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Pierson Field Hockey Wins Class C Championship

Wed, 11/03/2021 - 07:47
Following a win against Greenport Monday for the Suffolk County Class C championship, Pierson's field hockey team will face Carle Place on Sunday.
Craig Macnaughton

The Pierson Whalers field hockey team defeated the Greenport Porters 4-0 at Centereach High School on Monday night to become the Suffolk County Class C champions for the seventh consecutive year.

On a crisp and clear fall night it didn’t take long for the scoring to begin. Nine minutes in, on an offensive corner play, Meredith Spolarich, a junior, received a pass from Miachesca Gangemi, also a junior, and had enough room in the circle to take a step and send a waist-high laser past Greenport's goalie, Dylan Reilly.

"It always feels good when a play works out like that. I think it really elevated everyone's energy and motivated us moving forward," Spolarich said via text.

From that point on, Pierson dominated. In the second quarter alone, Madison Stuckart, a senior, scored two goals, with assists from Tahnie Sullivan, a junior, and Spolarich. In the third, Caroline Canavan, a senior, added one more insurance goal, a beauty, from mid-circle.

Stuckart reflected on her goals and the state of the team heading into the Long Island championships. "It felt really good scoring two goals against a team we don't usually face in playoffs. The team has worked so hard and everyone is really pulling their weight and putting in equal effort. I think whoever we play on Sunday will have to put up a tough fight."

Indeed, the Whalers worked as a team, moving the ball with ease and speed both across and up the field with snappy, smart passes. Their dominance was shown by the fact that they ended the night with 16 corners to Greenport's 0.

As Pierson's coach, Nina Hemby, explained by email, "We are very proud of the way we played this game. As we move forward we're looking to continue to play our game. We were a unit and our strength comes from all the players on the field. The girls are so happy with their on and off-ball movement and their ability to get the ball in the goal."

The Pierson defense was left largely untaxed, but Cali Wilson, the freshman goaltender, stopped the one shot Greenport mustered. At the other end of the field, Dylan Reilly, a sophomore, had a remarkable 25 saves.

Reached by phone, Greenport's coach, Alexis Reed, couldn't say enough about her goaltender. "Dylan just came back from A.C.L. surgery and hasn't put pads on in three and a half weeks. She's a natural athlete. She's fearless and you have to be fearless if you're going to be a goalie."

By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the lights had turned on, and the winds, steady in the early part of the game, had died down. Coach Hemby was able to send in some of the younger members of the Pierson team who have been supportive throughout the season.

"There was no junior varsity team this year because of the lack of numbers," Hemby explained by email. "We offered to bring the freshman up to varsity, knowing they wouldn’t see the field as often but their skills would improve rapidly. The freshman class was ready to play yesterday and were happily and confidently able to showcase all of their skills."

In the stands, with the tension of the game largely removed, the Pierson fans started to chatter about Carle Place. Last defeated by Pierson way back in 2015, Carle Place beat Cold Spring Harbor on Tuesday for the Nassau County Class C championship. Could Pierson defeat them on Sunday in Centereach? 

Watching the Whalers in that relaxed fourth quarter on Monday, having fun and playing clean, they seemed very much like a team that could.

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