Elwood Scores Homecoming Win

By Connor Beach

cbeach@longislandergroup.com

 

The Elwood John H. Glenn High School football team improved to 5-1 last Saturday when they recorded a 48-21 victory during homecoming over the Phantoms of Bayport-Blue Point High School.

The homecoming victory moves the Knights into second place in Suffolk division 4, and capped off a day of celebration in Elwood.

The homecoming celebrations kicked off with a parade led by the school’s kickline and pep band. Homecoming king and queen Patrick Ancewicz and Haley Eno headed a procession of floats constructed by each class.

After the parade, the crowd filled the football stadium to cheer on the Knight’s high-powered offense.

Glenn dominated the first quarter. Senior quarterback Kyle Szokoli scored the first points of the game, capping off a drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Szokoli had 13 carries for 107 yards in the game. The Knights took a 14-0 lead when Szokoli completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Daysean Johnson.

It looked like the game was going to be close after the Phantoms scored 13 unanswered points in the second quarter, but Glenn extended the led to 21-13 at the half when Szokoli found Johnson with a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Elwood superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert unveiled the first two inductees into Glenn’s new Wall of Fame. Dr. Virginia Cancroft, who served as the principal of Harley Avenue School for 24 years, and the late Master Sergeant Christopher Raguso, a Class of 1997 alumnus who died during a military mission near the Iraq-Syria border in March, became the first two names on the Wall of Fame.

It was all Knights when the homecoming game kicked off again for the third quarter. Szokoli picked up where he left off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Justin Tiernan. Tiernan also had 18 carries in the game for 144 yards and a touchdown.

The Knights defense also stepped up in the second half. Nick Ford recorded two sacks in the game, and Rocco Fratarcangeli had a 20-yard pick-six that gave Glenn a 41-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, junior quarterback Thomas Giaramita found Johnson in the endzone with a 35-yard touchdown pass, giving Johnson three touchdowns and 75 receiving yards in the game.

Gio Rinaldi and Justin Vega also helped bolster the Knight’s passing attack with 71 and 24 receiving yards, respectively. Sean Ryan added six carries for 45 yards in the victory.

The Knights will face a tough test on Saturday night when they travel to Mt. Sini to take on the undefeated Mustangs at 6 p.m.

Teamwork Key To Commack's Success

Forward Aidan Keenan gets the head shot for Commack. He’s one of five team captains giving maximum effort this season.  Photo by Robert Williams

Forward Aidan Keenan gets the head shot for Commack. He’s one of five team captains giving maximum effort this season. Photo by Robert Williams

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Spirits are high for the Commack boys varsity soccer team which has dominated the field to stay undefeated this season.

The boy’s record stands at 12-0-1, after a 4-0 win Wednesday afternoon over Longwood. Coach David Moran gives all the credit to his players who put in hard work at practice and during games.

“The kids have played really well so far, there’s a lot of passion and camaraderie,” Moran said. “Looking to get better every day at practice with effort and passion for the game.”

Many of the team members have been playing together since they were 7-8 years old, and many of his seniors have been playing for him for four years. He admits he will be sad to see them leave next season, but feels confident the team will be able to “reload.”

“We’re really deep, we have 16 seniors who show leadership every day and no matter who we’re bringing off the bench we’re getting maximum effort from all the guys,” Moran said.

Five senior captains lead the team: Matt Cozetti, a striker, League I Player of the Year and all regional player last year, leads the team in scoring with 14 goals and six assists. Center midfielder Tyler Meotti is known to control the pace of the game. Striker Aidan Keenan is a strong forward who has scored five goals and seven assists. At a hulking 6’3’’ it is difficult for opponents to cover him. Moran calls his top two defenders “thunder and lightning.” Thunder is center back Liam Rothar, a strong presence in the middle who wins 50/50 balls and headers, playing every game like it’s his last. Lightning is left fullback Matt Newfield whose speed on the fieldis a constant threat. And goalie Brian Mirman, while not a captain, is referred to as “The Great Wall of Mirman.” He has not given up a single goal this season.

