By Gavin Menu
The Pierson girls field hockey team is loaded with young talent, but got a glimpse on Monday at Mashashimuet Park what a more experienced squad is capable of accomplishing in short bursts.
After scoring an early goal in the first half, the Miller Place Lady Panthers pounced on the Pierson defense and put the game away in the second half with two quick goals by Crystal and Arianna Esposito, which came less than a minute apart and took the sails out of the Lady Whalers’ attack.
“Playing a high caliber team such as Miller Place helps increase our level of play,” Pierson head coach Bethany Semlear said. “We are able to work on our game and see where we are as a team compared to some of the best teams on the island.”
Pierson goalie Charlotte Johnson, who was under siege for large parts of the game, made 13 saves, while Miller Place’s Ally Tarantino needed just four saves to preserve the shutout.
“I do not consider that game a defeat even though the score showed 3-0,” Semlear said. “We came out and worked well as a team and progressed in all aspects that we have been working on at practice.”
The Lady Whalers have been led this season by junior Ana Sherwood, who was named last week by Newsday as one of the top players on Long Island, and things were no different on Monday.
“It was awesome to see that I was named along with 25 other players across Long Island,” Sherwood said. “I wouldn’t have received this honor without the support of all of my teammates.”
Semlear, who played field hockey at the University of Connecticut and was, according to athletic director Eric Bramoff, the first Pierson athlete to play a Division I sport in college, said Sherwood’s spark is contagious.
“She has great stick skills and vision of the field,” Semlear said. “Outside
of playing, she is a role model to the team. She constantly encourages her teammates and helps them with skills and aspects of the game that they may not understand. That is one of the reasons as a team we chose her to represent us as a captain.”
Despite the loss to Miller Place, Pierson (4-2) as of Tuesday remained in fourth place in the competitive ranks of Division III with 118.470 power points. Miller Place (6-0) is in first, followed by Rocky Point and Comsewogue, which Pierson beat, 1-0, on September 23 on a goal by Cali Cafiero and an assist from Hollie Schleicher.
The Lady Whalers were scheduled to visit Harborfields on Wednesday, September 30, and will host Babylon on Monday at 4:30 p.m.