10/22/12 7:33pm
10/22/2012 7:33 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s Toni Esposito exults after scoring 1 minute 48 seconds into Monday’s game against Port Jefferson.


When two field hockey teams with one win between them, mired at the bottom of Suffolk County Division III, play each other in a game with no playoff implications whatsoever, one might think there would not be a lot riding on the outcome.

Think again.

Monday’s game had meaning for Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island, playing its final home game of the season and after 13 games still searching for its first win of the year. It was also Senior Day for the team’s three seniors as well as a Play for the Cure game, which raised money for breast cancer awareness.

The opponent was Port Jefferson, a team that had beaten the Clippers, 2-0, earlier in the season in a game that was stopped in the second half because of inclement weather. If Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island was to get a win this season, it would almost certainly have to come against Port Jefferson since the Clippers’ final game against undefeated Miller Place on Tuesday holds little promise for them.

So, the Clippers made the most of their opportunity.

Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island and its first-year head coach, Rebecca Lillis, had to wait a while for their first win of the season, but that didn’t make the team’s victory on Monday any less sweeter. The Clippers finally made it into the win column courtesy of a 3-1 triumph over Port Jefferson at Greenport High School. Toni Esposito scored two goals and Wendy Peterson assisted on the first two goals for the Clippers (1-13 overall and in Division III).

“We all wanted this win,” Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island right inner Madison Tabor said. “It was amazing. We worked so hard this season to get it. I’m so proud of all of us.”

The win was as meaningful to Peterson, as anyone else. During a halftime ceremony, Lillis presented flowers to the left wing as well as the team’s two other seniors, fullback Daniele Freeman and midfielder Julissa Corla.

“It means very much to us because we’ve worked hard this whole season, and just to get this one win is great,” said Peterson.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | One of Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s three seniors, Wendy Peterson, pushing the ball forward while being chased by Port Jefferson’s Caroline Biondo.

The three goals represented a season-high output for the Clippers, and only the second time they have scored more than once in a game. They have been shut out eight times this season.

Perhaps it was the pink tie-dye shirts that the Clippers wore for the Play for the Cure game that brought added zest to their play. The players and assistant coach Maria Troisi made the shirts last week.

Call it pink magic. Esposito opened the scoring 1 minute 48 seconds into the game when she converted a centering pass from Peterson.

Allegra Fills-Aime had tied the score at 1-1 for Port Jefferson (1-13, 1-12) 4:33 later.

Then Katie Tuthill’s goal gave the Clippers a 2-1 lead with 3:01 left in the first half.

Esposito all but sealed the result when, off a pass from Mairi Creedon, she scored an insurance goal — her third of the season — on a breakaway with 13:50 left in the game.

“I think it was one of our better games this season,” said Peterson, who played the entire game except for the final 1:54 as a result of a yellow card she was shown for not allowing five feet of space on a free hit. “We worked as a team, which is really good because we’ve been struggling with that all season, but we finally got it down.”

The final score was perhaps a bit unfair to Port Jefferson, which allowed the Clippers only four shots. The Royals earned 10 short corners, twice as many as the Clippers. And yet, something was missing.

“They moved to the ball, we didn’t,” said Port Jefferson coach Debbie Brown.

It hasn’t been a kind season to either Port Jefferson or Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island.

“It’s a struggle,” said Brown, who doesn’t have a single senior on her squad. “Every day is a struggle. We don’t have enough subs. We don’t have enough players, and when you’re losing, the girls by the end of the season kind of lose their motivation. They’ve had some great games that we lost. We’ve had some games we should have won. Today we didn’t play well and Greenport came out on fire.”

Some might call this a hangover season for the Clippers, who lost 11 players from last year’s team, which reached the playoffs for the first time since at least 1987.

“We lost a lot of people,” Esposito said. “We knew that we had to work hard this season to get better.”

The team’s progress over the course of the season was seen in Monday’s game.

“They’re beyond excited,” Lillis said. “I think it was really good for them. It picked up their spirits. It’s been a tough season for them, and they needed this.”

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09/13/12 7:43pm
09/13/2012 7:43 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island players lined up to hear a pregame message from one of the game officials.


