When Ward Melville’s Kate Mulham and Lexi Reinhardt saw that Northport was keying on the Patriots’ leading scorer, Kerri Thornton, they knew what they had to do.
Reinhardt and Mulham each had a goal and an assist Monday to propel Ward Melville to a 4-1 field hockey win over Northport. The Patriots (14-0 Suffolk I) capped an undefeated regular season.
“Since Northport was focusing on Kerri, everyone else was able to step up,” Reinhardt said. “I think we did a great job finding different ways to create scoring chances.”
Mulham added: “Everyone on our team is so skilled and we have such a deep bench. Even though they shut off Kerri a little bit, everyone played their game.”
Especially Mulham, who was also a force in the midfield for the Patriots, turning defensive takeaways into offensive opportunities.
“Controlling the middle of the field is really crucial if you want to dominate a game,” said Mulham, who has seven goals and four assists. “Setting up my teammates is just as good as scoring a goal, and today I felt like I was able to set up the forwards and let them do what they do best.”
Ward Melville’s Kassidy Rogers-Healion opened the scoring 2:53 into the game on an assist from Mulham. Kirsten Roethel scored on an assist from Natalie Langella to tie it 1:05 later for Northport, whose two Suffolk I losses came against the Patriots.
Ward Melville took a 2-1 lead late in the half on a goal by Reinhardt. Ryan Dowling made nine saves on 11 first-half shots, and Kate Gilligan had six saves in the second half for Northport (12-2). Midfielder Kiera Alventosa and Mulham added second-half goals for Ward Melville.
“A big reason why we have been so successful is because we just don’t have that one player,” coach Shannon Watson said. “If one player has an off game, or if one player is taken out of the game, we have plenty of other people to step up.”
Ward Melville will receive a first-round bye and will host a Suffolk Class A quarterfinal Monday against an opponent to be determined.
“It is a brand-new season right now, our record is 0-0,” Watson said. “Every opportunity we get is something that we need to take advantage of, and we can’t focus on the past. We need to live in the moment.”