Football Aside, Numbers Are Good at E.H. High

Eighty-four came out for boys soccer, necessitating cuts
East Hampton’s boys soccer team “won” a scrimmage here with Pierson on Aug. 30 and defeated Mattituck 5-0 in a nonleaguer Friday before losing 2-0 to a perennial Nassau County power, Jericho, Saturday. Jack Graves

The numbers for football were scant (resulting in the season’s being canceled), but for all of East Hampton High’s other fall sports they were bountiful, Joe Vas, the school district’s athletic director, said during a conversation this past week.

Eighty-four came out for boys soccer, necessitating cuts. The varsity, whose head coach is Don McGovern, and the junior varsity, which is being coached by Mike Vitulli, have divided 60 or so of these hopefuls.

While 84 was the highest turnout for boys soccer ever, “we’ve been attracting in the high 60s to the low 70s or so in recent years, and have always had to make cuts, so it’s not that far out of line,” McGovern said before last Thursday’s scrimmage here with Pierson, a scrimmage that the Bonackers, who scored before the first minute had passed, were to “win” handily.

Tougher tests, both nonleaguers, were on the immediate horizon — at Mattituck Saturday and versus Jericho, a perennial Nassau County power, in Syosset Monday.

Without doubt, boys soccer will be competitive, though it remains to be seen how deep into the fall the team, which seems to be well balanced, will go. 

The numbers for girls soccer are good too, with 21 on the varsity and 21 on the junior varsity, though the team’s been bumped up to a tougher league.

McGovern, Rich King’s varsity assistant in the recent past, is new to the head-coaching job, King having stepped down. Likewise, girls soccer, formerly coached by Vitulli, has a new coach, Cara Nelson (who later in the year is to run seven marathons in seven different countries in seven days). Vas said that Nelson, as is the case with McGovern, had “an extensive soccer background.”

The boys and girls volleyball teams are expected to be competitive also. The girls, coached by Kathy McGeehan, showed their stuff in a match here Friday with Miller Place, sweeping the Panthers 25-11, 25-16, 25-23, shrugging off an 8-1 deficit, and overcoming a number of service errors, self-inflicted wounds, in the third one.

McGeehan has eight juniors, two seniors, and three sophomores, one of whom, Mikela Junemann, pretty much led the way Friday, putting the ball on the floor frequently with her crushing outside hits and dominating with her hard serves.

Madyson Neff (serving and hitting), Elle Johnson (serving), Molly Mamay (defense), and Zoe Leach, the sophomore libero, made significant contributions as well. The play of the day was Leach’s skidding dig of what seemed like a certain kill that prolonged a point late in the third set that East Hampton was to go on to win.

The team was to have participated in a multi-team scrimmage at Bay Shore High School Saturday and was to have played at Sayville yesterday.

Boys volleyball, coached by Josh Brussell, who’s carrying 19 on the varsity — there are 17 with Andrew Rodriguez on the jayvee — was to have opened its season at home Tuesday with West Islip. 

The girls tennis team, coached by Katie Helfand, is predicted to finish second, behind William Floyd, in its league — despite the fact that there were seven graduation losses, six of them starters — though a presumably even tougher opponent, Half Hollow Hills East, was on hand for a mandatory nonleaguer here last Thursday.

Not surprisingly, Hills East, which won the county championship two years ago, was a semifinalist last year, and lost only two to graduation, won, dropping only one set, at first singles. 

Rebecca Kuperschmid, East Hampton’s junior number-one, a hard-hitter, gave Janelle Chen, who joined Hills East’s team this season after having solely played in U.S.T.A. tournaments, a good go, winning the first set 6-4, losing the second 7-6, and the decisive tiebreaker, 10-8.

Pamela Pillco, Bonac’s senior number-two, a solid player, lost 6-4, 6-3 to Ariana Malik; Caroline Micallef, a junior from Pierson, lost 6-2, 6-1 to Melissa Chen, and Eva Wojtusiak, a ninth grader, lost 6-0, 6-1 to Leah Wohl.

Hills East’s all-state doubles team, Alexis Huber and Lauren Cherkin, bageled East Hampton’s number-one pairing, Sammi Schurr and Katie Annicelli (also of Pierson), 6-0, 6-0; Julia Raziel and Maddie Fryer defeated the Mendelman sisters, Annelise and Kaylee, 6-2, 6-2, and Emily Metaxas and Lauren Kornfeld defeated Olivia Baris and Catherine LeFevre 6-0, 6-1.

Schurr is a junior, Annicelli is a sophomore, Annalise Mendelman is a junior, Kaylee Mendelman is a sophomore, Baris is a junior, and Lefevre is a ninth grader.

Helfand’s young team — Pillco is the sole senior — was to have played another mandatory nonleaguer yesterday, at Commack High School.

Mandatory nonleague matches came about, the Hills East coach said, “because too many schools were padding their nonleague records in order to get higher seedings in the county tournament.”

Concerning girls swimming, which, because the Y.M.C.A. RECenter’s youth swim team, the Hurricanes, feeds into it, is perennially strong, Vas said that an assistant for Craig Brierley, the head coach, is still being sought. 

Continuing, the A.D. said golf, coached by Claude Beudert, ought to be strong, that field hockey, coached by Robyn Mott, with Danielle Waleko as her assistant, had “good numbers and a strong core,” and that boys and girls cross-country, coached by Kevin Barry and Diane O’Donnell, would be “solid,” as would the dance team (relatively new to varsity status), headed up by Andrea Hernandez. There would be no fall cheerleading squad, he said, given football’s demise.

As for football, “It’s a shame, but it was simply because we lacked the numbers — Joey [McKee] is going to try to keep it going. He’ll oversee football workouts and drills this fall and will volunteer with the middle school team. Wrestling is in the same fix — we finished with only six last winter, the minimum. We’re talking with Southampton about combining with them.”

Homecoming is to be Oct. 14, the day beginning with a Hall of Fame breakfast and an induction ceremony, though other details would remain in limbo until Vas worked them out with the student council, he said.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, the athletic director asked that anyone who might be able to provide biographical information having to do with the coach, Florence Boehme, and six of her players — Julia Jasuinas, Marian Hand, Anita Appleyard, Elizabeth Stelzer, Vivien Skinner, and Constance Greene — on the 1934-35 women’s basketball team that is to be inducted contact him through the district’s athletic office, whose phone number is 631-329-4143.

Rebecca Kuperschmid took Half Hollow Hills East’s number-one, Janelle Chen, to three sets in a mandatory nonleague tennis match that Hills East won 7-0 here last Thursday. Jack Graves