Forward Matt Cozetti is one of 16 seniors on a deep Commack squad.

Forward Matt Cozetti is one of 16 seniors on a deep Commack squad.

 “I’m averaging about 20 kids a game, you start with 11 but have 8-9 subs, with 20 people getting in a soccer game that’s a lot,” Moran said. “Most coaches sub in one or two guys. I’m bringing in a second team that’s just as good.”

Moran began volunteering as an assistant junior varsity coach and took over as coach when he began to teach at Commack High School. He moved up to be the assistant varsity coach and was with the team the last time they won the state title in 2014. He took over as head coach in 2015. He also coaches junior varsity basketball and is an assistant varsity lacrosse coach. But he admits, soccer is his true passion to coach, even though the game requires far more endurance and quick thinking.

“Soccer is a completely different animal in the realm that there’s no timeouts,” Moran said. “So if things are going great, it’s wonderful. But if things are not going great then you have to adjust on the fly, you can’t call a timeout and change stuff.”

The Cougars look to keep their unbeaten streak alive when they travel to Sachem North on Friday, 4:15 p.m.

Colts Thunder To 5-0 Record

Head Coach Kyle Madden has led the Colts football team to an undefeated 5-0 record this season.  Photo/Half Hollow Hills School District

Head Coach Kyle Madden has led the Colts football team to an undefeated 5-0 record this season. Photo/Half Hollow Hills School District

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The new scoreboard that towers over the turf field at Half Hollow Hills High School West has been alight with some impressive scores this season as the Colts football team has played their way to an undefeated record.

The Colts are currently tied atop the standing in Suffolk Division 3 with a 5-0 record. The Colts’ unbeaten record has earned them the number two ranking in Newsday among small schools Island-wide.

Hills West’s latest victory came last Saturday when they traveled to East Islip and shut out the Redmen on their home turf.

All of the scoring action took place in the first half of the game, with both defenses finding a strong foothold in the second.

Senior running back Sadiq Hinds was the feature back for the Colts in the game, and he asserted his strong running style early. Hinds broke a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give Hills West a 7-0 lead. Hinds had a total of six rushing attempts in the game for 93 yards.

In the second quarter, senior quarterback Gerald Filardi led Hills West on two scoring drives that were each capped off with a big play. Filardi complete four passes for 84 yards.

First, Filardi completed one of his eight passing attempts to junior running back Justin Brown. The catch was Brown’s only of the day, but he made it count. Brown took the pass 55 yards into the end zone to give the Colts a 14-0 lead.

Brown also had eight rushing attempts in the game for 20 yards.

Next, senior running back Deyvon Wright once again showed how elusive he could be in the open field when he turned his only rushing attempt into a 40-yard touchdown run. The touchdown put the Colts firmly in charge of the game with a 21-0 lead at halftime.

The Colts defense came out in the second half determined to protect the lead on the road.

Senior linebackers Michael Carrubia and Jake Cetta each had eight tackles in the game, and Carrubia also managed two pass deflections.

Junior Joey Venezia and Senior Cedric Gordon were each able to beat the East Islip offensive line for two sacks.

Filardi also stepped up on defense late in the fourth quarter with an interception to stop the Redmen from scoring and preserve the shut out and 21-0 victory for the Colts.

Half Hollow Hills West will look to keep their unbeaten steak alive on Saturday when they host Westhampton at 1 p.m.

St Anthonys Soccer Nationally Ranked

St,. Anthony’s girls soccer team is undefeated so far this season, and nationally ranked by  Top Drawer Soccer.

St,. Anthony’s girls soccer team is undefeated so far this season, and nationally ranked by Top Drawer Soccer.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

The St. Anthony’s girls varsity soccer team are in their prime and have no plans of slowing down until they win the New York State Championship again this year.

