Erin Neville looked around the field as her teammates attacked the goal. She found her target, took aim and fired with all of her strength. With perfect accuracy, she drilled a teammate with . . . a water balloon.
That was a flashback to the first practice of the season for Commack. After the team had just completed a stressful week of tryouts, the senior developed a plan to help ease the tension. As the team did drills, Neville, Sam Miller and Jessica Silverman asked if they could get some ice. They returned with a cooler filled with water balloons and started throwing them at unsuspecting teammates.
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On Tuesday, Neville was one of the masterminds behind another prank. After a 5-1 win over Sachem North to clinch the Suffolk League I title, she stalled coach Tracie Morenberg while teammates rushed to her house to cover it in toilet paper, silly string and championship posters. "She's going to either love it or hate it," Neville said. "I really hope she loves it."
Devyn Fleischhacker opened the scoring just 55 seconds into the game, finishing a ball that was served into the box by Gianna Carnesi. She added a goal in the 53rd minute to increase the lead to 4-0.
"It's been our goal since we were freshmen," Fleischhacker said, "to grow up together and win it all as seniors."
Silverman sent a cross to Julia Montella, who scored to make it 2-0 in the 11th minute. Jessica Newman then scored the first of her two goals, deflecting a ball into the goal with 20:03 remaining in the half.
Newman headed in a perfectly placed corner kick by Neville with 6:42 left in the game to give Commack (11-1) a 5-0 lead. "The past few years we've had the talent but there's always been someone older than us, bigger than us, stronger than us," Newman said. "This year there were no excuses, we had to do it."
Leanna Curcio recorded the final goal of her career with 29 seconds left, scoring from 25 yards out off a ball played over the top by Caitlyn Humann for Sachem North (3-6-3).
Senior Day ended with Commack's 14 seniors on their coach's front lawn with smiles on their faces as toilet paper dangled from the trees.
So should Commack win a county title, what kind of prank is planned? "Oh," Neville said, "you just gotta wait to find out."