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Field Hockey: Porters break goal drought on emotional Senior Day

Emotions are funny things. One can’t always predict how he or she is going to feel about something until it happens. Sometimes a person thinks those emotions can be controlled and then the emotions come flooding through.

Sarahi Tzun Rodriguez, a senior center back for the Greenport/Southold field hockey team, found herself in that situation during her team’s pregame Senior Day ceremony on Friday at Southold High School. The team’s six seniors — including Jada Clark, Ava Cocheo, Melizza Mena Ochoa, Maya Reilly and Karly Ward — had received flowers and gifts and listened to nice things being said about them. With family members in attendance, it eventually got to Rodriguez.

“It was very emotional,” she said. “It was very surreal because I was so fixed. Like my mindset was on, ‘I’m not gonna cry, I’m not gonna cry,’ and then I saw the senior posters and, sorry, I’m getting a little emotional.”

The heart-tugging ceremony even got to coach Alexis Reed. “It was tough. I myself was like, ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry.’ ” she said, adding: “Your eyes just get all welled up. It’s not easy.”

“This group is really close-knit and they are really supportive of one another, so it’s really sad to watch them go. I’m so happy for them moving on to their next step in life, but this is a really special group and I’ve watched them basically grow up since they’re playing like, you know, eighth grade. I’ve been watching them since they were that young and just to see their skills develop and their confidence in themselves because that’s like, honestly, what I hope that they take away from this whole thing is, you know, being a good teammate, you know, having confidence in themselves and just being able to see that progression with them has been awesome. And I’m just so proud of them.”

How fitting it was then that a senior, Cocheo, snapped an agonizing goalless streak that extended over six games. The previous Greenport goal came from Clark in a 5-1 loss at Rocky Point Sept. 21.

Despite playing what Reed called her team’s best game of the season, Greenport lost, 2-1, in their final home regular-season game to Comsewogue. Genavive Brunjes slammed in Alyssa Deacy’s centering pass for the game-winning goal with 9 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third quarter. The game was halted after three quarters because of darkness.

Scoring has been an issue for Greenport (1-11, 1-11 Suffolk County Division II). The Porters have managed only five goals in 12 games, two of those coming in a 2-0 season-opening win over Babylon.

Cocheo put an end to the scoring drought with 3:46 left in the second quarter. Clark drove a pass to Cocheo by the top of the circle. Cocheo flicked a shot that she said deflected off a Comsewogue stick and into the goal.

Greenport/Southold’s Lindsey Bednoski, right, battles for the ball with Comsewogue’s Addison Kalberer. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

“I wanted so many more goals so badly,” Cocheo said. “I was trying so hard.”

But scoring isn’t easy. There are lots of bodies and sticks in front of the goal.

Just 19 seconds before halftime, Comsewogue (3-9, 3-9) tied it on a Madeline Fritz tally, assisted by Lindsay Radmann. Reed said Greenport goalie Dylan Reilly was screened on the play. “That’s gonna happen,” the coach said.

In the third quarter, Cocheo nearly put Greenport ahead again on a shot that didn’t miss by much, just veering left of the mark.

“We’re good at getting the ball down the field, it’s just the scoring part,” Rodriguez said. “We get a little maybe overhappy and really excited and then our emotions get the better of us, but I’m really proud of the way that we all played today. It really shows that we are a great team when we put her mind and effort to it.”

Greenport has two road games remaining on its schedule: Monday at Pierson/Bridgehampton and Wednesday night at Southampton.

“This is probably, honestly, one of the most positive group of young ladies I’ve ever coached,” Reed said. “They just don’t let things get them down — in sports and in real life. The strength that they have at this age is really admirable.”

Reed said assistant coach Madison Tabor and herself “are just extremely proud of them because we started and finished hard. We didn’t stop. They were relentless. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

And sometimes it’s hard to fight back those tears.