You can’t win if you don’t score. That’s it in a nutshell for the Greenport/Southold field hockey team.
Jada Clark has done something none of her teammates have done this season — score a goal.
Through seven winless games, the freshman center forward has the Porters’ only goal (assisted by Marley Medina in a 2-1 loss to Babylon on Sept. 14). All of Greenport’s other losses have been by one or two goals, with the exception of a 3-0 loss to Southampton. Thus the 0-7 overall and division record that leaves Greenport mired at the bottom of the Suffolk County Division II standings.
“It’s just our inability to capitalize on our scoring opportunities,” Greenport coach Kaitlin Daniels said. “We’re there. We’re competitive.”
Yet another 2-0 loss reared its ugly head Tuesday when West Babylon prevailed on second-half goals by Emily Marino and Isabella Bustamante at Greenport High School. The last game of the first half of Greenport’s schedule marked the sixth time the Porters have been shut out this season.
“Frustrating, very frustrating because I want it so bad, just to get a win,” said Greenport goalkeeper Ella Mazzaferro, who made six saves.
Greenport enjoyed the better possession and territorial advantage in the first half, yet wasn’t able to translate that into dangerous scoring chances. The Porters were deflated after West Babylon scored and, although they pressed in the last 15 minutes, were unable to put one past goalkeeper Jade Salas (five saves).
“I think that’s the most hardest part for us, to get that goal,” Greenport defender Andrea Mena-Ochoa said. “Our girls, they really work hard. They try their best on the field. Actually, we’re pretty good. We only lose by two [goals] or one [goal]. It’s not bad. It’s just, our team, the only piece that we’re missing is to score.”
The defense has received good grades for its efforts. Ava Torres, Emma Quarty, Irene Papamichael, Magda Rodriguez and Mena-Ochoa played in front of Mazzaferro, who had little to do in the first half. “They have been really solid all season,” said Daniels.
“Most of our games, it starts off when we’re just dominating, and then it kind of dies off from there,” observed Mazzaferro, who said she sings country music songs in goal to stay motivated.
Marino scored from the left side 2 minutes and 39 seconds into the second half. Bustamante then doubled the lead, knocking in the rebound of a Mazzaferro save with 16:02 left to play.
Greenport then applied pressure, but once again had nothing to show for it but another mark in the “L” column.
If Greenport forward Lane Dominy was hoping for a win as a 15th birthday present, it didn’t happen.
Asked if her heart sank after West Babylon (5-2, 4-2) scored the two goals, Clark answered: “Not really. I thought that we were going to be able to come back because we can. It’s just our team has to think that we can come back.”
Evidence of Greenport’s ability to compete was seen in the penalty corners. The Porters collected 13 of them to West Babylon’s three.
How does Daniels explain the offense’s struggles?
“It’s chemistry, it’s playing together,” she said. “Our center forward is a freshman. We really have a mixed offense [that’s] playing together for the first time, so they need to have that chemistry and that trust. Field hockey is not a sport with set plays. It’s a lot about picking your head up, looking and going to the open space, which is a very hard concept to teach and learn.”
Greenport hasn’t had a winning season since 2011, when it reached the playoffs for the first time since at least 1987. Over the past eight years, the team has gone 22-85.
That history aside, Mazzaferro said it’s important for the Porters to maintain a positive mindset. “I think that it’s really important just to remember that we can win,” she said. “It’s not set in stone that we’re going to lose.”
Clark has good vibes for the team’s next game, Thursday at Babylon.
“If we win our next game, it would push us for the rest of the season,” she said. “I believe we can win our next game. We just really have to work together.”
Photo caption: Greenport/Southold defender Ava Torres (1) and goalkeeper Ella Mazzaferro were all smiles coming out of a first-half timeout. (Credit: Bob Liepa)