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Sep 4, 2018 11:50 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Field Hockey Preview: Pierson Is Strong; Southampton Is Young; New Coach For Bonac

Hampton Bays is returning a young squad this season. DREW BUDD
Sep 4, 2018 1:19 PM

The field hockey season is set to get underway this week, with a slight change to the setup.

There are now just two divisions in the county, as opposed to three. East End teams Southampton, Pierson, East Hampton and Hampton Bays will all play in Division II, which is a power-ranked division that includes all the Class B and Class C teams in the county. Pierson is ranked first among the six Class C teams, while the other three will battle it out for a playoff spot in a competitive Class B bracket.

Southampton

The Lady Mariners are a young team this season, with only one senior, goalie Nicole Gutierrez. She takes over starting keeper duties, replacing graduated All-Division goalie Stella Schoenberg.

Southampton will be led by a trio of junior captains in C.C. Wetter (All-County Honorable Mention last year), Juliana Stein (All-Division) and Emma Wesnofske. All three girls have been on the varsity since they were eighth-graders.

The Lady Mariners will compete in what head coach Jackie Trelease calls a “hyper-competitive” collection of Class B teams within Division II. Along with the three captains, Trelease expects Esteylen Montero, Sarah Ritz, Morgan Fullam, Sydney Miller, Lauren Heaney, Brynne Rozzi and Kealee Suculanda to be impact players for the team.

Trelease said she expects tough competition from Rocky Point, Miller Place, Pierson (a Class C team), and Bayport/Blue Point, all playoff teams last year that are seeded above them to start the season. The Lady Mariners will also take on Babylon, Hampton Bays and East Hampton.

Southampton lost a few key seniors to graduation, including Schoenberg, Karmen Friedman, Chloe Gavalas, Caitlyn Kreymborg, Grace Lynch, and All-County player Samantha Wesnofske. Freshman All-Division player Kealee Gallo moved out of the state.

Trelease said she would love to see her team qualify for the playoffs, pointing out that it would be the first time qualifying for the playoffs as a ‘B’ team in a decade. Southampton was a Class C team the last few times it made the postseason.

“My hope is to compete in every game,” Trelease said. “The girls enjoy the competition, so it’s my job to put this puzzle together for the best possible outcome. I can’t think of a tougher division than ours, so the girls will need to stay focused and push each other all season long.”

Southampton is slated to start the season at home against Babylon on September 6 at 4:30 p.m.

Pierson

The Lady Whalers were the top-ranked Class C team in Division II, making them a favorite to defend their Suffolk County title this year.

Pierson brings back several talented players, including All-County and Newsday All-Long Island goalie Charlotte Johnson, who is committed to play field hockey at Duke University next year. Pierson also brings back All-State halfback senior Paige Schaefer, who will still be expected to control the midfield this season and use her strong defensive skills, but will also need to be more of a threat on offense as well.

All-Division midfielder Brooke Esposito is back, and junior midfielder Joyce Arbia has made big improvements thanks to a lot of time on the field in the offseason, according to head coach Kim Hannigan. Senior Olivia Aupperlee will be an impact player on defense, while eighth-grader Meredith Spolarich, another year-round player, is another strong halfback.

Senior defender Sophia Bitis is expected to return from ACL surgery in early October, while eighth-grader Emma Rascelles is back on varsity and will be a strong player in the halfback position. Freshman Abby Sherwood is another strong defender, and junior Mahlia Hemby was praised by Hannigan as having “great field vision.” She will be called upon to score goals and is also the team’s backup goalie.

Those players will help offset the loss of All-Division midfielder Claudia Patterson, All-Division defender Catherine Spolarich, All-Tournament forward Autumn Street, and All-County Honorable Mention midfielder Ava Lantiere, who is now playing at Manhattanville.

Pierson was set to start the season with a non-league game at Patchogue-Medford on September 4 and will host Greenport/Southold on September 6 at 4:30 p.m.

Hampton Bays

Hampton Bays field hockey coach Kait Cooper said she is focused on seeing continued improvement and setting realistic goals for her team this year, after losing seven seniors to graduation.

Senior Sarah Fassino, a forward, will lead the team, along with junior center midfielder Mia Mielenhausen. Senior Emily Peyton is strong on defense but also has the ability to score and should be a key player as well. Newcomers include Kailyn Havens and Gia Antieri, both junior forwards, and Dulce Pina, a sophomore defender.

“Our goals this season are to continually improve individual skills and learn how to work well as a team,” Cooper said. “Field hockey is a sport that you need the support from all of the players on the field. I want these girls to have fun and win one more game than last season.”

Hampton Bays will start the season on September 5 at West Babylon at 4:30 p.m.

East Hampton

The Lady Bonackers will have a new look this year with new head coach Nicole Ficeto. A 1992 graduate of East Hampton High School, Ficeto played field hockey at Division I Davidson College. She will be assisted by fellow 1992 graduate Carolina Schaefer, who played at Babson College, and 2010 graduate Danielle Waleko, who played at Drew University.

East Hampton lost six starters to graduation but returns five starters: seniors Emily Hugo (defense, All-Division), Kate Ward (sweeper, All-Division) Rianna Helier (defender), and Cate Wicker (midfield), junior Olivia Davis (midfielder) and sophomore Anna Hugo (wing).

Also returning are senior defender Raven Biondo, senior defender Charlotte DeSousa, senior wing Olivia Jarrett, senior defender Alexis Yurkewitch, senior center forward Grace Myer, junior midfielder Kailey Marmeno, freshman wing Hanna Medler, junior forward/defender Emily Brewer, junior forward Remy Campbell, sophomore goalie Rorey Murphy, and junior goalie Tia Weiss.

East Hampton will host Port Jefferson on September 6 at 4:30 p.m.

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