By Gavin Menu
It was the only second game of the season for both the East Hampton and Pierson field hockey teams on Friday, September 9, so one could argue it was “just another game” with little consequence on the long season ahead.
Making that argument, however, would fail to recognize the connection that exists between two teams of players who share the same uniform in other sports and travel in many of the same circles socially. To diminish the meeting would also overlook who the teams’ head coaches happen to be, namely Bethany Semlear and Robyn (Bramoff) Mott, two of the greatest female athletes ever to come out of Pierson.
“Playing against her does mean more,” said Semlear, whose Pierson team scored a 2-1 victory on goals by senior stars Ana Sherwood and Cali Cafiero. “It gives the game that fun camaraderie.”
If there was fun being had you wouldn’t have noticed from the fiercely competitive nature of the game itself. Sherwood struck early with a breakaway goal at the 21:40 mark of the first half, but it was East Hampton that controlled much of the offensive action. Pierson goalie Charlotte Johnson, who is only a sophomore, played what Semlear called “a spectacular game.” She was under siege for much of the afternoon and made seven saves, allowing just a single goal to East Hampton’s Vanessa Hammond with 48 seconds remaining.
Thankfully for the Lady Whalers, Cafiero had broken free for a goal less than one minute earlier on an assist from Autumn Street. It was the fifth goal of the season for Cafiero, who scored four times in a 5-0 opening day win for the Lady Whalers on September 7.
Semlear said the speed of Friday’s game against East Hampton is what the Lady Whalers will have to get used to as they move through a grueling conference schedule.
“The keys to success were endurance and speed,” said the coach, who graduated from Pierson in 2007 and went on to play Division I field hockey at the University of Connecticut. “The ball moves so much faster on turf then grass. It really is a much better game on turf and the girls are able to use skills that do not work on grass.”
The Lady Whalers were scheduled to face powerhouse Rocky Point at home on Tuesday and will travel to Shoreham Wading River for a game on Thursday, September 15, at 4:30 p.m. A non-league meeting with Garden City, traditionally one of the top teams in Nassau County, is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, at 9:30 p.m. on the turf field at Southampton High School.
Pierson will play East Hampton again for homecoming at Mashashimuet Park on October 8.