of passes,” McGann-Mercy junior center midfielder Brieanne Bieber said. “We worked well as a team. We played the game of soccer. We just didn’t finish our shots today. We’d get an unlucky touch at the end or we’d touch it too far and their goalie would get it.”

Both teams are in similar situations. The playoffs are out of the question and the losses far outnumber the wins, but spirits have been high, nonetheless.

McGann-Mercy Coach Jacki Paton said her team is making progress.

“We’ve had better possessions,” she said. “We’re putting a lot more passes together, which we didn’t do in the beginning of the season, so we’ve improved as a unit together, and that was the goal.”

The Monarchs dropped their ninth straight game since a 5-2 win over The Ross School Ravens on Sept. 23. Bieber said the record isn’t an accurate reflection of how the Monarchs have played. She said the players are learning how to play together.

“We have a lot of good individual players, but we don’t really necessarily click,” Bieber said. “We don’t put the passes together. We’ll get one or two passes, but we need like four or five and then we need that shot at the end, and we have trouble getting all of that together.”

The Clippers know all about that. With only three players back from last year’s team, they knew 2010 wasn’t going to be an easy road.

“It’s been pretty tough, but we’ve been playing good even though we lost, and we’ve been playing really well as a team,” Babcock said. “We’ve progressed a lot. It’s been a good season even though we lost most of the games.”

McGoey said his players are learning what it takes to play at the varsity level in terms of commitment and intensity, and they are making strides forward.

“They’ve improved every game we played,” he said. “Unfortunately, the scores haven’t always reflected our improvement on the field.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/18/10 6:42pm
10/18/2010 6:42 PM

Tim Page knew he had to try something different. The last time his Riverhead High School girls soccer team played the Bellport Clippers, the Blue Waves ended up on the short end of a 7-1 scoreline.

So, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of that result, the Riverhead coach went with a defensive 5-4-1 formation in the rematch on Monday at Riverhead High School. The single forward, by the way, was Carolyn Carrera, who usually tries to prevent goals as a goalkeeper rather than score them as a forward. In her place, Amanda Gallo made her first varsity start in goal.

The plan wasn’t a bad one. It almost worked.

Gallo played a super game, stopping one shot after another, but Bellport’s ability won out in the end. Jennifer Martino scored two goals and assisted on another as Bellport cruised, 3-0, in the Suffolk County League IV game.

“I was hoping they were looking past us and we might catch them off-guard,” said Page, whose team was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. “It didn’t work out that way.”

If nothing else, the Blue Waves received a reminder that they have two good goalkeepers in Carrera, a freshman, and Gallo, a junior. Gallo denied the Clippers time and again with some fine stops. She was credited with 24 saves.

“Boy, Amanda made a couple of nice high stops,” Page said. “She showed me she can play.”

But not even Gallo’s heroics were enough to stop Martino from helping Bellport (6-8, 5-5) to its third straight victory, which pulled the Clippers to within one win of clinching a playoff berth. Bellport will close out its regular season with games against the West Babylon Eagles on Oct. 25 and the North Babylon Bulldogs on Oct. 27. Last year Bellport lost to the West Islip Lions in the Suffolk Class AA quarterfinals, and the Clippers want to return to the postseason.

“It’s so important to us,” said Martino, who is Bellport’s leading scorer with seven goals and five assists this season. “We all want this so bad. Plus, being a senior, your last year, you want to make the playoffs. You want to make a statement for your team, your school and everything.”

Bellport’s progress was slowed a bit by injuries earlier in the season, but things seem to be coming around for the Clippers.

“We have a lot of individual talent. I think we just need to put everything together,” said Martino, one of only four seniors on a team loaded with underclassmen. “We had a little bit of a slump in the beginning of the season, and it’s starting to pick up.”

Bellport Coach Tony Esposito said, “Their main goal is to get in the dance.” He added: “We’ve been plagued with some injuries, but we have everybody back healthy for the most part. When we have a healthy crew, we can be very dangerous.”

As the Blue Waves (3-7, 2-7) have found.

