By Gavin Menu
Celebration erupted across the soccer field at Mashashimuet Park on September 16 after a long drought and logjam of losses was snapped by the sweet taste of victory.
The Pierson girls soccer team, which went winless last year, tossed a rather large monkey off its back with a 2-0 win over Smithtown Christian, the team’s first victory since the 2013 season.
Sophomore Isabella Di Russa and senior captain Christen Heine scored goals to provide all the margin Pierson would need as freshman goalie Saneya Graves tended to the defensive side of the equation with five saves and a shutout.
The older crop of Lady Whalers, including senior captains Heine, Fallon O’Brien, Katherine Gordillo and Evan Johnson, can now put to rest the struggles from last year and instead work toward building a new legacy for Pierson girls soccer.
“I said to one of our seniors that for the ninth graders, it’s their first season on the team so they don’t know what it’s been like the last couple of years,” head coach Lisa Di Russa explained later. “For the seniors and the 11th graders it was almost like a release. We can make a new habit that includes winning.”
In a tough back-and-forth game against Southampton on Monday, the Lady Whalers (1-3) fell back into the losing column as Margarita Trujillo broke through for three first-half goals in a 3-2 road victory for the Lady Mariners.
Pierson freshman Paige Hoyt scored the first goal of the game off a rebound midway through the first half, a play that was followed by three quick goals from Southampton. The younger Di Russa scored on a beautifully placed penalty kick midway through the second half to trim the lead to 3-2, but it was not enough for the Lady Whalers, who were playing without regular starters Rachel Hoyt and Lottie Evans, who left the game after taking a shot to the face in the first half.
“There was not a lot of intensity in the first half,” said Di Russa. “When you allow a team to score three goals, it’s hard to come back. There were a lot of high moments, and some moments that I thought could have been better.”
The Lady Whalers will travel to play first-place Babylon on Friday, September 25, at 4:30 p.m. before returning home for a game on Monday, September 28, against Mercy, also at 4:30 p.m.