The team is undefeated this season, with a 7-0 record and many shutout games. Led by coach, Sue Alber, the team has now secured the number three ranking in the country for girls high school soccer from Top Drawer Soccer. After coming off a win with a game against Rich, New Jersey, a team that ranks in the top 20 teams in the nation, the girls are feeling unstoppable.

“Our goal every year is to win the States and I think this year we have the potential to do it,” Alber said. “We’ve just gotta stay focused and make sure every game we play to our ability.”

The team is stacked this year with a lineup of players who all have a lot of talent, according to Alber. She does admit that they have weak spots but her players are able to make up for it. Some key senior players graduated last year, but the team was able to pick up two skilled junior girls as players this year, who could not play previously due to club team commitments.

“I can’t imagine not coaching there, I mean I had a newborn and I came back after four weeks,” Alber said. “People probably thought I was crazy but I didn’t want to miss their season, I have a great senior class.”

She describes the senior class as very strong players, while commending her junior class for being attack minded players. Many of her players are returning from previous seasons, which makes them all well versed in what they need to do to win. Her three senior captains: Lauren Haggerty, Caroline Nuttall, and Brianna Passaro have helped to set an example.

“Our captains and the other players know what it takes to win a State Championship because we did it last year,” Alber said. “So they’ve been very focused and driven, working extremely hard to make sure that we accomplish that and hopefully go undefeated as well.”

This is Alber’s fifth season coaching for the girls soccer team and since she picked up the position has run possession and attacking formations and plays. When she was approached by a board member and a friend whose daughter played there to become head coach, she was intrigued by the school’s high level of skill.

“The school itself is like a college campus, actually probably better,” Alber said. “And the level of talent there is higher than at any public school so I felt like it was a good fit and in the end, I absolutely love it.”

Her top assist and goal score leaders in games are forwards Brianna Passaro and Brianna Jablonowski, who are both “lethal up top”. They are joined by juniors, Victoria Mule and Nicole Gordon who unleash “havoc” on other teams when attacking. The team has been able to prevent opposing teams from scoring with the help of Kaitlyn Mahoney, their goalkeeper. She is aided by midfielder Lauren Haggerty and defenders Christine Fabrizi and Sophia Iaccino, who don’t allow many chances for teams to score during games.

“When you have a lot of talent, sometimes you have that ‘me’ mentality where everyone wants to do it themselves so we’ve set the tone recently, that’s it’s gotta be a ‘we’ mentality,” Alber said. “We’re all working for each other and we’re all playing for each other.”

The team must work together when they face their rival Sacred Heart again this season on their turf, after beating them 2-0 at home. After the team knocked them out of the playoff finals two years ago, their games are “always a very emotional, intense league game.”

But Alber feels confident her team will succeed due to their unity and camaraderie within the team. She describes them as tight knit family.

 “I think we’re just a group of 29 sisters really,” Alber said.

Harborfields 'Stands Up 2 Cancer'

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com  

Despite the football team’s struggles on the field, Harborfields High School students made the most of homecoming by raising money to help fund research for childhood cancer.

The Harborfields football team has endured a tough start to the season, and things didn’t get much better Saturday when they suffered a 29-26 defeat during homecoming at the hands of Eastport-South Manor.

The Tornadoes were looking for their first victory of the season after starting 0-3 with losses to Comsewogue, Islip and Westhampton, and they hoped the enthusiasm of the homecoming crowd would spur them to victory.

The students kicked off the day with a homecoming parade that traveled from the Harborfields Public Library to the high school and featured floats with the theme “Generations: HF Through the Years.” Seniors Eric Werbitsky and Kate Driver were crowned homecoming king and queen.

Harborfields students joined the Greenlawn Civic Association in their “Greenlawn Goes Gold” movement during homecoming. Sophomore Natalie Pedrazzi helped put the plan into action, and all funds raised were donated to Maggie’s Mission, a local organization that supports awareness and funds pediatric cancer research. Maggie’s Mission was created in honor of Maggie Schmidt, a Harborfields High School student who lost her battle with cancer in 2017.

