Pierson Field Hockey Starts The Season Off Strong

Lady Whaler Emma Racelles shoots the ball. RON ESPOSITO

The Pierson field hockey team is off to a good start in Division II action, going 2-0 with shutout wins in its first two games.

The Lady Whalers beat Southold/Greenport, 2-0, in the season opener in Sag Harbor on September 10, and earned a 4-0 victory over Hampton Bays two days later at Southampton High School; the field at Pierson High School was too wet to be played on, so the game was moved to Southampton. The wins had Pierson sitting in fifth place out of 14 teams in the division. Hampton Bays (1-3) and Southold (0-4) sat in the bottom two spots, respectively.

Pierson scored all of its goals in the first half against Southold, with Madison Stuckart striking first off an assist from Mahlia Hemby before Meredith Spolarich scored off a corner. Goalie Maeve O’Donoghue made three saves for the shutout. Head coach Nina Hemby said that even though her team didn’t put any more goals in during the second half, she was happy with the way the players passed the ball.

The Lady Whalers showed more finishing power on offense in the win over Hampton Bays. Mahlia Hemby had a goal and an assist, while Tahnie Sullivan, Caroline Canavan, and Stephanie Ilagorre each scored. Joyce Arbia added an assist, and O’Donoghue made eight saves for the shutout.

“It was a very exciting game for us because everything we have been working toward starting coming together,” Coach Hemby said. “We were passing, communicating and looking like the strong team we are striving to be. Our chemistry was great, we worked hard and came out of the game looking and feeling good.”

Southold and Hampton Bays are not traditionally strong teams, but Pierson was preparing to face a bump up in terms of the level of competition after those first two contests. The Lady Whalers visited East Hampton on Tuesday before hosting division leader Bayport/Blue Point (3-1) on Thursday, September 19, at 4:30 p.m. and hosting fourth-place Shoreham/Wading River (1-2) this Saturday at noon.

“I’m expecting the next few games to be challenging,” Coach Hemby said. “But if the girls can play field hockey the way Pierson plays, we should be able to do well and push through.”