Ward Melville remains undefeated in field hockey, but not without a fight from Northport.
Midfielder Kate Mulham led the way on Wednesday in a 3-2 Suffolk I victory for the Patriots (8-0, 7-0) with two goals and one assist, including what proved to be the game-winning goal with 25:22 remaining in the second half.
Trailing 3-1, the host Tigers clawed back, Lily Fox put a shot past Ward Melville goaltender Meghan Lorenzen (nine saves) to cut the deficit to one with 1:17 remaining in the second half.
“Keeping our composure was definitely very important in our win today,” Mulham said. “We didn’t freak out when they scored because we had faith in our own team, our own strengths and our own game. We knew as long as we stayed calm, and just played our game, that we would end up on top.”
Ward Melville coach Shannon Sioss said teams always have friendly rivalries, and it’s been that way between Northport and the Patriots for a while.
“It’s great to have two teams playing the game at a level that’s so fun to watch,” she said. “It’s exciting until the last minute and that’s something that we always say is that Northport literally will be that team that plays until that final whistle blows, which is a true testament to them scoring with 1:17 remaining. They always make it exciting, let’s just put it that way.”
Eighth-grader Sophia Bica scored her first varsity goal with 14:45 remaining in the first half to give Northport (5-2, 4-2) a 1-0 lead. The Patriots answered with the next three goals, including one by Jill Bove past Ryan Dowling, who totaled 16 saves.
As for staying undefeated, Mulham said the team has other goals on its mind, including returning to the state championships, after falling in the semifinals last season.
“Obviously we take one game at a time and we never want to get too ahead of ourselves,” Mulham said, “but we have a lot of unfinished business from last year, so we would ultimately like to get to the county championship, the Long Island championship and hopefully the state championship.”