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Leftovers: Floral Park vs. Sewanhaka
I covered this game on Thursday and the teams played to a 1-1 tie. There's something about these Floral Park/Sewanhaka and going double overtime. I'd covered them last Sept. 14, in Sewanhaka's first ever game, and that also went double OT. At the end of the first overtime, Knights coach Tracy Blinder looked over at me and shook her head and I said, “Hey, it makes it more exciting. Drama is always good for an article.” She jokingly said, “Drama might also give the coach a heart attack.” Unlike last year, when Floral Park was able to come away with a 4-3 win, the offense remained stalemated in this one.
Floral Park's Kayla Vargas, who scored at 23:07 to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.
On the goal: “I just remember passing it to Hannah [Schlechter], her passing it right back and me reverse-sticking it into the goal. We both looked at each other like, 'I can't believe this is happening.'”
Thoughts on playing to a tie: “We're not disappointed. We played our hearts out and it was a great game. We're undefeated, definitely, and we're in first place in League IV. We're good right now.”
On her scoring her fifth goal, which at the time, gave her the Nassau lead: “I just think it's senioritis. It's senior year and I feel like I have to step up my game and lift the team up to where we are now.”
Hannah Schelchter, who assisted on Vargas' goal.
How big was Vargas' goal at the time? “It was great. Me and Kayla do a lot of nice passing, so we were happy to get it in.”
Does the game going overtime bring back memories of the game a year ago? “It did, definitely. Except we played on that field (pointing to the field to the far right) and I scored a few goals.” In that game, Schelchter, then a sophomore, recorded her first hat trick and scored the winner at 5:21 in the second overtime. “I still remember a lot of their girls from last year and I'm playing with the exact same team, so it is kind of deva vu. It's nice.”
Knights goalie Francesca Nargentino, who made two saves.
On allowing the first goal of the season: “It was a good shot and I missed... It's a little overwhelming knowing that if I didn't let that goal in we would've won, but on the other hand, honestly, there was no way I was going to have shutouts all season. It had to come some time.”
Michelle Mongiello scored the tying goal with 26:13 left in the first half for the “Indahawks.”
(Aside: I hadn't known about the team's adopted nickname until midway through the game when Kristina Genova – of Sewanhaka bowling fame – showed up and was waving a “Go Indahawks!” sign. She later explained it to me. The Sewanhaka field hockey team is a combination of the Sewanhaka Indians and the Carey Seahawks. Put 'em together and you've got an Indahawk. According to Mongiello, the nickname came about three years ago when Sewanhaka started as a combined JV program.)
On the close game: “It was really hectic and thrilling. All we wanted to do was win, but we'll settle for a tie. We played our hearts out... We're satisfied.”
On the play of her team's defense, which spent a lot of time fending off Floral Park's aggressive offense in the circle: “Our defense is amazing. Courtney Balgobin, Mary Jane Dumankaya, Danielle Lukas, Brenda Hartman. They all do a tremendous job.”
Mongiello said that the Sewanhaka/Floral Park rivalry is “pretty big” and she isn't friends with any of the Knights – even though Floral Park is “right around the corner” (0.8 miles west, per Google). “They're over there that way, but we really don't associate with each other much.”
Both teams are senior-laden, so this game was the last time most of them will face each other, unless they meet in the playoffs. So hopefully when the season ends they'll put the rivalry aside and come together. Maybe run into each other at a mall and share cheese fries or something, add each other on Facebook. Whatever you whippersnappers are into these days.
Sewanhaka goalie Marcella Castellano, who made 13 saves to preserve the tie. Of the 13, eight were kick saves (“kick save and a beauty” joke goes here). She made a great kick save of a penalty shot in the 25th minute of the second half, shortly after the Indians had tied the score.
“The stick is hard to use, but the feet, it's easier, more natural.”
On Floral Park spending that much time on offense: “It's nerve-wracking. You don't want them scoring... I'll do anything to prevent a goal. I'll dive, throw my whole body.”
On having given up just two goals this season: “I have to thank my defense for that. They're amazing. They're the reason for that.”
(I should add that during this interview, there was lots of laughter in the background. It came from Courtney Pons and Mongiello, who took great joy in tossing Castellano's slipper around and whacking it with a stick.)
“We're family, we're like sisters,” Castellano said. “It's what we do.”
Courtney Pons, who managed to stop laughing for a minute and 13 seconds.
On the game: “It was very tiring after a while. It was a fun game and I'm glad our defense and goalie played really good, but I really wish we had won.”
On being friends with Floral Park girls: “I don't hate them, but I don't associate with anyone from Floral Park,” said Pons, a Carey student.
Coach Deirdre Kelly
On the camaraderie of the Seahawks and Indians: “They show a lot of camaraderie and team spirit. Being from different schools, they really work well together. Once they step on the field, it goes away. It's almost hard to tell we're from two different schools. We have a great time and the girls can't be nicer.”
On the team this year: “We have a lot of seniors; we'll be graduating 18 out of 23. I'll miss them terribly, but we've got the whole season ahead of us and I think people will be surprised with what they see from us.”
On her goalie: “[Marcella] is someone who is really intense and she works hard every practice and game. She was hurt and couldn't play last year (ankle injury), but she stepped up this summer. As soon as we went to her in the first practice in August, 'I'm the goalie.' She's never had another thought in her mind.”
On Mongiello's goal: “The girls chant for her. She's 'Mong, Mong, Mong!' When we need a goal, that's who we look to, between her and Rosie [Grogan]. They want the ball and they produce. They want to put the team on their back when needed.”
On the team's 2-0-1 start: “It's unbelievable. We've made so much progress. These girls went to camps in the summer and worked hard. Even though they're seniors, it's not like, 'I have three months of this season and then I'm gone.' It's their last one and they want to do well.”