Bellport took the lead in the 18th minute. Martino caught up to a bouncing ball laid forward by Haley Gibbons, took one touch with her left foot and then shot with her right foot into the left side of the net.

Martino had a foot in the second goal in the second half. She wove through a trio of Riverhead players before centering for a wide-open Caitlyn Pabst. Pabst made no mistake directing her first-time effort into the goal.

Bellport’s heavy pressure on the Riverhead defense paid off with a third goal. Elena Fountis headed a ball across the goalmouth where Martino, after one bounce, struck a lethal left-footed volley.

Martino, an all-league player last year who looks destined to play at the collegiate level, is a talent.

“She’s very tenacious out there,” Esposito said. “She works very hard all the time. She’s a typical nose-to-the-goal type of goal scorer. She’s always looking to plunk the ball in the back of the net.”

Bellport was unfortunate not to have scored more goals on Monday, but Gallo frustrated many of those efforts.

Riverhead was dropped down from League III to League IV this year, but the competition has remained stiff. “It doesn’t seem like it got any easier,” Page said. “There are some powerful teams out there. I tip my hat to all of them.”

“I feel like we’re getting stronger,” Riverhead stopper Savannah Smith said. “The season’s been pretty rough. I mean, we’re not doing as well as we hoped, but everyone’s pulling together. Really, I think we just need more spirit and more confidence because we have a great group of girls.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/16/10 8:35pm
10/16/2010 8:35 PM

It was halftime of Friday night’s Suffolk County Division IV football game, and the visiting Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs trailed The Stony Brook School Bears by 20-16. As McGann-Mercy Coach Joe Read talked to his players, he reminded them to stay calm.

“We were in good shape,” Read said afterward. “We know we can outlast teams. We just had to stick to our assignments.”

In a thoroughly dominating second-half performance, the Monarchs did just that. The McGann-Mercy defense held the Bears to five first downs. On offense, the Monarchs’ Pat Stepnoski ran for three of his four touchdowns. He finished with a career-high 259 yards on 31 carries.

McGann-Mercy won, 40-20.

“Once we settled down,” Read said, “our lines did a great job.”

Both teams scored at will in the opening half. McGann-Mercy (2-4) opened the game with an onside kick and marched down the field to score on Rob Terry’s two-yard dive into the end zone. Stepnoski then caught the two-point conversion pass from Keith Schroeher (4 of 7, 73 yards passing).

The Bears (0-6) struck right back when McGann-Mercy missed a defensive assignment and Stony Brook quarterback Marco Masakayan scampered five yards to score.

Early in the second quarter, Stepnoski burst 20 yards up the middle for a touchdown. Terry (87 yards on 10 carries) ran in the two-point conversion to put McGann-Mercy back on top, 16-6.

But Stony Brook answered with two quick touchdowns, the go-ahead score coming on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Masakayan to Jerome Washington.

The Monarchs, who were almost completely healthy for the first time this season, played like a different team in the second half.

D. J. Wilmott and Terry contained Masakayan. The Stony Brook offense never got going again. McGann-Mercy’s Ryan Heimroth recovered a pair of fumbles and teammate Ryan Stetler intercepted a pass.

“Our defense was much better,” Read said. “We were disciplined and aggressive. We gang tackled.”

Stepnoski, running behind the superb blocking of Ray Ellis, Anthony Heppner and Terry, picked up huge chunks of yardage. Early in the third quarter, Stepnoski, on an option run, scooted 23 yards around the end for a touchdown. Terry ran in the two-point conversion.

Stepnoksi then sliced off tackle seven yards into the end zone. He also scored on the two-point conversion run.

Stepnoski capped his performance by galloping 37 yards straight up the middle in the fourth quarter to score untouched. Schroeher ran for the two points. Stepnoksi also caught four passes for 73 yards.

“Pat is a great athlete,” Read said. “Rob Terry is a tremendous asset as his lead blocker, but Pat also has great instincts. He reads the blocks and moves the right way. His instincts take over.”

