The fall high school sports season is upon us, and from a Bonac fan’s perspective the prospects are bright. Just about all of East Hampton’s 11 teams seem to have legitimate shots at the playoffs.
Last year, nine of the 11 — football and field hockey being the only exceptions — made the postseason. This year, football, having cut ties (at least temporarily) with Pierson at the varsity level, reportedly has a shot. The team’s preseason ranking was sixth among 14 Conference IV schools; eight will make the playoffs. And field hockey, which just missed the playoffs last year despite a major upset of Rocky Point as the regular season wound down, has very good numbers, according to the team’s coach, Becky Schwartz, and “a very good forward line.”
With Meghan Dombkowski’s graduation “there’s no monster free-hitter, but we should be okay.”
Leonela Acevedo, a sophomore, has come up from Robyn Mott’s junior varsity, and has, said Schwartz, “improved tremendously.”
Her chief problem these days, the coach said following Friday morning’s practice, has to do with surfaces. “Just about all our away games are going to be played on grass, while all our home games will be played on turf, and there’s a great difference in the two.” Moreover, she said, “the grass fields up west are nowhere as smooth as ours, and often you’re playing in goose poop.”
The pink T-shirts Schwartz and Mott have had printed up say “Go Hard, or Go Home.”
Sentiments very much akin to those were expressed Friday morning by Rich King, who coaches the defending-county-champion boys soccer team. Summoning his boys around him during a finishing drill, he urged the players to put out more effort. They were talented, no doubt, but if they did not go all out in practices they would regret it come gametime.
“As soon as you become comfortable doing the uncomfortable, you’ll be on your way to becoming a better player,” King told his charges, before resuming the drill, after which they did wind sprints.
As for the coming season, he said, “We’ve got 20 returnees. We’ve got the most depth we [he and Don McGovern] have ever had. Though we lost 85 percent of our scoring with the graduation of Mario [Olaya, one of the top scorers in the county last fall] and Milton [Farez], the main thing Don and I like about this team is that we’ve got five or six kids who are capable of scoring 10 goals each. Also, when we sub, there won’t be any drop-off. That’s different from the past.”
He would keep 26 or 27 players on the varsity squad, said King. Steve Tseperkas, the jayvee coach, has 30 at the moment, though some cuts may have to be made.
King chose not to compete in the East End Cup tournament this fall — which his team won last year — so that he could schedule tough nonleague games. The Bonackers are to play last year’s top-seeded AA team, Sachem East, at Sachem East Monday night. They are to play at Jericho, the 2011 Class A state champion and the team that edged the Olaya-less Bonackers for the Long Island regional title — on Sept. 15. That 11 a.m. game is to be televised by MSG Varsity, King said. The league season, he said, is to begin Sept. 18.
Shoreham-Wading River, the winner of a summer league in which East Hampton did not compete, was awarded the top Class A seed in the preseason coaches’ rankings, with East Hampton ranked second. Miller Place and John Glenn would also be in the top four, said King, who added that “the preseason rankings don’t mean anything — the ranking that counts is the ranking you have on Nov. 7, the day of the county finals.”