Jade Salas is doing her best to embrace change.
The West Babylon junior stepped between the pipes this fall, moving from midfield to goalie, and while she admitted that the switch has required a different mindset, she’s also settled into her new position. In six games, Salas averaged 12.6 saves and recorded 13, 15 and 14-save performances in the Eagles’ three games last week.
“It definitely changed my approach because the mindset of offense versus defense is vastly different,” Salas said. “Before it was about getting the ball in and now it’s getting the ball out. But, overall, it still has that same intensity to it.”
Salas said she didn’t expect to suit up as West Babylon’s goalie this season, but when she found out that the squad didn’t have someone to fill the spot, she was quick to step up. She’d previously played goalie in lacrosse and hoped her skills would translate from one sport to another.
So far, it’s worked. Salas said she’s still willing to do whatever it takes to keep the ball out of the net and does her best not to get too frustrated when she does allow a goal, but added that there is one very important difference between the sports: the equipment.
Field hockey goalies are covered almost head to toe, unlike lacrosse, and Salas said it’s forced her to reexamine her approach when a shot comes her way.
“In lacrosse it was a lot of dropping to my knees and moving right to it,” Salas said. “In field hockey, it’s a lot more kicking and falling to make sure that the ball doesn’t go in.”
West Babylon dropped its first two games of the season last week, falling 6-0 to Harborfields on Sept. 19 and 5-0 to reigning Suffolk B champ Miller Place on Sept. 21. Still, Salas’ numbers stood out, and despite the losses, she said she was confident in what West Babylon could accomplish the rest of the year.
“We’re just getting started,” Salas said. “[Against Harborfields] we weren’t pushing ourselves as much as we could, but I think if we do push that it’ll be a really great season.”
An eye for the goal
Sammi Lustig turned scoring into a habit this past week, notching points in all three of Harborfields’ victories. Lustig recorded back-to-back hat tricks as the Tornadoes topped Babylon 5-0 on Sept. 17 and West Babylon 6-0 on Sept. 19, then added a goal in a 2-1 victory over Bayport-Blue Point on Sept. 21.
Sachem East and Northport, who met in last year’s Suffolk A championship, are the only two teams left in Suffolk I with perfect records.
The Flaming Arrows topped Ward Melville 2-1 on Sept. 16, despite allowing their first goal of the season, and followed up with a 1-0 win over Smithtown East on Sept. 18 and a 6-0 showing against Sachem North on Sept. 20. On the Northport side, the Tigers cruised to a pair of shutout victories, outscoring Commack and East Islip 6-0.
Locust Valley improved to 4-0 in Nassau II on Sept. 20 with a 2-1 shootout victory over defending ‘A’ champs Massapequa. Kaitlyn McGarry scored the winning goal for the Falcons in the shootout, while Carlyn Liebold netted the game-tying goal in the second half.
Katrina Rivers scored off an assist from Julia White with one minute left in OT to lead New Hyde Park to a 3-2 victory over Friends Academy on Sept. 21. White scored both regulation goals and coach Kori Brocking credited Caitlin Young for a pair of key defensive plays to preserve the tie.
Games to Watch This Week
Commack at Sachem East, Wednesday: Sachem East’s Kristen Shanahan leads Suffolk in scoring so far this season with eight goals and seven assists, but Commack’s Ally Forman isn’t far behind. She’s got six goals and four assists in the Cougars’ first six games.
Manhasset at Locust Valley, Thursday: Jenna Halpin and Carlyn Liebold have become a one-two offensive punch for Locust Valley this season with both sitting in the top-ten in Nassau scoring.
Miller Place at Rocky Point, Thursday: Both teams dropped games last week, but bounced back with shutout victories. Rocky Point topped Southampton 2-0 on Sept. 20 and Miller Place defeated West Babylon 5-0 on Sept. 21.
Garden City at Massapequa, Friday: Despite falling to Locust Valley on Sept. 20, Massapequa still boasts some scoring threats, led by Molly Gerasci has nine points through the Chiefs’ first five games.