Students and fans packed the stands after the parade for the kickoff of the homecoming game. Both defenses were solid to start the game, and the first quarter ended with the teams tied 0-0.

Harborfields held its first ever “Stand Up 2 Cancer” event, initiated by student Catherine Capodanno, at the end of the first quarter. Players, students and community members all over the stadium held up golden signs in recognition of loved ones who battled or are battling cancer.

The scoring opened in the second quarter. The Tornadoes got on the board after a 89-yard touchdown run by Thomas Sangiovanni, who finished with 100 yards rushing and 23 receiving yards in the game.

The Sharks from Eastport-South Manor also got their offense going and led 15-6 at the half.

In the second half, Harborfields junior quarterback Jonathan Osumn was a bright spot for the Tornadoes. Osumn broke one of his six rushing attempts for a 60-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He had 147 rushing yards in the game.

Osumn completed two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter during a desperate comeback attempt. The first went for 53 yards to senior Joe Mitchell, and the second was a 16-yard pass to junior Michael Panareillo.

The Tornadoes didn’t have enough wind to complete the comeback and lost by a final score of 29-26. Harborfields will look to notch their first win when they travel to Hauppauge on Friday night to take on the Eagles at 6 p.m.

T-birds Soar To Homecoming Win

Senior center Paul Bruno leads the Half Hollow Hills High School East football team onto the field before their Homecoming game.  Photos/Half Hollow Hills School District

Senior center Paul Bruno leads the Half Hollow Hills High School East football team onto the field before their Homecoming game. Photos/Half Hollow Hills School District

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The Half Hollow Hills High School East football team kept the crowd on its feet during last Friday’s Homecoming victory over Copiague.

The Thunderbirds entered the game with a disappointing 0-2 record in Suffolk Division 2 after losses to Northport and Smithtown West to start the season, but last year’s county semi-finalists were able to ride the Homecoming game energy to their first win of the season.

Head coach Michael Maratto praised his team’s sprit before the start of the season, and it was on full display last week as they outplayed the Eagles of Copiague on both sides of the ball.

The Thunderbirds offensive line, led by senior center Paul Bruno, set the tone early to help establish the run for Hills East. The Homecoming crowds were in good spirits early after an eight-yard touchdown run by junior running back Nyrle Sevilla opened the scoring.

The Eagles ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown of their own. Maratto was able to refocus his young squad after the setback, and they shutout Copiague until the fourth quarter.

Sevilla scored his second touchdown of the game, and the Thunderbirds defense forced a safety to give Hills East a 16-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Hills East scored 23 unanswered points in the second quarter on the back of strong performances on the defensive side of the ball. Senior captain Jon Spadafora recorded 10 tackles and a sack in the game, while Lewis Matherin added two sacks of his own.

Junior quarterback Brett Martin had an impressive second quarter as well. Martin broke one of his eight rushing attempts for a 65-yard touchdown, and also completed his lone touchdown pass of the game to Kahleil Nedd for 23 yards.

The Thunderbirds had a commanding 39-7 lead at the end of the first half, and their defense did enough in the second half to keep a comfortable cushion on the scoreboard as the game finished 44-21.

In addition his 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns, Sevilla also had two interceptions in the defensive side of the ball. Martin and Spadafora, who ran for 140 and 100 yards, respectively, supported Sevilla’s rushing in the Thunderbirds rushing attack.

Kyle Krause rounded out the stat sheet with one reception from Martin for 10 yards.

The Thunderbirds will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday when they host the 2-1 Cougars of Centereach High School at 1:30 p.m.

Northport Brings 5-0 Record To State Champs' Gym

Northport High School girls varsity volleyball team has had success so far this season due to the players devotedness to their team.

