Sometimes a lot of good can come out of something bad.
That’s what the Southold/Greenport high school girls soccer team wants to prove this season.
With only seconds remaining in their 2015 League VII regular-season finale and so close from clinching a berth in the Suffolk County Class B Tournament, the Clippers were stung when Bishop McGann-Mercy connected for the winning goal in a 1-0 result.
The loss kept the Clippers (6-8-1) out of the playoffs, which will be a major motivation this season (teams must have at least a .500 league record to secure a postseason spot, so a draw would have sufficed).
“It was heartbreaking,” senior midfielder/striker Emily Perry said. “It’s motivating us this year to make the playoffs and to push even harder.”
Junior goalkeeper Hayley Brigham agreed. “Everybody remembers that shot going in and how it felt just to be so close,” she said. “I think that’s the driving force behind the team this year. We want to make playoffs.”
Brigham took responsibility for the goal scored by Madeleine Joinnides with eight seconds left in regulation to boost Mercy (7-6-1).
“It was probably one of the hardest things I ever experienced in my sporting career,” she said. “I didn’t want my team to feel the blame. I wanted to take most of it away because they played a great game. Really, there was nothing we could do about that shot. It was off a hand ball. I think it made us stronger as a team to go through such a hard loss. Every single loss you have makes you a better player.”
Perry is the squad’s lone senior. She said that reaching the playoffs in her final season “would be ideal.”
“I’m just proud of this team for everything they have accomplished,” she added. “It would be great to get a win and playoffs and all that. We’re trying our best and hopefully we’ll succeed.”
Perry’s teammates were just as optimistic.
“I am so excited,” junior defender Annie Lincoln said. “I think this season is going to be one for the books, really. We have a lot of returning girls, like our juniors. We’re trying to dedicate this season to our only senior, who has been here since eighth grade. We really want to do good for her.”
Some of the younger players stepped up, including sophomore Jill Golden, who has played varsity since she was in middle school.
Coach Vaughn Locascio said Monday morning’s practice session was “probably one of the best practices I’ve ever seen her have. She led the group in our Cooper run. In the drills she was taking more of a leadership role. She was stepping up today. She was saying, ‘All right, girls let’s go. Call for the ball.’ It was a different Jill than I’ve seen in the past and I’m really happy to see that.”
Locascio was heartened by what he saw from the 23 girls who attended the first two practice sessions.
“The first day was great,” he said. “When I drove in this morning the girls were here at 7:45. They were laughing, greeting each other with hugs. They couldn’t wait to get going; just in really good spirits.”
If the first day of training was any indication, the Clippers will be a close team this season. They want to be a playoff team as well.
Photo caption: Southold/Greenport goalkeeper Hayley Brigham said losing to Bishop McGann-Mercy on a goal with eight seconds to go, costing the Clippers a playoff berth, was one of the toughest things she has experienced in sports. (Credit: Garret Meade)