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.”

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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 8:12pm

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.”

10/07/10 4:49pm
10/07/2010 4:49 PM

The boys soccer competition in Suffolk County League III can be so tight that the difference in a game can depend on which way the wind blows. It blew in Riverhead ‘s direction on Thursday, or at least the Blue Waves did more with the wind at their backs than the visiting North Babylon Bulldogs did.

It made all the difference.

After surviving a first half playing against the considerable wind gusts, Riverhead received second-half goals from Pedro Carrillo and Jordan Fulcoly for a 2-0 victory. Jose Bonilla made five saves for his second shutout of the season as Riverhead snapped a three-game losing streak, improving to 3-5-1, 2-5 in the league.

North Babylon, meanwhile, suffered its fifth straight loss, dropping to 2-7, 2-5 as the first half of the league season was completed.

“The wind was a major factor for both teams, and we selected to go against it in the first half, thinking that we would be fresher to defend going against the wind, and our goal was 0-0” at halftime, Riverhead Coach A. J. Kretschmer said. “In the second half we capitalized with the wind at our back.”

Although Riverhead undoubtedly has skill and features a nice short-passing game, Kretschmer said goal scoring has been a challenge for his team. The Blue Waves have 10 goals from nine games and have been shut out twice.

“We’ve created opportunities, we just haven’t found the back of the net,” he said. “In soccer, it’s hard to score goals sometimes, but we have to find a way.”

Milo Perez, a senior left midfielder, said: “It’s hard. We don’t have anybody who can finish consistently.”

Carrillo and Fulcoly both came through Thursday, though, with their third and second goals, respectively, of the season.

The first goal of the game had a pinball quality to it. After a Carrillo shot was saved by Nicholas Petratos, the rebound rolled to Fulcoly, facing an open net. But Fulcoly’s attempt struck teammate Devrim Kucuk and floated in the air for Carrillo to head into the unguarded net.

Shortly after, Petratos exited the game, complaining about eye trouble. He was replaced by Cody Gardner.

The second goal by Fulcoly was a matter of determination. Kucuk met a pass from Carrillo with a first-time shot that was blocked by Gardner. But Fulcoly made sure to sweep in the rebound. “I had to plow through,” he said.

Riverhead had other close scoring chances in the second half when it took 20 of its 24 shots. One of the best was when Perez nudged the ball just inches wide of the right goalpost.

“Today was a great sign for us,” Kretschmer said. “I think why we scored today is because we were aggressive. We ran through the ball. . . . Today we really pushed forward and we got a couple of scrappy goals, and some hard work running through the ball and that’s really good to see.”

Playing in soccer’s version of a wind tunnel, North Babylon didn’t waste time trying to make the most of its wind advantage in the first half. In the game’s opening moments, Bonilla made a fabulous save, deflecting a tremendous drive by Tom Knowles.

“The first minute or so they were kind of down our throats right away and Jose really kept us in early,” said Kretschmer.

Knowles, who took seven of his team’s 10 shots, nearly scored again later in the half. He swerved a corner kick into the wicked wind and watched the ball slam against the crossbar.

North Babylon Coach Mike Cashman said the wind was a “huge factor. It almost plays like one extra player when you have the wind” in your favor.

Late in the first half, Riverhead nearly went in front when Cesar Puluc received a pass from Nery Paredes and forced a save from Petratos. Paredes, a stylish center midfielder, had 54 touches, completed 23 of 36 passes, was fouled twice and put two of his four shots on goal.

“It just wasn’t there for us today,” said Cashman, who called Riverhead a good team. “Every team in this league is a good team. There’s no team that you’re going to come in and have an easy time with.”

Wind-aided or not.

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