The drought ended, the dam burst and a torrent of goals flooded in.
Who would have thought?
Perhaps not even the players on the Greenport/Southold high school field hockey team themselves could have foreseen the offensive output they registered against Hampton Bays on Thursday.
Prior to the game, the Porters had been shut out seven times, managing only six goals and allowing 23 in nine games. Perhaps they were just saving them for Senior Day.
“We wanted to make the Senior Night special,” said junior forward Jules Atkins.
That it was.
Before honoring their seven seniors in a postgame ceremony, the Porters produced a notable first. Early in the game Brittany Walker fired a shot that Elif Kalyoncu saved. It was the first shot on goal recorded by Greenport after three consecutive halves of failing to do so.
Then Walker, off an assist from Ale Cardi, slammed a shot into an open goal with Kalyoncu caught out of position. It was Greenport’s first goal in three games.
The Porters were off and running. When it was all over, they were happy 6-0 winners.
Where did all that offense come from?
“I really think that we were just all in the mindset today,” senior midfielder Madison Hilton said. “Before the game we were singing, we were dancing. We just had such a happy vibe. We were loose and we were ready.”
Leading the offensive surge was Atkins with two goals and one assist. Walker had a goal and two assists. Three seniors scored: Ashley Payne, Liz Clark and Lena Wolf.
“I think we really just found our groove and our passes were on today,” said Walker. She added, “We were all looking for each other and we found each other and the goals started to go in.”
In field hockey, goals equate to happiness. They bring great therapeutic value.
“It was good to have that happiness flow in,” said Hilton, who picked up an assist.
Goal scoring isn’t easy. It has been an issue for the Porters (3-7, 3-7 Suffolk County Division II) throughout the season. So coach Kaitlin Daniels could not have expected her team to double its goal production for the season in just one game.
“I was absolutely surprised, six goals,” she said. “Goal scoring is something we continue to work on developing, but I saw a tenacity today that I hadn’t necessarily seen in the past. It was really refreshing.”
Kalyoncu may have been the busiest player on the field. She made 14 saves for Hampton Bays (0-11, 0-10). Meanwhile, the Baymen put only one shot on goal, which Ella Mazzaferro saved.
“It wasn’t the goals that made us happy,” Hilton said. “It was us passing around and doing what we do best — being a team. Goals don’t matter as much as how we play.”
Daniels gave her team high marks for that. “I think we just really came together and played as a team,” she said. “Our strategies were working. We were passing. We were communicating. We were having fun.”
Perhaps the hype and hoopla surrounding Senior Day had something to do with this resurgence. Following the game, spectators and parents crossed the field for the senior ceremony that included seniors Isabelle Torres and Zoe Medina. Laughs and tears were shared as the seniors received flowers and verbal tributes from teammates.
Of course, those six goals added to the festivity of the occasion.
“It was a great day to have them,” said Walker, a junior. “We really wanted to have a good game for them and make sure that we could do everything we can so they could feel appreciated because they’ve done so much for our team.”
Top photo caption: After scoring Greenport/Southold’s first goal, Brittany Walker taps sticks with Jules Atkins (21) while teammate Sophia Wachtel watches. (Credit: Bob Liepa)