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East Islip ready for field hockey playoffs

East Islip goalkeeper Erica Hayden makes the save

East Islip goalkeeper Erica Hayden makes the save on the point-blank shot from Newfield forward Serena Ruggerio in a game on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Photo Credit: George A. Faella

Angelina Perrone's penalty corner goal lifted East Islip field hockey to more than just a win on Wednesday.

The junior scored with 5:33 remaining in overtime to seal a 2-1 victory over Smithtown East that earned the 7-7 Redmen a spot in the Suffolk Class A playoffs.

"After this game we all realized we have this potential in us to go and win it," Perrone said. "The mood just changed. We never thought we could do it, but we came into the game and played hard to the very end."

East Islip has four 1-0 losses and hasn't lost a game by more than three goals. Perrone is within the top 20 in county scoring with 16 points through Wednesday and Erica Hayden has been impressive with 86 saves.

East Islip coach Chris Veit said his team's problem was an inexperienced defense, but added that the backfield has greatly improved over the season.

"We've had a tremendous amount of growth at all of our positions all season long," Veit said. "We knew we were capable of playing high level hockey and that's where you want to be heading into the playoffs, beating a top opponent and playing well."

Alexa Mattera, a senior midfielder and captain, said her team is better at passing, transitioning up the field and converting on corners. She hopes it will be a trend in the postseason.

East Islip's next opponent hasn't been determined as of Thursday, but Mattera said she is more excited than anxious.

"To get where we are today showed how we overcame so many obstacles," Mattera said. "It's pretty scary and nerve-wracking, but to beat Smithtown East shows if we play our brand of field hockey we can beat anyone. It gave us that confidence."

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