03/07/13 8:00pm
03/07/2013 8:00 PM

WESTERN CONNECTICUT ATHLETICS PHOTO | Jackie Zilnicki of Riverhead was named to the 2013 Little East All-Conference Team.

COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Zilnicki on defensive team Jackie Zilnicki of Riverhead is one of four Western Connecticut State University players who have been named to the 2013 Little East All-Conference Team. Zilnicki joined teammate Sha’Quira Palmer on the All-Defensive Team. Zilnicki, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, averaged 11.3 points and a team-high (along with Carly Murphy) 5.6 rebounds while leading the team with 41 steals.

Western Connecticut finished with an overall record of 19-8, one victory shy of the program’s fifth 20-win season in the past six years.

SUNY ONEONTA ATHLETICS PHOTO | Daniel Stern tallied eight points in a win over Southwestern University.

COLLEGE MEN’S LACROSSE: Stern gets 4 goals, 4 assists Daniel Stern, a junior from Shoreham, led the charge and finished the day with four goals and four assists for SUNY/Oneonta (1-1) in a 12-3 defeat of Southwestern University on Feb. 23. Oneonta outshot Southwestern, 42-26, and picked up 32 more ground balls (56-24). In Oneonta’s opening game of the season, a 17-6 loss to Whittier College, Oneonta started out strong, going up 2-0 on goals by James Reiser and Anthony Laureano, both off Stern assists, before Whittier tied it up by the end of the first period. The second period started much like the first as Stern put the Red Dragons on the board again. Whittier then went on an 8-0 burst to take the lead and never looked back.

12/28/12 10:00am
12/28/2012 10:00 AM

JOHN ZACHARY FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River girls lacrosse team celebrates its 2012 state championship.

One day. Two state championship games.

That was the scenario for the Shoreham-Wading River boys and girls lacrosse teams in early June. Following the same script the teams used in 2007 to become the first Suffolk County school with two lacrosse state champions in the same year, the Wildcats ruled New York once again.

In Cortland, the girls faced off against Honeoye Falls-Lima in the Class C finals. A few hours later in Middletown, the boys began their championship game against Penn Yan.

For the girls, the game was an opportunity to reclaim their spot atop the podium. After winning four straight state titles, the Wildcats fell short in 2011 when they briefly bumped up a classification. With their return to Class C, the Wildcats once again proved their supremacy.

The Wildcats faced their share of adversity in the playoffs. In their state semifinal win, a seven-goal lead in the second half got sliced down to one in the final minutes by Christian Brothers Academy. Shoreham held on to win 14-13 in a thriller.

In the championship game the Wildcats fell behind by four before unleashing a 7-0 run in the second half to seize control. The Wildcats went on to win 11-9 to clinch the program’s fifth state title.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats celebrate their county championship victory over Bayport-Blue Point Wednesday.

The boys faced some early adversity of their own early in the finals. Trevor Brosco, a senior captain in the midfield, suffered a concussion just moments into the game and couldn’t return. In his absence, the rest of the team, led by Tim Rotanz, stepped up to carry the load. Rotanz torched the Mustangs for five goals and two assists as Shoreham won 10-6.

As the teams arrived back in Shoreham, a police escort guided them back to the high school, where a crowd gathered to celebrate.

Two teams, two state champions.

11/23/12 5:00pm
11/23/2012 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead baseball player Matt Crohan, joined by his parents Stephanie and Ed, signed a Letter of Intent to join Winthrop University.

When the Riverhead baseball team took the field for Senior Day in the spring of 2011, all but one player in the starting lineup was a senior. On the mound, the Blue Waves handed the ball to Matt Crohan, who happened to be the only sophomore on the varsity team that year.

Crohan, a left-hander with a versatile array of pitches, struck out six that day to earn his first varsity win. It was evident back then that Crohan had the potential to be a dominant pitcher for the Blue Waves and a player who could be throwing meaningful pitches beyond high school.

That dream became a reality when Crohan signed a National Letter of Intent this week to play baseball at Winthrop University, a Division I school in South Carolina.

Crohan was one of five Riverhead students to officially sign letters of intent during the early signing period, which ran Nov. 14-21.

Two students signed for lacrosse: Ryan Bitzer with Stony Brook and Sabina Dorr with St. Francis. Bree Ristau signed with the University of Massachusetts for rowing. And Shanice Allen signed with Pace University for basketball.

The students celebrated with brief ceremonies at the high school, where parents and coaches joined them as they signed on the dotted line.

Crohan, who also plays the outfield for Riverhead, can hit 92 mph on his fastball, coach Rob Maccone said.

