Since the first day of practice, the Rocky Point field hockey team has worked on crashing the net and getting in front of their opponents’ defenders.
“It’s always competitive,” is how junior forward Sara Giamarrella describes the Eagles’ practices. “When we do well, we get rewarded.”
But what happens when the team isn’t successful? “We run sprints,” said Giamarrella, smiling. “But it makes us better.”
Evidently so. The Eagles flocked to the Pierson/Bridgehampton net like someone was handing out free food. They cut in front of Whaler defenders on multiple occasions. Or was it the fact that the Eagles were tired of running sprints at practice? No matter. The result was a dominating 5-0 win for host Rocky Point in Suffolk III, Wednesday.
It was far different from the last time the two teams met on Sept. 13, when Rocky Point eked out a 1-0 road decision after Haley Clark converted a penalty stroke.
“We wanted this game really bad,” said Clark, who had a goal and an assist and is tied with Ward Melville’s Kerri Thornton with a county-best 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists). “The last game motivated us to play better.”
Another motivation for Rocky Point (8-2) was the opportunity to play against one of the top players in Suffolk — Ana Sherwood (team-best 11 points). But according to Whalers coach Bethany Semlear, Sherwood missed school and the game because she was sick.
“We were looking for her [Sherwood] as soon as they got off the bus,” said Giamarrella, who had two goals and one assist. “When we didn’t see her, we knew they were still going to try to play well, and that got us pumped.”
Indeed. Clark scored off a feed from Madison Sanchez just 2:07 into the game. Giamarrella converted a pass from Emily Molinaro and the lead was 2-0 with 20:55 left in the first half, as Semlear called a timeout.
But the Whalers (5-4) could not solve the Rocky Point riddle as the lead was stretched to 3-0 midway through the half on a goal from Hannah Luchsinger.
Giamarrella set up Molinaro just 52 seconds into the second half as the Eagles led 4-0 and Giamarrella completed her solid effort with a late goal assisted by Clark. Jen Greene (5 saves) and Kayleigh Keane combined for nine saves for the shutout, and Charlotte Johnson was impressive with 25 saves for the Whalers.