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Alexa Kidd's goal lifts Ward Melville field hockey to victory over Whitman

Alexa Kidd of Ward Melville, right, moves a

Alexa Kidd of Ward Melville, right, moves a ball downfield as Angela Shedlow #12 of Whitman gives chase during a Suffolk Division I field hockey match at Walt Whitman High School on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Credit: James Escher

For Ward Melville’s Alexa Kidd, the statement by the great Yogi Berra, "You can observe a lot just by watching," certainly rings true.

Kidd, a second-year varsity player for the Patriots field hockey team, did not start as a freshman last season, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t paying attention.

"I was able to see the older players perform and it was very beneficial for me," Kidd said. "Being on the sidelines helped me grow as a player, and now that I am starting, I can use what I learned from those girls to help my team win."

The forward gave her team a big lift Tuesday evening when she scored with just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter to propel Ward Melville to a 3-1 victory over host Whitman in Suffolk Division I. The goal came just two minutes after Charlotte O’Hara scored off Mia Brunetti’s assist for the Wildcats (8-5) to make the score 2-1.

"After they put that one in, we knew we had to step up," Kidd said. "It made us even hungrier to get that goal back."

Senior goalkeeper Isabella Ospitale (four saves) made a crucial kick save with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter, and came out of her cage to stop a point-blank shot with five minutes left in regulation to preserve Ward Melville’s two-goal cushion.

"Bella has been a great player for us the last four years and her confidence on the field, as well as the confidence her teammates have in her, play off each other," Patriots coach Shannon Sioss said. "She is just a huge asset for us."

Ward Melville opened the scoring with 8:02 left in the first quarter when Izzy Paglia set up freshman Peyton Phillips for a goal. The Patriots led 1-0 at halftime and extended that lead just five minutes into the second half when Courtney Quinn scored off a pass from Grace Mulham following a penalty corner.

"We had to capitalize on that opportunity because it was such a close game at the time," Quinn said. "We knew if we won this game, we would secure our spot as one of the top four teams heading into playoffs."

The Patriots finished the regular season 12-2 in the division and earned a first-round bye in the Suffolk Class A playoffs. Their first postseason game will come at home on Oct. 27 against an opponent to be determined.

"We really have only three seniors on the field," Sioss said. "We are a very young squad, but the underclassmen are learning a lot from each other. It is exciting to watch them grow and perform this way at the end of the season."

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