Read was pleased with his team’s overall performance.

“Our potential is now starting to be seen now that we are at full strength,” he said. “I knew we were capable of moving the ball. Now, the defense is starting to kick in.”


This post was originally published Oct. 16, 2010

10/16/10 8:34pm

It’s a mistake to confuse seniority with experience. They are not the same thing. Just because a high school football team has plenty of seniors on its roster doesn’t mean that it has a lot of game experience. For a perfect example, look at the Riverhead Blue Waves.

Riverhead could basically field a team within a team with all the seniors that it has. In Riverhead ‘s final home game of the regular season on Saturday, the Blue Waves recognized 22 senior players, along with their parents, in a pregame ceremony for their service to the program. But, as this season has shown the struggling Blue Waves time and time again, seniors alone do not make for a winning team. A precious few of those 22 seniors had varsity playing experience prior to this season, and that has been painfully evident as Riverhead has dropped three straight losses and five of six Suffolk County Division II games this season.

The Comsewogue Warriors put a damper on Riverhead ‘s homecoming day celebration on Saturday with a 20-0 shutout at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field. The Blue Waves, whose playoff chances were all but crushed, looked lifeless and deflated by the way they played.

Riverhead senior defensive end Kevin Klerk said, “After the first half, we came out hooting and hollering, thinking we were going to do something, and we just didn’t follow through.”

Riverhead Coach Leif Shay sensed the same thing. “I felt that we were going to play with more passion than we did,” he said. “It just seemed like we didn’t have a spark the whole day.”

Fourth-place Comsewogue (4-2), which appears headed for the playoffs, had its share of sparks from its quarterback, Matt Scalera, its running back/linebacker, Vin Masone, and its defense.

Scalera ran for one touchdown and threw for another. Masone, who had missed the previous two games with a deep thigh bruise, returned to action in a big way. The senior with thighs that look like tree trunks, proved difficult to bring down, eating up 102 yards on 31 carries.

“He’s almost there,” Comsewogue Coach Chuck Carron replied when asked how Masone looked. “He’s 6-foot-2, he’s 230 pounds, and he runs hard. It’s physics.”

Masone said he had played a couple of games with the thigh bruise, the result of hits he had taken to his right thigh. Now, he said, he feels good.

“It feels great to be back,” he said.

Comsewogue’s ground game was the story of the game. The Warriors ran 63 offensive plays, and 59 of them were runs. With Masone’s yardage and another 92 yards from Scalera, Comsewogue gained 247 yards on the ground and had the ball for 33 minutes 51 seconds to Riverhead ‘s 14:09. The Blue Waves had possession for only 5:50 of the first half. Their longest series of offensive plays in the game consumed only 2:40 off the clock.

“They just ran it right down [our] throat,” Shay said. If “we can’t stop them and we can’t move the ball, it’s going to be a rough day.”

Comsewogue opened the game with an 80-yard drive that ended with a five-yard run off the right side and into the end zone by Scalera. All 15 plays on the drive were runs.

The Warriors upped their lead to 12-0 on a six-yard burst up the middle by Matt Welsch with 2 minutes 48 seconds left in the first half.

Comsewogue then scored on its first series in the third quarter, with Scalera finding Roger Willenbrock for a nine-yard connection.

“You saw it,” Shay said. “We got beat up on both sides of the ball.”

Riverhead never really looked like a threat to score although it reached as far as the Comsewogue 16- and 19-yard lines on separate series before seeing the drives die on downs.

“I didn’t expect for them to play the way that they did, and I did not expect our team to play as poorly as we did,” Klerk said. “I feel that we have an identity crisis. We can’t get it done, and we need to get it done.”

One of the few bright spots for Riverhead was the individual play of several of its defensive players, including Owen Keupp (12 tackles), Reggie Moore (11 tackles), Mario Carrera (10 tackles), Michael Curaba (seven tackles, two passes defended) and Klerk (six tackles, one sack).

Klerk was sitting in Shay’s office after the game, looking clearly upset about the loss, when he was asked near the end of an interview if he had anything else to say.