“Over and above all his athletic abilities, Matt is a great kid and deserves all the recognition he has gotten and will get in the future,” Maccone said. “I’m really going to miss him.”

Crohan was an all-league player as a sophomore and junior. Last season he led the team in strikeouts and batted a team-high .500. He’s also played for a club team based in Dallas, Texas, and was selected to play on a Yankees and Phillies scout tryout team.

“I’m very excited about playing for Winthrop,” Crohan said. “I really like the coaching staff, the team, which is in a building state, and the college itself. And, the weather in South Carolina is awesome.”

Crohan plans to study business management or marketing.

RIVERHEAD SCHOOLS COURTESY PHOTO | Ryan Bitzer signed to play lacrosse at Stony Brook.

Bitzer may better be known as a quarterback at this time of year, as he leads the Blue Waves into the Division II county championship this weekend. But his college sport is lacrosse and he’ll stick close to home to play for one of the rising programs in Division I.

“I really enjoy lacrosse,” said Bitzer, who’s also a standout basketball player. “It’s very physical and uses a combination of skills. I like that.”

An all-county midfielder last spring, Bitzer was the team MVP while leading the Blue Waves to one of their best seasons in years.

“Ryan is a very talented athlete,” said Riverhead coach Vic Guadagnino. “He does the job in the classroom, on the court and out on the field in multiple sports. Not only is he a great athlete, but he is a very special person who is a pleasure to coach.”

Bitzer plans to major in business.

Dorr has been a standout in the Riverhead lacrosse program since its inception when she was a seventh-grader. A midfielder/attack, Dorr was an all-division player last year and Brine National High School all-America selection.

She scored 30 goals with eight assists last year.

RIVERHEAD SCHOOLS COURTESY PHOTO | Sabina Dorr signed to play lacrosse at St. Francis.

Dorr said St. Francis, while the smallest Division I school, is a perfect fit of her.

“When I visited campus, I immediately like the team, the coaches and the university,” she said.

St. Francis coach Gregg Gebhard is a Long Island native.

“Everyone at St. Francis is committed to giving athletes both a great playing experience and a great education,” Dorr said.

Dorr plans to enter the health sciences program with the hopes of becoming a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.

Ristau, who competes with the East End Rowing Team, is the first Riverhead student to sign with a Division I team for rowing.

Last year at the Scholastic Nationals Ristau placed fourth in singles. She was second at the New York Championships. At UMass, Ristau will compete on a nationally ranked team.

RIVERHEAD SCHOOLS COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead senior Bree Ristau will continue her rowing career next year at UMass after signing a letter of intent last week. Her father, Gary, joined her for the signing ceremony along with (standing, from left) rowing coach Michelle Zaloom with her daughter Anna, guidance counselor Chris Martin, assistant principal Charles Regan and superintendent Nancy Carney.

“I feel like I’ll fit in there perfectly,” she said.

Ristau’s coach, Michelle Zaloom, described her as “intense, tough and fearless.”

“She’s just got the right proportions for a good rower,” Zaloom said. “She’s got the arms, legs, shoulders, lungs and stamina she needs. I think she’s got what it takes to excel at UMass and to eventually qualify to row in the Olympics.”

Ristau plans to major in business.

As part of the Blue Waves’ “big three” last year, Shanice Allen helped lead the girls basketball team on a thrilling ride to the state semifinals. Allen was a huge reason for the Blue Waves’ success as the team won the Long Island championship.

Allen has been an all-league player since eighth grade and is a three-time all-county player. During the county championship win against Hauppauge she surpassed 1,000 career points.

She was second-team all-Long Island.

RIVERHEAD SCHOOLS COURTESY PHOTO | Shanice Allen, joined by her parents Kim and Willie, signed to play basketball at Pace.

“She is one of the top players I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching,” said Riverhead coach David Spinella. “She has a quiet confidence and grace, leads by example and is never a problem.”

Allen plays AAU ball throughout the year and Spinella credited coach Greg Flynn for helping Allen gain exposure.

Allen said she’s excited about playing close to home.

“I’m really happy that my mom and dad will be able to come to my games,” she said. “They’ve always been there for me and it will be nice to have them so close.”

Allen plans to major in biology with a goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.

joew@timesreview.com

08/01/12 9:00pm
08/01/2012 9:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz won gold with the U.S. U-19 men’s lacrosse team in Finland. Rotanz was an assistant coach on the team.

