Following a statement game in the early part of what has all the makings of a statement season for Bay Shore field hockey, naturally, statements were made.
"This was one of our biggest games, even though it was non-league," said Courtney Syrett, who scored the second goal in the Marauders' 3-1 victory over Ward Melville. "We wanted to show all of Long Island that we're not just 'Bay Shore,' we're something more."
More than just a scrappy squad that slips into the playoffs then, before long, watches as the elite teams -- like Ward Melville -- compete for championships.
Tuesday, the podium was theirs.
"Beating this team lets everyone know what we're capable of," defender Elise Ambos said. "We're a force to be reckoned with."
The biggest statement, of course, was made on the field. Against the Patriots, who have won five of the last six Suffolk Class A titles, Bay Shore dominated to the tune of 24 shots on goal and an 8-2 advantage in penalty corners.
Killeen Martin, from 3 yards right, took a rebound and lashed a reverse into the far corner to put the Marauders on the board at 12:50 of the first half. Syrett scored 4:08 before halftime and Liz Athing's tap-in made it 3-0 with 15:47 left. Courtney Alberto made one save for Bay Shore (5-1).
"We're big on marking," said Ambos, who, along with Haleigh Rock, led the defense. "We played them really tight and tried to keep them as far from the circle as possible."
Sam Nemirov scored with 9:43 left and Andre Bongiorno made 20 saves for the Patriots (4-1).
"Ward Melville is a great team," Martin said, "but we just played our game."
Beating good teams is becoming their game, considering Bay Shore also edged perennial power Smithtown East two weeks ago.
The Marauders had become predictable in recent years for their one-and-done playoff appearances, but they reached last year's Suffolk Class A semifinals, losing 2-1 to eventual state champion Sachem East. The silver lining was the promise of a roster littered with underclassmen, which meant 15 players returning this year, seasoned and hungry.
"We have a young and really talented group," midfielder Kyra Harney said. "Now we're confident and showing that we can play with anyone."
A statement heard loud and clear.