Northport High School girls varsity volleyball team has had success so far this season due to the players devotedness to their team.

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

It seems that hard work and dedication is paying off for the Northport High School girls varsity volleyball team, who have dominated their games this season.

The team is currently 5-0, coming off wins against defending state champions Connetquot on Sept. 17, Bay Shore this past Thursday and Riverhead on Tuesday. Led by coach Christopher Fritch, the girls have won every game in three straight sets, aside from the Connetquot match that was 3-2.

The system that Fritch implemented when he became head coach three years ago took time for the girls to learn, but it is finally paying off.

“When myself and my assistant took over two years ago, we put in a new offense and defense system and it’s taken a little while for it start clicking and for everyone to be on the same page and know what’s expected of them,” Fritch said. “But they’ve bought into our system and now everything’s starting to click and come together.”

Before Fritch took over as head coach, the girls played a different style of offense and defense. Fritch admits that he took everything his players knew and changed it completely. Fritch implemented the techniques he used in his six years coaching boys vollyballhad upgrade the teams playing style. The style was unconventional for the girls, who were not used to transitioning between a rotational and perimeter defense. After three years, lots of practicing and running through fundamentals during the offseason, the girls have finally mastered their new plays and know what job they must do.

“We wanted to start doing something more complex on offense and then for our defense we look at play percentages, we look at where the holes are,” Fritch said.

But the team wouldn’t be where they are without powerful, dedicated players. Captain Sydnie Rohme is a primary hitter and a go-to player when the team is in trouble. Co-Captain Katie Kullack leads and runs the defense, while motivating her fellow teammates. Center Kelly McLaughlin also leads the offense and has phenomenal hands that distribute the ball well. Unfortunately, McLaughlin was sick for their game against Connetquot, leaving the team short an offensive player.

“We run a 6-2 offense but we had to switch our offense on the fly,” Fritch said. “But that being said, the girls really rose to the challenge and played great.”

After winning against the defending state championships, the team is focused on the present and most upcoming game, looking forward to their next win.

“Right now we’re just taking one game at a time,” Fritch said. “Our focus is to prep for whoever is next and that’s our main concentration. We don’t want to get lost in any hype, we want to stay focused and stay grounded.”

The team’s next game is at home against Walt Whitman High School at 5:45 p.m., Sept. 28.

Hall Of Fame Works To Keep Game Alive

Huntington Softball Hall of Fame President James Coschignano Jr., left, and Vice President Clint Riggs, right, present SPS Nation sponsor and player Mike Ruconich, center, with a plaque for winning Division 2 in the Town of Huntington recreation softball league.

Huntington Softball Hall of Fame President James Coschignano Jr., left, and Vice President Clint Riggs, right, present SPS Nation sponsor and player Mike Ruconich, center, with a plaque for winning Division 2 in the Town of Huntington recreation softball league.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The Huntington Softball Hall of Fame recognized earlier this month the top recreational softball team in the Town of Huntington.

After a season that ran from the end of April until August, the SPS Nation team was crowned champions of Division 2 of the Town of Huntington slowpitch softball league.

Huntington’s slowpitch softball league has been in existence since 1976 and is made up of teams of co-workers and friends who meet for weekly competitive games at the town run softball fields at Milldam Park in Halesite.

SPS Nation mustered an impressive regular season record of 22-2 on the way to their championship victory. In addition to SPS Nation, the teams from Axis Construction and the Valencia Tavern captured lower division titles.

The Huntington Softball Hall of Fame was founded in 1978 and is comprised of men and women who have played a major role in the growth of softball in the Town of Huntington.

Hall of fame president James Coschignano Jr. said the organization decided to recognize the winner’s of the softball league’s top division this year in an effort to “keep softball alive.”

“We are still trying to keep softball alive and well in the town,” Coschignano said. “We felt we should try to keep it alive, so we decided to donate a plaque to the winning team.”

SPS Nation’s victory in Division 2 made them Huntington’s top team because there were not enough teams to compete in Division 1.