LACROSSE: U-19 World Champs Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz helped guide the U.S. U-19 men’s lacrosse team to its seventh FIL World Championship in Turku, Finland. Rotanz served as an assistant coach on the team, which defeated Canada 10-8 in the finals July 21.

A heavy favorite, the U.S. team went 2-2 in pool play before beginning the playoffs. The first outbracket game ended in a lopsided 22-2 win over Germany. The U.S. then had to beat two teams it had lost against in pool play. In the semifinals the U.S. won 12-7 against Iroquois Nation to advance to the gold medal game against Canada.

“There was a lot of pressure on the players and coaching staff to not lose and be the first USA team not to win the gold,” Rotanz said. “We made some adjustments and the players made a gut check and played well when it counted.”

Rotanz began preparations with the U.S. team almost immediately after leading the Wildcats to a state championship in early June.

FOOTBALL: Preseason honors for Maysonet Riverhead graduate Miguel Maysonet was selected as the Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year at the conference’s media day last week. Maysonet rushed for a conference-record 1,633 yards last season while scoring 15 touchdowns for Stony Brook University. He’s currently the school’s all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns with 27.

Maysonet was previously named to the Walter Payton Award watch list. The award is given to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

TENNIS: Ujkic continues to roll  Chris Ujkic, the defending men’s singles champion in the Bob Wall Memorial Tennis Tournament, won 6-0, 6-0, against Andrzej Kopola in the men’s singles semifinals. The finals for men’s singles are 8 a.m. Saturday at Tasker Park.

Ujkic also teamed with Kieran Corcoran in doubles to beat Richard Anderson and Jeff Waldvogel, 6-3, 6-2. In the men’s 50-plus singles, Richard Chizever was a winner 6-1, 6-3 over Tom Cahill.

In women’s singles, Liz Rossi defeated Molly Kowalski, 6-0, 6-0. And Dahila Aman beat Erica Bundrick, 6-1, 6-4. In mixed doubles Richard Chizever and Iris Battino beat Sharon McCormack and David Ferrara, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Ujkic also teamed with Denise Cardinale to beat Robert and Kate DiGregorio, 6-1, 6-1.

The men’s 50-plus singles final will be 8 a.m. Saturday. At 10 a.m. is the women’s singles and mixed doubles finals followed by the men’s doubles and men’s 50-plus doubles at noon.

SOFTBALL: End of the road After winning the District 36 Championship, the Riverhead girls 10- and 11-year-old World Series softball team dropped its next three games in sectional play to see its season come to an end. Riverhead lost its first game against Islip, 6-5, at Stotzky Park. East Meadow won the next game against Riverhead, 15-4. The girls closed out the season Saturday against Bellmore in Seaford and fell short 11-6.

12/04/10 2:27pm
12/04/2010 2:27 PM

Following the Shoreham-Wading River field hockey team’s season-ending loss in the Long Island championship, an inevitable sadness came across the seniors, knowing their field hockey careers were finished.

For Marissa Kluber, it was just a beginning.

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO Shoreham-Wading River senior Marissa Kluber signed a letter of intent to play both field hockey and lacrosse at Mercy College.



Kluber signed a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey and lacrosse at Mercy College.

“I went in looking to do lacrosse, but I wanted to do field hockey,” Kluber said. “I wasn’t ready to let it go. [Mercy] was the college that offered me to play both.”

It may sound like a daunting task to play two sports in college, but Kluber is ready for the challenge.

“I feel like even if I was playing one sport, I’d have winter ball too so it’d kind of be the same,” she said. “I like staying busy. It keeps me on track of things.”

Kluber also looked at schools like Adelphi, C.W. Post, East Stroudsburg, Dominican and Bryant in the recruiting process. She settled on Mercy about a week before signing, she said.

In lacrosse Kluber plays attack and midfield and in field hockey center and left forward.

Playing on a travel lacrosse team, Suffolk County All-Stars, helped her gain exposure to college coaches.

One of Kluber’s friends who went to Comsewogue, Kristen Znaniecki, is a freshman at Mercy this year and plays field hockey.

“We could talk to her family since I’ve known them forever,” she said. “Her sister played on my travel team. So she’d be able to tell us the inside scoops on the things they don’t tell us.”

Kluber will be part of a new programs in both field hockey and lacrosse at Mercy. This season was the inaugural year of field hockey in Division II, becoming the 27th school to add the sport in D-II. This season will be the second for the lacrosse team. The lacrosse team posted an 8-6 record last year to begin the program.

She won’t be the first Shoreham athlete to play both field hockey and lacrosse in college. Brie Claire Drost (’08) plays both sports for C.W. Post.