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Suffolk League I Preview

West Islip's Mikayla Walton (10) (left) heads the

West Islip's Mikayla Walton (10) (left) heads the ball passed Sachem's keeper Erin McNulty to tie the score at 2-2 in the second half of the game. West Islip defeated Sachem North 3-2. (November 11, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday/Joseph D. Sullivan

WARD MELVILLE

Last Season: 9-3 (10-3-2), lost 3-0 in first round to North Babylon

The Patriots return a strong core of seniors, who in their fourth and final year together, may be the favorite in League I. Ward Melville’s strength lies in the midfield where sixth-team all-state center-mid Lizzy Rullan is joined by Jordan Porretto. As a defensive-minded team the past few seasons, Ward Melville has struggled to find the net. That could change this season with their speed up front led by forward Caysea Cohen. They won’t need to score many with keeper Ally Ramos in goal.

Season Opener: The defending Class A county champs come to town on Sept. 7.

COMMACK

Last Season: 7-4-1 (7-5-2), lost 3-2 in first round to Smithtown East

A possession style team predicated on its chemistry. It all starts in the backfield with sophomore keeper Jackie Birnbaum and junior defender Kristin Brandman then carries to the midfield with senior Kristen Pacello and juniors Sarina Manetta and Megan Schmitt. The Cougars lost two key goal scorers but have the personnel, including a strong junior class and call-ups from an undefeated JV team, to find the back of the net.

Season Opener: at Mount Sinai on Sept. 14

SACHEM NORTH

Last Season: 7-4-1 (8-5-1), lost 2-0 to West Islip in first round

Senior Erin McNulty (pictured above) is the type of goalkeeper that keeps teams in games they have no business being in. McNulty is the anchor of a defensive team that looks to stop the opposition first then look for scoring opportunities of their own. Capitalizing on those opportunities will be senior forward Ashlee Thompson and junior striker Courtney Cohen. A senior laden team that moves from League II to League I, swapping places with last year’s League I champ - and crosstown rival - Sachem East.

Season Opener: at Center Moriches, against the two-time defending Class B Long Island champs, on Sept. 8

PATCHOGUE-MEDFORD

Last Season: 6-6 (8-7), lost 1-0 to Whitman in outbracket game

Just missed advancing to the first round of the playoffs last year after a 1-0 loss to Whitman, who advanced and upset top-seeded Sachem East. The road to the playoffs won’t get any easier for the Raiders who graduated 14 seniors. Returning players include junior center-midfielder Erika Flowers and senior stopper Rosa Prestano.

Season Opener: vs. Bellport on Sept. 7

BRENTWOOD: 0-12 (2-13)…Season Opener: vs. Amityville on Sept. 7

FLOYD: 3-9 (3-11)…Season Opener: at Shoreham WR on Sept. 12

LONGWOOD: 5-6-1 (7-7-1)…Season Opener: at Newfield on Sept. 7

 

**COMING THURSDAY: SUFFOLK LEAGUE II PREVIEW**
 

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