Softball leagues have a rich history in the Town of Huntington.  At the time the Huntington Softball Hall of Fame was founded the games were fastpitch, Coschignano said, but the league has since changed to slowpitch.

Coschignano recalled days when he used to play softball almost six nights a weeks in several different leagues, but said the sport’s popularity is diminishing.

“There used to be six or eight leagues in the Town of Huntington, plus the firemen’s league,” Coschignano said. “It seems to be fading away, not that many people are playing any more.”

Despite the league’s shrinking size, Coschignano said the friendship and camaraderie created through softball is unmatched.

“That’s how all these people in the Hall of Fame met; we used to play against each other for years,” Coschignano said. “There’s definitely a level of camaraderie having known these people and played against them or with them.”

The Huntington Softball Hall of Fame will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Oct. 6 with an induction ceremony at Northport Yacht Club.

Wildcats Roar To A 2-0 Start On The Season

Senior quarterback Quinn O’Hara (No. 3) leads the Walt Whitman football team onto the field before their 35-24 win over Sachem North.

Senior quarterback Quinn O’Hara (No. 3) leads the Walt Whitman football team onto the field before their 35-24 win over Sachem North.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The Walt Whitman High School football team is off to an undefeated start this season. The Wildcats sit atop Suffolk’s Division 1 standings after a high scoring 49-46 victory at home against Brentwood on Sept. 7 and last Friday’s 35-24 home win against Sachem North.

After a 2-6 record last season, last weeks victory over the Flaming Arrows of Sachem North, who beat the Wildcats last year, could be the beginning of a comeback season for Whitman.

But a Wildcat victory didn’t always seem likely when Sachem North came to town. The Flaming Arrows dominated the first half with two huge plays. A 63-yard rushing touchdown and a 76-yard touchdown pass put Sachem North ahead 14-0 after the first quarter.

The Wildcats’ defense settled down in the second quarter and their offense began to move the ball. The Whitman offense, led by senior quarterback Quinn O’Hara, scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter.

Three of O’Hara’s four touchdown passes came in the second quarter, two of which were caught by senior wide receiver DaShawn Thompson. Thompson finished with four catches for 59 yards in the game.

The two teams went into the locker room at halftime with the game tied at 21, but momentum was firmly with the Wildcats.

Whitman’s defense dominated the second half, holding the Flaming Arrows to just a field goal. Grant Christensen, Jarrett Dalimonte, Tim Hunter each had an interception for the Wildcats, and junior linebacker Alex DiLorenzo recovered a fumble. Eric Bell and senior linebacker Christian Viteri each recorded eight tackles in the game.

The fourth quarter was all Wildcats. O’Hara showed his skills on the ground as well as in the air with a one yard touchdown run. He ran the ball 11 times in the game for 40 yards.

Whitman capped off the game with a late touchdown pass from O’Hara to wide receiver Kendall Wilkerson. The touchdown catch was Wilkerson’s second in the game, and one of seven total receptions for 77 yards.

The Wildcats hope to keep their undefeated streak alive when they travel to Bay Shore on Saturday where they are scheduled to take on the 0-2 Marauders at 1 p.m.

Strong Players Demonstrate A Will to Win

Seahawks on the sidelines during the team’s 36-0 victory at Island Trees on Sept. 7.

Seahawks on the sidelines during the team’s 36-0 victory at Island Trees on Sept. 7.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

After winning their past two games, the Cold Spring Harbor football team is hitting its stride early.

The team is finding its rhythm, head coach Jon Mendreski said. He attributes the team’s success to the previous season, partly because he has many returning players that have played together before, but also because the team lost in the county championship final last year, making them want it even more.

“They realized they want to get back to that county championship and they want to win that game,” Mendreski said. “They have it in their sights and continue to work hard for it.”

