The Eastport-South Manor field hockey team had some fun Tuesday afternoon.
The Sharks defeated Ward Melville, 2-0, in Suffolk I, seizing offensive opportunities and recording their fifth shutout of the season. It was a defensive performance the team hopes will becoming its calling card for the remainder of the year and a well-rounded effort that left every player smiling.
“Everyone’s relaxed and having fun and supporting each other,” said Eastport-South Manor coach Jenna Rickert. “It’s a whole team camaraderie and that’s cool to see.”
Ward Melville controlled the majority of the possession in the first half, but Eastport-South Manor never wavered from the game plan. The Sharks locked in on defense and, whenever they could, pushed the ball up the field, looking to turn the early-game tide.
Kylie Harrison did just that, scoring off an assist from Ellie Masera and Jamie Biskup, with 25:04 left in the first half, to give Eastport-South Manor (6-1) a lead it would never surrender.
“I wanted this win,” Harrison said. “I wanted the goal for the team. We all want it really bad and we’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Harrison took advantage of another first-half opportunity with 8:22 in the frame, finding a sliver of space to work the ball into the back of the net. The shot, off a penalty corner and another assist from Masera, made it 2-0 and gave Eastport-South Manor a spring in its collective step heading into the break.
“My two goals were only possible with my team,” Harrison said. “They made it happen. We all worked together and turned it into a goal.”
Harrison’s goals highlighted Eastport-South Manor’s early offense, but it was the Sharks’ defense that set the tone. Ward Melville (5-2) took eight penalty corners in the first half, but failed to connect, frustrated by the wall of Eastport-South Manor defenders in front of the goal. The trend continued in the second half.
Ward Melville couldn’t convert on five second-half corners and struggled to get a shot off as the clock ticked down. The Eastport-South Manor defense attacked from every angle, challenging every play and shutting down any late-game pressure. Amanda Montiel also held strong in net, finishing with four saves.
“Collectively, I think we played defense well as a whole team,” Rickert said. “It’s all about playing as a unit. Keeping it simple.”
Eastport-South Manor was pleased with the victory, but the Sharks have their sights set on something bigger. They’ve got their eyes on a county title, certain that would be most fun of all.
“Every win is big for us,” Harrison said. “We’re just going to keep going and keep winning and, hopefully, get really far this year.”