The search is on.
Now that its season is officially over, Job No. 1 for the Greenport/Southold high school field hockey team is to find a new goalie.
The Clippers had been fortunate in recent years not to have to worry about that position with Katie Tuthill, Brandi Gonzalez before her and Alexis Reed before her stopping shots.
But with Tuthill, a senior, having completed her sixth varsity season, there is no heir apparent to stand in goal for the Clippers next year.
“It starts this Friday,” Lillis said last Wednesday of her search, which was to begin following the team’s 2-0 season-ending loss to Shoreham-Wading River on Friday.
The new goalie will have some big pads to fill. Tuthill turned in a 1.79 goals-against average with four shutouts this season. Playing every minute of every game, she totaled 109 saves.
So, where will Lillis look? Most likely to the junior high school team.
“Junior high has a large group of eighth-graders and they have some really good athletes on that team, so I think we’re going to try to go over and try to see who we can find to play with us next year,” she said. “It’s a great opening because no one’s there.”
No playoffs doesn’t mean no fun
The end result was an all-too familiar one for the Clippers: no playoffs.
But that didn’t mean they didn’t get anything out of the season. The team went 5-9, a definite improvement over its 2-12 mark in 2015. That record is a bit harsh. Five of the team’s losses this year have been by one goal.
“We did play hard and we challenged every team that we faced,” said Rebecca Lillis.
Still, the Clippers finished in 12th place among the 14 teams in Suffolk County Division III, well out of postseason contention. It is the fifth straight year they have fallen short of the playoffs.
“It’s disappointing but it’s also like, we’ve played hard and I’m proud of how far we’ve come as a team, so it is what it is,” said center forward Madison Tabor.
Midfielder Toni Esposito called it “a happy season. It was a fun season. Even though we didn’t make playoffs, I still got to play with the people that I love.”
Katie Tuthill gave props to the team’s new goalie coach, Kaitlin Daniels, for helping her with her goalkeeping this season.
“I had a great new coach that taught me a lot and really worked on my skills,” Tuthill said. “She made my season. I had had training a while ago but I completely lost it all so it was like my skills were all coming back.”
Photo caption: Greenport/Southold senior goalie Katie Tuthill is cheered on by her teammates prior to a game. The Clippers are in the market for a new goalie for 2017. (Credit: Bob Liepa, file)