Even though Mendreski believes there are still areas to improve on, he feels as the season progresses they will put in more work and figure it out. Last year, the team graduated around 20 seniors, which gives them of “young crop” of kids to work with. During the first few games, Mendreski and his staff have been watching the boys to devise their strategies.

“We’re trying to find out our identity,” Mendreski said. “I think we have a pretty good idea after the first two games. What we’re all about, what we can and can’t do, and now we’ll build off of that going forward.”

Mendreski highlights his captains’ work so far this season, considering them all standout players, they are Raymond Costa, Thomas Milana, Richie Striano and Aidan Adomaites. He mentions the Striano family, made up of senior, Daniel and junior triplets, Richie, Dom, and Peter, as very influential players for team. There is also Anthony Naccarato, who is a center and inside linebacker, that does a lot for the team and demonstrates great leadership. Mendreski considers Ethan Burdo and Kolton Gagnon, who play both offense and defense, phenomenal players. Also, his wide receiver and defensive back Casey Reynolds, scored a 46 yard touchdown pass last week.

“We’re fortunate that we have a good offensive and defensive line,” Mendreski said.

“And our skills guys, we’re deep into skill positions.”

Along with coaching football, Mendreski teaches math to grades 7-12 and coaches the school’s crew team. He has coached football for 10 years, with this being his third year as head coach and has coached crew for 15 years.

“They both are constantly relying on your team sports. If you’re talking about a team sport, those would both be close to the top of the list,” Mendreski said.

The team has a big home game this Friday at 7 p.m. against Locust Valley and expects a tough schedule of games moving forward. They are looking forward to playing Seaford later in season, as they are the one seed and Cold Spring Harbor is the two seed.

“We’d like to get back to that championship game and make it a win this time,” Mendreski said. “Then get to the Long Island Championship in Stony Brook this year, that’s the goal. We gotta win two more games than we did last year.”

Mixed Start For Highly-Ranked Northport

Senior midfielder Elizabeth Cianciotti pushes the offense forward for the Northport Lady Tigers.  Long Islander News archives photo

Senior midfielder Elizabeth Cianciotti pushes the offense forward for the Northport Lady Tigers. Long Islander News archives photo

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The top ranked team from the Town of Huntington in girls soccer coming into the 2018-19 school year are off and running this season.

The Northport Lady Tigers were ranked at the top of this year’s preseason polls and are expecting a successful season on the pitch.

The Lady Tigers are looking to repeat as Suffolk County champions again this season under coach Aiji Gipp. The Lady Tigers went 18-2-1 last season, losing only one regular season game and the Long Island title game to Massapequa.

The season started well last Wednesday when the Lady Tigers opened the newly created Suffolk 1 division with a 2-0 win over Patchogue-Medford.

Opposition goalkeeper Cat Saxon made seven save in a valiant losing effort, but Northport just had too much in the locker.

Junior forward Olivia Carner got her name on the score sheet, while Lexi Sperling netting Northport’s second goal.

Goalie Bailey Piper has some big shoes to fill in net after Emma Havrilla graduated in June, but a four-save shutout in her first game of the season was a good start.

The Lady Tigers were quick to share the ball, and eager to communicate with their teammates.

As a result, Izzy Yeomans and Paige Leonard each earned the assist on one of Northport’s goals.

The Lady Tiger failed to build on this initial success two days later in their second game of the season when they struggled against Sachem East.

After a goalless first half, the game could have gone either way when the teams took the field for the second half.

Despite six saves by Piper, Sachem scored two second half goals to clinch a 2-0 victory against the Lady Tigers.

Northport looks to get back to winning ways this afternoon when they host the undefeated Thunderbirds from Connetquot at 4 p.m.

Coach Believes They ‘Have What It Takes’

John Glenn boys soccer game on Saturday, Sept. 22, will be followed by a ceremony honoring Sgt. Christopher Raguso, a former player who was killed when his helicopter went down on the Iraq-Syria border on March 15.