“No words,” he said, “just disappointed.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/13/10 8:31pm
10/13/2010 8:31 PM

This bumpy ride of a season for the Riverhead High School girls soccer team continued on Tuesday.

After edging the Copiague Eagles, 2-1, on Friday, the Blue Waves fell to the Comsewogue Warriors, 7-0, on Tuesday afternoon. Comsewogue scored three quick first-half goals and, as Riverhead Coach Tim Page quietly said on the bus ride home, “they pummeled us.”

Crysta Denis tallied two of the first-half goals while Kendall Frank had a goal and an assist. Comsewogue, using the give-and-go to exploit Riverhead , poured in four more goals in the second half. The Blue Waves (3-6 overall, 2-6 in Suffolk County League IV) inadvertently deflected two goals into their own net.

“Comsewogue has a good team,” Page said. “They caught us flatfooted. We tried to keep up, but we have to learn how to mark better. Once we got down, we got even flatter.”

Riverhead goalkeeper Carolyn Carrera made 14 saves or the final score would have been even more lopsided. The Blue Waves did not put a lot of pressure on Comsewogue goalie Kim Comstock (two saves). Riverhead ‘s Ashley Drozd had a couple of good shots on goal, but could not capitalize.

While the loss to Comsewogue (4-5-2, 4-3) was frustrating, the win over Copiague was uplifting.

Riverhead scored all the goals it needed in the first half, as Megan Weiss and Alex McKillop both found the net. Weiss scored at the 25-minute mark off a set play. She drilled the ball into the upper right corner of the net. Five minutes later, McKillop, off a pass from Drozd, blasted a shot from 20 yards out into the upper right corner of the net.

Copiague (1-8, 0-7) cut the Riverhead lead to 2-1 late in the half on a goal by Alyssa Tsistinis off a corner kick.

Both teams turned up the offensive pressure in the second half, but failed to score. Carrera made 11 saves. She came out aggressively on corner kicks to thwart a couple of Copiague scoring opportunities.

“Both teams had equal ability,” Page said. “We both went back and forth, but we held on for the win.”

After losing 13 seniors to graduation, Page said the Blue Waves are about where he thought they would be at this point in the season.

“We’re a young team,” he said. “We’re still moving people around. We’re trying to learn and hopefully find our groove.”

10/13/10 8:14pm

Malcolm Cater was known as the “Caterizer” when he was hitting football players for Riverhead High School. Now that he makes his bone-crunching hits for Syracuse University, he has a new nickname: “Clothesline Cater.”

That came about as a result of a clothesline tackle Cater made on Maine’s Steven Barker on a second-quarter kickoff in a 38-14 Syracuse win earlier this season.

But that isn’t the only new nickname Cater has picked up. The freshman has also been called “Cater the assassinator” and “A-gap,” a reference to Cater’s propensity for charging into the rushing lane between the center and guard.

Cater, who was the co-winner of the Carl A. Hansen Award along with his cousin, former Half Hollow Hills West Colts quarterback/free safety JeVahn Cruz, is making an impression at Syracuse. He is a backup middle linebacker and plays for every one of the Orange[‘s special teams except the punt team.

“I’m giving 120 percent,” Cater told The Riverhead News-Review in a recent phone interview. “When I first got out there, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be. I just want to prove to everybody what I can do.”

Cater gave Syracuse Coach Doug Marone an idea of what he could do when he entered the Maine game at middle linebacker late in a contest that had already been decided. That didn’t dim Cater’s enthusiasm, though. According to The Post-Standard, Cater did the following over seven plays: he assisted teammate Dan Vaughan on two tackles; knocked Maine quarterback Warren Smith out of the game on a hard, clean tackle; and sacked backup quarterback Chris Treister.

In five games, Cater has made nine tackles, seven unassisted, as well as one sack.

Cater, who said he is hitting harder than ever, has found that the college game is a different animal than what he played in high school. “It’s a lot different,” he said. “It’s more faster. You can’t really make mistakes. Running backs are so much faster and stronger.”