Despite dominating possession and field position, the goal that the William Floyd field hockey team was looking for continued to evade the Colonials. If shots didn’t go wide of the mark or weren’t blocked by the maze of bodies and sticks clogging the way in front of the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island goal, they were saved by goalkeeper Brandi Gonzalez.

It went this way through 60 minutes of regulation time, and then another 10 minutes of overtime in which, by rule, the game was reduced to a seven-on-seven contest.

Finally, William Floyd found a way to put the ball in the cage, but not until the Suffolk County Division III game had gone to penalty strokes.

Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s plucky defense held off William Floyd for 70 scoreless minutes on Thursday before ultimately falling in penalty strokes in Mastic Beach. Christina Zurica, a senior defender, pushed her attempt to the low right side for the tie-breaking goal in William Floyd’s 2-1 triumph in penalty strokes.

“A rush came in to me,” Zurica said. “I wanted to dance, but I had to keep my composure and just walk away. I was very excited. Very excited.”

Zurica’s goal came in the fourth round of penalty strokes. The next two shooters, Madison Tabor of Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island and Caitlyn Palladino of William Floyd, saw their shots saved. Then, Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s captain, Sarah Tuthill, sent her shot wide to the right, ending it. The Colonials rejoiced.

The result was good tonic for William Floyd (1-3, 1-1 in Division III), which went winless and didn’t even score a goal two years ago before registering only two wins last season.

“They really needed this as a confidence-booster, knowing that they can win games,” said William Floyd coach Paula Malguarnera.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | William Floyd’s Theresa Ardolino, left, and Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s Victoria Hilton crossing paths and sticks.

It was Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island (0-2, 0-2) that struck first in penalty strokes, with Wendy Peterson flipping in her shot to the left of goalkeeper Kerri Brownell for a 1-0 lead. But Theresa Ardolino evened things up for William Floyd on the next attempt.

Brownell, who did not need to make a save during regulation time or overtime, stopped two shots during penalty strokes, as did her counterpart, Gonzalez. Gonzalez sticked aside the first penalty stroke by Jaye Kudreyko, and later made an almost casual kick save on Palladino’s attempt in the fifth round.

The Clippers didn’t pick up their first win for their new coach, Rebecca Lillis, but just reaching penalty strokes might have felt like a victory of sorts. William Floyd put the visiting defense under intense pressure. Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island pushed the ball across the midfield line only a handful of times, and earned only one short corner to 18 for the Colonials.

“I was really nervous, but I knew my defense had my back, so it was all good,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, who recorded six saves through regulation time and overtime, made one sparkling stop, but she also had some help from her friends. The defense was anchored by fullbacks Mairi Creedon and Daniele Freeman, with Tuthill playing defensively as a center midfielder.

The Clippers had only two substitutes available, which meant there was little rest for the weary.

“Seventy minutes, limited subs, a very young team,” Lillis said. “I’m very proud of them all.” She added: “They worked really hard today. They hung in there.”

One of William Floyd’s best scoring chances came early in the game when Courtney Murphy drove the ball dangerously across the face of the goalmouth without it being met by a William Floyd stick.

As time ticked off in the goalless game, the tension mounted.

“It gets frustrating,” said Zurica, one of William Floyd’s 12 seniors. “You just got to keep your head up, get a goal in. If we just had better passes, we wouldn’t need to have gone into [penalty strokes], but it’s fine with me.”

Gonzalez has some big shoes to fill, taking over the position that Alexis Reed played before moving on to play goal for Wilkes University (Penn.). But Gonzalez, who filled in for a couple of games last year while Reed was injured, seems at ease with the position and the situation. “I feel no pressure to follow after her,” Gonzalez said. “I’m just going to do my best.”

Building up from the defense first is Lillis’ plan. “We’re starting from scratch, and this is what we’re doing,” she said. “We’re going to build around Brandi. We have a very good goalkeeper.”

The Clippers are still awaiting their first goal of the season. They were shut out by Pierson/Bridgehampton, 6-0, in their season-opening game earlier in the week.