John Glenn boys soccer game on Saturday, Sept. 22, will be followed by a ceremony honoring Sgt. Christopher Raguso, a former player who was killed when his helicopter went down on the Iraq-Syria border on March 15.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

The boy’s varsity soccer team at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School is off to a solid start this season, with a record of 5-0, the team is undefeated and hope they can keep it up the rest of the season.

This year, the team’s coach, Lou Hanner, believes his team could win the county championship, something they have not done in more than 10 years. In the last three years, the team has lost only five games. Hanner attributes his team’s success to his players working in harmony on the field.

“We have had a great group of guys who have grown into the team culture,” Hanner said.

The team is playing two big games this week, on Wednesday, Sept. 12 against Shoreham and on Friday, Sept. 14 against Southampton. They will both be tough matches, but Hanner believes his boys can win if they put into play all the techniques and plays they have practiced for weeks.

“We have a traditional system, things that we do are real simple,” Hanner said. “But we try to keep bleeding it... we keep running the play again and again.”

Hanner is in his 21st year of coaching soccer at John H. Glenn High School and feels he has a system that works for his team. At the moment, one of his captains and four year starter, Adam Astarita, is leading Suffolk County in scoring goals. His other captain, Nick Weiss, exemplifies hard work by getting into the starting lineup by putting in extra work during the offseason and summer sessions.

“I feel like some programs and coaches are more concerned about coaching style than worrying about results,” Hanner said. “I mean, we’re coaching a varsity high school, competitive, interscholastic sport so ultimately with our team, we’re playing to win. I’m playing to win games, I’m trying to teach our guys to win and be successful at life.”

The program does have simple rules that the coaches enforce with the team, that they believe teaches them discipline. Hanner is less concerned with a players style and how they play, instead he wants them to “follow and fall in line.”

“You’re not at practice on time, you will sit,” Hanner said. “We’ll have one of our captains not start tomorrow because he came late to practice. I’ve been telling the kids since day one, if you’re late, you’re gonna be dealt with. So because he’s the captain, he doesn’t have to sit? No, everything breaks down if you do that.”

Another reason the team has been able to work well together is because the team continues to play through the offseason. Starting the week after winter break, Hanner holds intramural soccer games on Friday mornings before school starts from 6-7 a.m. This extra play time gives them a leg up on other team’s who only play during the season starting in June.

It also gives Hanner and his coaching staff a chance to observe their players and learn more about their playing styles and commitment. Typically, 10-20 students will participate in a game and those who do find it helps them greatly. The intramurals are open to the entire school so at times Junior Varsity players will join a game and give the coaches a chance to look forward to future players.

“You learn about who’s committed, the guys who are there every single week and the guys who never come,” Hanner said. “You choose not to come there on a Friday morning, no one has other practice, no one has a band lesson, no one has other conflicts. So either you show up on Friday and get an hour’s worth of work in or you don’t come.”

The season really picks up in June during Brookhaven Summer League. This is when coaches can figure out who their core group of players are.

One team they are most looking forward to playing against is Centereach, who are the defending State Class B champions and won against John Glenn twice last year. If the team can make it through the playoffs, they will likely face them in County Semi-Finals or Finals. The next team they would play would be the Nassau County Finals winner, then they would go on to the Final Four State Championship.

But first, they must conquer their county, which is looking to be more difficult this year than ever since New York state recently changed the class system to drop more schools from Class AA to Class A.

“We’re one of the smallest schools in the class, but we’ve been good enough to win them... we just haven’t yet,” Hanner said.

Sgt. Christopher Raguso Memorial
The team is also looking forward to their game on Saturday, Sept. 22, that will be followed by a memorial ceremony for Sgt. Christopher Raguso, a former player and graduate of John Glenn that was killed in service when his helicopter went down on March 15. The team will be putting up a flag pole and monument in his honor and have a GoFundMe set up to raise money for the memorial. The game is at 10 a.m. and the ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m.