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Ward Melville, Carle Place prepare for state semifinals

Ward Melville players celebrate a goal against Sachem East

Ward Melville players celebrate a goal against Sachem East during the Suffolk Class A field hockey final on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Ward Melville Patriots and Carle Place Frogs will represent Long Island field hockey in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) semifinals this Saturday.

Ward Melville, who stand at 20-0, will face Baldwinsville in the Class A semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. at Vestal High School. The state final will take place Sunday, Nov. 12 at noon at Maine-Endwell High School.

Coached by Shannon Sioss, the Patriots will look to advance to the state finals as they had in 2015, falling to Mamaroneck, 2-1, in a double-overtime loss. This time around, Ward Melville defeated Mamaroneck, 3-1, in the Regional Championship to send them to the state semifinals.

To prepare for Saturday’s matchup against Baldwinsville, Sioss said the team has watched film from its Regional Championship win.

“We feel like it’s important that we can always learn from our own game and our own style,” she said. “Their mentality right now is that they’re really excited but also very focused. They’re not looking too forward ahead but they’re taking it one day at a time. Their ultimate goal is to be successful this weekend, but they know it’s important to not look too far ahead and focus on the first game first.”

Ward Melville last took home the state championship in 2008, the first time in program history.

Last season, they dropped a 2-1 overtime game to Shenendehowa in the state semifinals.

Lexi Reinhardt, Kate Mulham and Kerri Thornton have been forces on the Ward Melville offensive front. Reinhardt has a Long-Island leading seven points (five goals, two assists) during the playoffs. Ward Melville has eight seniors on their roster.

Baldwinsville, coached by Tessa Ordway comes off a 4-3 victory in the Regional Championship.

“They do have some speed, they play a different formation than us and they’re very quick,” Sioss said about Baldwinsville. “They’re going to keep us on our toes and we have to do the same thing to keep them on theirs.”

Sioss added that with four teams remaining in the Class A tournament, the team needs to execute its fundamentals.

“All the teams obviously have a lot of their respect, and they’re all going to be good and the games are going to be challenging,” she said. “I think what is most important right now is to stick to our game plan and cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s and make sure the x’s and o’s are taken care of to the best of our ability.”

Representing Class C is Carle Place (10-3) who take on the Schuylerville Black Horses in the Class C semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 11:30 a.m. at Maine-Endwell High School. The next day will be the state final at 9:30 a.m. at Maine-Endwell High School.

Carle Place fell in the first round of last year’s NYSPHSAA playoffs.

Sophomore Julia Pascarella has scored 11 goals and tallied five assists this season. This postseason, she has notched four goals, including the game-winning score in the Regional Championship. Emiline Biggin has registered three goals in three playoff games thus far.

Guarding the cage will be senior goalkeeper Megan McGuinness.

The Frogs are led by first-year coach Crystal Gray.

“The girls are hyped and ready for states!” Gray said. “They are hungry for the win on Saturday and look to take the Class C state title. The girls are strengthening their speed and agility while celebrating our individual and team strengths.”

Carle Place will continue to prepare for the matchup with the Black Horses throughout the week.

“I know our opponent, Schuylerville has a great hockey program and we are ready for a great matchup,” Gray said. “We’re all very excited to see some great field hockey on Saturday, as every game played continues to be our best.”

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