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Oct 24, 2012 1:53 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pierson Field Hockey Earns Spot In Postseason; Wesnofske Leads Southampton In Thrilling Win

Oct 29, 2012 12:48 PM

The Lady Whalers are officially playoff bound.

The Pierson field hockey team’s petition to Section XI to be included in the Class C postseason was approved on Friday, and the Lady Whalers will square off against Southampton in the Suffolk County Class C championship at Ward Melville High School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6.

Before Friday, there was serious doubt as to whether there would even be a game to decide the county ‘C’ champion. Teams must finish in the top six in their division to qualify for the postseason—Southampton did so by finishing with a 7-7 record, 8-8 overall to take fourth place with 120.720 power points. The Lady Whalers, however, fell to 8-6, 10-6 and sat in seventh place with 109.990 points after a 2-1 loss to Rocky Point in the regular season finale, putting them behind Riverhead, which snuck into the postseason on the strength of an upset win over third-place Shoreham/Wading River last week. Riverhead finished 10-4, 10-6 overall with 115.700 power points. Southampton was the only Class C team in the county that officially qualified for the playoffs, and would have been named the automatic county champ if Pierson’s petition did not go through.

Pierson head coach Shannon Judge and her Pierson team had a strong enough case for inclusion based on a few factors. The Lady Whalers split their season series with Southampton, beating the Lady Mariners, 1-0, in overtime in their first meeting in Sag Harbor before losing to them in a 2-0 game in Southampton. The Lady Whalers also beat both Babylon and Port Jefferson, the other ‘C’ schools in the county (both of whom finished far out of playoff contention), during the regular season, and also beat Riverhead, the team that finished ahead of them, in a non-league game to start the season.

The seeding committees at Section XI, Suffolk County’s governing body of high school sports, often entertain petitions for teams to be included in the playoffs when they play in what is called a “mixed classification” league. Division III field hockey is such a league, because it includes Class C schools like Pierson, Southampton and Port Jefferson playing against larger Class A and B schools like Miller Place, Rocky Point and Shoreham/Wading River. Those schools have larger student body populations and thus a larger pool to draw athletes from and, in theory, that puts smaller schools like Pierson at a disadvantage. Petitions from teams that play in mixed classification leagues are given consideration for that reason, and if the team can prove that it has a strong record against teams in its classification and perhaps has a few wins against some of the higher classification schools, the petition is often granted. Pierson also beat Class B team Rocky Point earlier in the season before losing to the Lady Eagles on Tuesday. Rocky Point finished second in the division with an 11-3 record, 13-3 overall and 150.700 power points. In Pierson’s loss to the Lady Eagles, Rocky Point opened the scoring with 14:30 left in the first half and added another goal with 39 seconds left before halftime to take a 2-0 lead. India Hemby broke up the shutout with 2:22 left in the game, collecting a rebound from a deflected shot by teammate Kasey Gilbride. Emma Romeo made seven saves for Pierson.

Lady Mariners Win Thriller

While Pierson ended its regular season on a losing note at Rocky Point, the Lady Mariners had one of their most exciting wins of the season in their finale, beating East Hampton, 3-2, on the road on October 23. Emily Wesnofske was the hero for Southampton, scoring on a corner off an assist from teammate Keeling Pilaro with no time left in regulation to lift her team. Southampton earned the corner as time expired in regulation, but in field hockey, if a team earns a corner as time runs out, it is allowed to play out the corner until it scores or until the defending team clears the ball past the dotted line that is right out side of the circle. The attacking team can keep playing as long as it keeps the ball within that dotted line, and can keep playing corners if it earns them.

Southampton executed its winning corner perfectly. The ball was passed out to Pilaro, who passed it over to Wesnofske, who then made a beautiful sweep shot into the goal. Earlier in the second half, Southampton scored on the identical corner play to tie the game at 2-2.

After the game, Wesnofske said she was determined to get the win, knowing that a victory would secure her team’s spot in the playoffs while a loss could have potentially dropped the team out of playoff contention.

“I just gave it everything because I’ve been on the team for five years and just really want to get to playoffs,” she said. “And I didn’t want it to go into overtime.”

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It's BS if they let Pierson in. Two years ago, the same committee didn't let the Southampton baseball team in the playoffs. The baseball team played against higher division opponents and finished with a .500 record. If they are allowed in its because the officials and Section XI have something against Southampton and which I think is atrocious.
By Y2KBUG (11), Southampton on Oct 24, 12 9:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
if you lose and dont make playoffs. then you HAVE LOST and dont make playoffs. never seemed to be an issue with the mixed division when they were winning and making playoffs. why an issue now?
By whambulance123 (9), Southampton on Oct 24, 12 10:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
By Jerry Eleyet (9), Southampton on Oct 25, 12 12:39 PM
You should change the headline...if they EARNED a spot in the playoffs, they would have been in the top 6 of their Division.
By remytwoton (23), southampton on Oct 26, 12 11:14 AM
Go get the Lady Whalers!!!
By skruel (23), Sag Harbor on Oct 26, 12 1:06 PM
By skruel (23), Sag Harbor on Oct 26, 12 1:06 PM
By orion4ever (13), sag harbor on Oct 26, 12 1:29 PM
By bmc (9), southampton on Oct 27, 12 1:03 PM
This just shows how ridiculous Section XI is about letting teams into the playoffs. Pierson had their shot to win the whole year and in the end didn't do what they needed to. They blew their opportunity.
By Y2KBUG (11), Southampton on Oct 27, 12 3:51 PM
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