And then there is the thinking part of the game. Cater said studying film and taking notes on tendencies and such is like going to class for football.

Mike Owen, a former Riverhead High School player who played for Syracuse before graduating this past spring, has spoken to Cater. According to Cater, Owen, who is currently an assistant coach for the Blue Waves, went to the Maine game and saw Cater in action. Cater said, “After he saw me play that game, he said, “Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing real good.’ “

Syracuse won its Big East opener on Saturday, defeating South Florida, 13-9, in Tampa, Fla. That made it the first time since 1991 that Syracuse has started a season with a 4-1 record.

“The team looks real good,” Cater said. “We’re flying to the ball every day. We’re hitting hard.”

Cater raved about Syracuse, calling it a “great environment.” He said: “What I like best about playing for Syracuse is the coaches teach you every aspect. They sit down with you and they want you to learn.”

Riverhead fans can recognize Cater in the familiar No. 4 uniform, the same number he wore for the Blue Waves. He said Syracuse had that number waiting for him.

“I just love that number,” he said. “If I get that number in the NFL, I’ll wear that, too.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

10/13/10 8:12pm

Louis Manoussos knows the growing pains can be difficult. But the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs boys soccer coach also knows what it takes to successfully build a young program. In their fourth varsity season, Manoussos knows the scores right now are irrelevant.

While it was a difficult week on the scoreboard for McGann-Mercy — Center Moriches beat the Monarchs, 7-1, on Tuesday after the Mattituck Tuckers had shut them out, 6-0, last Wednesday — Manoussos said, “The effort was there, but the execution isn’t there yet.”

In the game at Center Moriches, the Red Devils jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before McGann-Mercy’s Bereket Watts scored on a rocket of a shot from 18 yards out. Watts, who started last year as a seventh-grader, is now considered a veteran by Manoussos. Center Moriches (10-2 overall, 7-2 in Suffolk County League VII) scored the final five goals of the game. If not for 12 saves by McGann-Mercy goalkeeper Roger Young the score could have been even more lopsided.

Mattituck (9-1, 6-1), on its home field, thoroughly dominated the Monarchs (1-9, 1-6). The Tuckers, sparked by Andres Aldaz and Shawn Smiley, who scored two goals apiece, exploded for five first-half goals and added four more in the second half. Young had 13 saves. Cody Huntley (two) and Austin Scoggin combined for three saves as the Tuckers recorded their sixth shutout of the season.

“We are overmatched against the bigger schools like Center Moriches and Mattituck ,” Manoussos said. “We don’t have the experience to match up against them yet.”

The Monarchs are starting two eighth-graders, one freshman, and three sophomores. They have six seniors on the bench, and Manoussos is preaching patience.

“I’ve decided to go with youth,” he said. “I want the kids to gain experience so that we’re better next year. The scores of these games are not a true indication of how much we have improved. We’ve gotten spanked, but we will only get better. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Manoussos takes great pride in building a program.

“Right now we’re competitive in the first half, but we don’t have the experience to play a complete game,” he said. “These kids don’t give up. They are relentlessly on the ball. They play with emotion and passion. They are just young and inexperienced. Their conditioning is tremendous. They maintain their stamina. We’re getting respect, so I know we’re on the right path.”

Manoussos firmly believes “we’ll make some noise in a few years.”

“We’ve just [got] to continue to grow and mature,” he said. “This year we’ve added a junior varsity and a junior high team, which is a great feeder program. My vision is, what can Mercy do in one or two years? These kids really want to play. We’re not very far off.”

10/12/10 7:55pm
10/12/2010 7:55 PM

A funny thing happened on the way to a rebuilding a season — the Bishop McGann-Mercy High School girls tennis team won a championship. That’s right, another one. Who would have thought?

Certainly not the Monarchs.

With McGann-Mercy having lost eight players from last year, Coach Mike Clauberg’s expectations for this season were modest. After all, the Monarchs returned only three players from 2009: singles player Elizabeth Barlow and the first doubles team of Taryn Enck and Kayleigh Macchirole.

