It took a big goal to decide a high school field hockey game that had a big-game feel to it. Unfortunately, for Shoreham-Wading River, the scorer of that big goal wore an East Islip uniform.
Mary Kate Carroll’s timing is impeccable. The East Islip junior midfielder picked an opportune moment to produce her first goal of the season. It came with 6 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the Suffolk County Division II contest and sent Shoreham down to a 3-2 defeat Wednesday at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. Just seconds earlier, Shoreham’s Olivia Nickel had knocked a ball away from her own goal line.
“That’s a good first goal to have right there,” said East Islip coach Chris Veit.
Shoreham coach Jenna Stevenson said, “In that moment I was hoping there’s still plenty of time to score, but once the clock [stopped], I think that’s when my heart sank.”
The game could have playoff implications for ninth-seeded Shoreham (3-5, 3-5), with playoff spots going to the top six teams in the division.
“It was a pretty big game for us,” Shoreham right midfielder Michele Corona said. “I think we needed it.”
East Islip (6-1, 6-1), which has made a big jump since going 2-12 last year, received its first two goals from Allison Chiarelli, giving the sophomore forward four for the season. She flipped a penalty shot to the upper left corner that goalie Ashley Luppens got a piece of but couldn’t stop 2:59 into the game for a 1-0 Redmen lead. Chiarelli made it 2-1 when she tallied off an assist by Lindsay Guzzetta 3:45 into the second half.
After each of those goals, Shoreham had a reply. Both of the Wildcats’ goals came off penalty corners. First it was Summer Steimel striking at 16:37 of the first half. Then Chiara Hodun converted a feed from Michelle Steimel, Summer’s sister, to even things at 2-2 with 18:43 left in the second half.
“Corners are an opportunity that you always want to capitalize on,” Stevenson said. “It was good that we were able to do that.”
East Islip goalie Kristin Bayreuther was credited with five saves. Her counterpart, Luppens, had two.
“I think we played good, but we definitely should have won,” Summer Steimel said. “We had the ball more offensively than they did. We just need to finish.”
Stevenson said: “It was a really good matchup. We had a really good defense; they had a strong offense. I thought we played a good game. We were happy, not with the result, but the way we played the game.”
East Islip started the day in third place while Shoreham was 10th in the 15-team, power-rated division.
So, how much of a task will it be for Shoreham to reach the playoffs?
“It’s going to be a bit harder than it might have [been] if we won this game, but we’re going to still push for it,” Stevenson said. “I think they’ve progressed really well and I see a lot of changes from our first game and it’s exciting to see those changes.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s Michele Corona pushing the ball forward while being guarded by East Islip’s Kendall Mittleman. Shoreham’s Summer Steimel follows up the play. (Credit: Bob Liepa)