Riverhead prevails on Riley’s checkmate

Corinne Kimmelman of Riverhead (white top) and Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s Erin Creedon contested a ball.

It was a field hockey version of a chess match.

For much of Friday’s Suffolk County Division III match between the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island Clippers and the host Riverhead Blue Waves, the home team dominated the play. The field seemed tilted toward the Clippers’ goal in the second half when, Riverhead Coach Cheryl Walsh-Edwards said, “We lived down there.”

Still, the game remained scoreless.

The Clippers strategically kept almost all 11 of its players in front of their goal. The four Riverhead attackers tried to find one of their teammates for an open shot. It was an exercise in futility until, finally, with 11 minutes 16 seconds left in regulation time, Riverhead’s Melodee Riley scored the go-ahead goal. She got her stick on a pass from Amanda Graziano and the ball went into the net for a 1-0 Riverhead victory.

“Melodee wants to put the ball in the net,” Walsh-Edwards said. “She has a good stick.”

Up until that point, it had been a frustrating day for the Blue Waves (2-2, 1-1).

“We had some opportunities, but it was hard to score versus 11 bodies,” Walsh-Edwards said. “We didn’t capitalize on our corners. Their goalie [Alexis Reed] came out high and we couldn’t push it in.”

Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island Coach Todd Gulluscio said Reed and the Clippers’ defense is the strength of his team.

“Riverhead is a talented team, so we pack it in defensively,” Gulluscio said. “Unfortunately, one got by us and we couldn’t get one back.”

Reed was sensational in goal, making seven saves.

“It was a normal game for Alexis,” Gulluscio said. “She was fantastic. She feels bad about giving up the goal, but there will be better days.”

Riverhead goalkeeper Allison Doscinski made one save.

Walsh-Edwards was pleased with the way her team kept battling. “We played our hearts out,” she said. “We had a problem scoring, but it wasn’t from a lack of aggression. Corrine Kimmelman was all over the midfield area. We don’t give up. We kept fighting and in the end, it paid off for us.”

The Clippers lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to the Comsewogue Warriors on Monday in Greenport. Trailing by 1-0 at the half, the Clippers (1-3, 0-3) tied the score in the second half on a goal by Sarah Manfredi. But Comsewogue netted the game-winning goal with 1:10 left in the second half.