The Best Is Yet to Be

The season’s now over for girls soccer, field hockey
Raya O’Neal and Melanie Mackin, facing the camera, are a lethal combination. Craig Macnaughton

   East Hampton High’s field hockey and girls soccer teams said farewell to fall last week. For these young teams presumably the best is yet to be.
    You wouldn’t have thought girls soccer had gone winless in League V this season given the high spirits with which Mike Vitulli’s charges played in the regular-season finale here with runner-up Islip.
    East Hampton helped Islip to its first goal, a defender deflecting a corner kick by Lexi Jones, a junior, who was subbing that day in the goal for Francesca Schelfhout.
    The Bonackers, whose best forward, Raffi Franey, was sidelined because of illness, and whose other formidable striker, Amanda Seekamp, anchored the backs that day, played a defensive game, rarely advancing the ball beyond midfield. Though there was some satisfaction, however, in limiting the visitors, who had bageled the Bonackers 8-0 the first time around, to that aforementioned own goal by the halftime break.
    Much credit too should go to Jones for having made two great diving saves in the first half to keep things close. She was to finish with 15 saves for the day.
    “We’re frustrating the hell out of them,” Vitulli told his charges during the halftime break.
    The visitors came on in the second half, however, a shot that bounced off the crossbar in the opening minutes serving notice. A hand ball in the box midway through the period led to Islip’s second goal, and three others  came soon after that, between the 61st and 67th minutes.
    “We fought injuries this season and we were in a brutal league,” Vitulli said afterward. “We tried hard, but the bottom line was we just weren’t up to it.”
    East Hampton finished the season in eighth, and last, place in League V with an 0-13-1 record. The team was 2-13-1 over all. The girls defeated Pierson 2-1 and Mercy 5-1 early in the season, and tied Westhampton Beach.
    Last year, the girls made the playoffs, “but this year was different,” the coach said. “We lost some key players and we got young. We’re athletic, we just have to play more, including indoors. We need to grow. We’re going to keep on them and make sure they come in next season in playing shape.”
    Becky Schwartz had high hopes for her field hockey team, but a 3-2 overtime loss to Riverhead near season’s end kept East Hampton, which finished at 6-8, out of the playoffs. “The last time we played Riverhead, some years ago, we beat them 11-0,” said Schwartz. “They were never very good, but they’ve got a new coach.”
    Nevertheless, it seemed Schwartz’s players would go out winners in a game here with Southampton on Oct. 23 as Amanda Calabrese, on a breakaway, and Shannon McCaffrey, on a corner play shot taken from the top of the circle, treated the Bonackers to an early 2-0 lead.
    The playoff-bound Mariners scored late in the first half and early in the second to tie the score, and then, as darkness was falling, and as time was running out, a questionable call on a raised ball that struck a defender in the mid-section inside the circle led to a corner play. The ball made its way to Emily Wesnofske, who was at 4 o’clock, and she swept a hard ground-hugging shot past Leonella Acevedo, East Hampton’s sophomore goalie. It was the same play that Southampton had used to tie the score.
    While the season’s now over for girls soccer and field hockey, boys soccer, the League VI champion, football (see above), girls volleyball, and boys volleyball continue on.
    The girls volleyball team swept Mount Sinai in three here last Thursday. The first set, which wound up in Bonac’s favor, 25-9, set the tone. During it, Katie Brierley, Maria Montoya, and Raya O’Neal served aces, and Melanie Mackin, who was fed by O’Neal, had 7 kills.
    The boys soccer team, seeded second, behind Sayville, in the county’s Class A tournament, is to play seventh-seeded Miller Place here today at 2:30. The winner is to play the Eastport-Shoreham winner in a semifinal at the higher seed on Monday. The Class A final will be played next Thursday at Dowling College at 4 p.m.
    Girls volley ball is to play a first-round (semifinal) match here Saturday at 10 a.m. The county final is to be played at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue Wednesday at 7 p.m.
    Division II’s second and third-seeded boys volleyball teams are to vie Monday at 5 at the site of the higher seed. The final is to be played at Bay Shore High School on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
    The girls swimming team, which finished with a 2-3 league record, is to compete in the League III meet at Hauppauge High School tomorrow at 4:30.