High School Field Hockey

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Statement games for Sachem East, Ward Melville

Sachem East celebrates win

Sachem East celebrates win (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Sachem East beat host Smithtown East, 1-0, in Division I.

Meghan Coope scored the winner with 6:49 left as the Flaming Arrows improved to 6-0, 5-0 in the league. Samantha Alvino and Jordan Miller each made two saves, combining for the shutout. Ericka Parks made eight saves for Smithtown East.

This was Sachem East’s second status-solidifying victory of the season, coming a week after they beat Ward Melville, 4-0.

For so long, Division I – Suffolk Class A, really – belonged to Ward Melville and Smithtown East. The Flaming Arrows proved themselves to be a true contender last season, taking the Patriots to overtime of the county final. Now, it looks as if they’ve taken the next step and are becoming the team to beat. They’ve yet to allow a goal this season and what’s intriguing, and impressive, is that they’ve scored 23 goals and superstar Katie Trombetta has only two of them. Her sister, eighth-grader Cara, is among their leading scorers with four points.  They’re a deep team and it seems everyone is contributing on offense. With each impressive win, it’s beginning to look like this could be the Flaming Arrows’ year. They’ve waited their turn.

Ward Melville defeated Shoreham-Wading River, 3-2, in non-league.

Liz Conley got the winning goal with 5:58 remaining for the Patriots (4-2). Sophomore Maggie Vachris’ first career goal had tied it at 2 with 25:52 left. Kelsey Catalano also scored and Andre Bongiorno made seven saves for Ward Melville. Debi-Michelle Jantzen and Kaitlyn Taddeo had a goal apiece and Kendal Conway had eight saves for SWR (5-1).

This certainly wasn’t a must-win game for Ward Melville – it was a non-league contest and they’ve got the bulk of their schedule remaining – but it was one of those games you can be sure they really wanted.

This year wasn’t supposed to be easy for the Patriots, not with the number and quality of players they lost and the level of competition they face. But it’s been a lackluster start to the season. Back-to-back losses to Sayville and Sachem East brought into question how different they are now from the team we’d gotten used to seeing hopscotch through the regular season. Are they still a powerhouse? Where do they now rank among Division I’s Big Four (with Sachem East, Smithtown East and Northport)?

Shoreham is a well-coached, fundamentally-sound team that’s always among the elite. For Ward Melville, a win against SWR proves, even in a small way, that they are still capable of pulling one out against a top team; that they can’t be written off. Ward Melville’s next big test will be Oct. 1, when they visit Northport. Then they’ve got a showdown at Smithtown East on Oct. 4.