“Everyone was new besides the three of us, so we really didn’t know what was going to happen,” Barlow said. “A whole bunch of new girls, we knew there was talent, but we thought there would be no chemistry, but everyone clicked.”

The Monarchs claimed at least a share of their third straight league title — and fourth in sixth years — with a 6-1 defeat of the Rocky Point Eagles on Friday. Then the Monarchs topped that on Tuesday, assuring themselves of sole possession of first place in Suffolk County League VIII with a 6-1 win over the Hampton Bays Baymen in Riverhead .

The Monarchs (13-2, 13-0) may have surprised opponents; they surely surprised themselves.

“This is the biggest shock of my entire coaching career,” said Clauberg, who figured his team would be looking at third place, at best, this year.

How wrong he was. New players filled in wonderfully and produced results.

“It was like a whole new team,” Macchirole said. “This team showed me so much because I didn’t expect it at all.”

The Monarchs have won 79 games and lost 26 heading into their final regular-season match Thursday against the Riverhead Blue Waves. McGann-Mercy, which will be making its third straight appearance in the Suffolk Team Tournament, suffered its only two losses in non-leaguers to the East Hampton/Bridgehampton Bonackers and the William Floyd Colonials.

“I definitely think a lot of people underestimated us, but we definitely pulled through,” one of McGann-Mercy’s new players, sophomore Cassidy Lessard, said. “I think the girls are really excited. There’s a lot of meaning behind it, especially for our seniors. For the ones who were on the team last year, it was really great for them to have another league championship.”

For Barlow, Enck and Macchirole, it was their third straight league title as well. They join Liz Rossi and Brooke Lessard as the only McGann-Mercy players to have played on three league champion teams. Over the past three years, the Monarchs have put up a staggering 43-4 record.

Barlow, who played second singles for most of the season and first singles on Tuesday, said this latest championship is “probably the sweetest because I feel as if I had more of a part in it, not like I didn’t have parts in the others, but I feel like I’m a big component in this one.”

McGann-Mercy secured its 10th straight win on Tuesday and extended its league winning streak to 40 matches, a string that started in 2007.

All six of McGann-Mercy’s points on Tuesday came in tidy two-set affairs. The match of the day might have been at second singles, which saw Lessard score a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Davie Romer.

More wins for the Monarchs came from Lindsey Merker and Stefanie Blanco at third and fourth singles, respectively. Merker beat Lulu Zhou, 6-0, 6-0, and Blanco was a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Casandra Phillips.

Meanwhile, McGann-Mercy swept the three doubles matches with easy wins posted by the pairings of Erica Blanco and Macchirole (6-0, 6-1 over Abby Kraycar and Darby Tupper), Shannon Merker and Ashley Yakaboski (6-0, 6-0 over Klaudia Maslowska and Chessa Sheppard), and Caitlin Lalor and Jackie Read (6-1, 6-1 over Jackie Mogollon and Carly Rosenberg).

The only point for Hampton Bays (2-10, 2-10) came from Tarrin Joslin at first singles. Joslin’s formidable serve and ground strokes helped her to a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Barlow.

Prior to the match, McGann-Mercy’s final home contest of the season, assistant coach Dave Lessard presented flowers to the three McGann-Mercy seniors who were present at an emotional on-court ceremony: Barlow, Lindsey Merker and Macchirole. (The team’s fourth senior, Enck, has missed most of the season because of illness.)

“I was almost crying,” said Barlow. Referring to having played her final match on McGann-Mercy’s courts, she said, “It kind of hasn’t set in yet, but it’s sad, it’s really sad.”

Then again, there is the happiness of another league title, an impressive accomplishment for a school with the third-smallest student enrollment in Suffolk.

Clauberg attributed the title to off-season programs, camps, and players taking private lessons.

“We really work hard at practice,” Cassidy Lessard said. “We play in the off-season constantly. There’s a lot of dedication throughout the whole team.”

The results speak for themselves. So much for rebuilding.

bliepa@timesreview.com