Falling behind, 1-0, was a cause for concern. The way the Shoreham-Wading River High School field hockey team responded, though, was a cause for great optimism.
SWR turned a one-goal halftime deficit into a three-goal triumph, pumping in four second-half goals in impressive fashion to take down East Hampton, 4-1, Thursday at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in Shoreham.
A potent offense can atone for a number of sins. Count a lackluster first half among them.
That’s how the Wildcats (4-1 overall and in Suffolk County Division II) felt about the way they had played in the opening 30 minutes against East Hampton (3-2, 3-2). SWR was missing something, and it wasn’t just goals.
“I wasn’t concerned,” SWR left midfielder Michelle Corona said. “I was just frustrated with how we were playing. I think we started to play down to them because I think we’re a better skill team, but we picked it up.”
Corona scored twice, sandwiched around goals by Isabella Meli and Abigail Korzekwinski, within a furious span of 24 minutes and 18 seconds to make a forgettable first half, well, forgettable. Summer Steimel contributed two assists, with Korzekwinski and Gabriella Meli adding an assist each.
That offset a well-taken goal by East Hampton’s Anna Hugo, who redirected a pass from the left side by Emily Brewer past goalkeeper Ashley Luppens.
But the second half was only 2:59 old when Corona slammed a shot past goalie Rorey Murphy (eight saves) to even the score.
Isabella Meli’s go-ahead goal came with 18:19 left to play.
The Wildcats were off and running.
SWR put 12 shots on goal to only three by East Hampton. The Wildcats also enjoyed a heavy advantage in penalty corners, 14-6.
When the game ended, the Wildcats rushed to congratulate their goalie, Luppens. Rachel Biemer leaped into the air to chest bump Luppens, sending the goalie to the ground.
All involved had a good laugh about it as smiles abounded. The Wildcats have a lot to smile about these days.
Through five games, SWR’s offense has been pretty darn good. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 21-8. Since a season-opening loss to Harborfields, they have won four straight, including a signature 2-1 victory over Miller Place, the top seed in the division and a county finalist last year. It was the first time they had beaten the Panthers in four years. That’s as good a barometer as any to show where SWR, the division’s No. 5 seed, is right now.
“It’s a big deal,” said SWR’s second-year coach, Jenna Stevenson.
Corona recalled: “It was the best feeling. It was like we won the nationals or something. It was so nice.”
And just look at all those goals. Corona (seven goals, three assists), a senior, is tied with two other players for third in the county with 10 points. SWR’s offense is also being fed by the likes of Korzekwinski (three goals, four assists), Isabella Meli (four goals, two assists) and Steimel (three goals, three assists).
Say this about the Wildcats: They sure know how to put the ball in the cage.
“We have a lot of athletes this year and our passing has improved,” Korzekwinski said. “We look really good this year.”
Could Stevenson have foreseen this sort of a start?
“Honestly, I think we have a really talented team, so I can’t say that I’m completely surprised that they’ve been playing so well,” she said. “I definitely think we’re contenders for playoffs … I think we have really talented players on our team.”
The proof is in the goals.
Photo caption: Abigail Korzekwinski, a big part of Shoreham-Wading River’s potent offense, charges down the left wing during the first half against East Hampton. (Credit: Bob Liepa)