“We couldn’t get that final piece in, but we’re going to work on it,” Lillis said. “We have to connect our defense to our front line. Our front line is there, ready to score.”

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09/12/12 8:00am
09/12/2012 8:00 AM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Last year, in his seventh and final season as Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island’s coach, Todd Gulluscio guided the Clippers to their first playoff berth since at least 1987.

Even under ordinary circumstances, Rebecca Lillis would have a lot on her plate, taking over as the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island field hockey team’s new coach. But Lillis may have even bigger things to worry about than just a varsity team, like the program and the future of the sport that she loves.

Because of low numbers, Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island does not have a junior varsity team this season. Lillis said other schools have seen junior varsity teams fall by the wayside as well, and it concerns her.

“It’s a dying sport right now on the North Fork,” said Lillis, who has 15 players on her varsity team.

In an attempt to promote the sport, the Clippers will stage an alumni game for the second year in a row before their Oct. 6 home game against Pierson/Bridgehampton.

Lillis and her players have their work cut out for them on the field as well. The Clippers not only lost 11 players from last year’s team, but they will play a tougher schedule this season. “It’s going to be a hard season,” she said.

That is their reward for reaching the playoffs last year for the first time since at least 1987. Todd Gulluscio’s seventh season as the Clippers’ coach was his best. The team finished in sixth place in Suffolk County Division III. A 3-1 loss to Harborfields in a Suffolk Class B Tournament outbracket game put the finishing touch on a 10-7 season. Gulluscio, who remains the Greenport athletic director, finished with a 28-80 (.259) career record. Forty-one of those losses came in his first three years.

Lillis, a former goaltender for the Clippers before she graduated from Southold High School in 1999, coached the junior high school team for two years before running the junior varsity team for the past two years. And now she has a new challenge.

“I’m excited to be back,” she said. “Todd has been a great mentor … for me. I learned a lot from him.”

Sarah Tuthill, a sophomore center midfielder who scored the Clippers’ goal in the playoff game, remains one of the team’s strongest players. She was an all-league player last year. “She is a positive role model on the field and off the field,” said Lillis.

Tuthill returns along with five other starters from last year: senior left wing Wendy Peterson, eighth-grade right wing Toni Esposito, eighth-grade defender Madison Tabor and eighth-grade left midfielder Katie Tuthill, who is Sarah’s sister.

Brandi Gonzalez, a senior goalie, filled in for two games when Alexis Reed (Wilkes University in Pennsylvania) was injured. Kyla Smiley, a freshman with only one year of field hockey experience at the junior high level, shows a lot of potential and will play left inner, said Lillis. Victoria Hilton, a junior, is also expected to be on the front line.

Daniele Freeman, a senior defender, may find herself in the starting lineup along with junior defender Mairi Creedon and sophomore midfielder Liz Powe. Also new to the team are freshman midfielder Suzie Bunchuck, sophomore forward Stephanie Clark, freshman goalie Danielle Fauteux and senior forward Courtney Weber.

“I feel like I have the nicest group of girls,” Lillis said. “They embrace one another. They’re friendly with one another. They’re kind of the definition of sportsmanship in my book.”

Lillis said the front line looks good, but the defense has to be built up. Qualifying for the postseason last year was a big step, she said, but the graduation of 11 seniors took its toll.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I think my team is up for it,” she said. “They walked away with smiles on their faces last year from that playoff game. We’re going to give it our all.”

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11/01/11 5:49pm
11/01/2011 5:49 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck goaltender Alexis Reed stopped this shot, with Harborfields' Isabelle Wechsler (6) and Kaitlin Cassar (4) lurking in the vicinity.


Todd Gulluscio had said before the season that this would be his final run as the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island high school field hockey coach. Having said that, he hoped that the season would go on a little longer, but he surely couldn’t have complained about how long it lasted.

The record will show that Gulluscio’s seventh and final year as the Clippers’ coach was his best. Not only that, but it was the most successful season the team has enjoyed since at least 1987.

Greenport ended a long playoff drought this year. The best research Gulluscio could come up with showed that the Clippers had not reached the playoffs since at least 1987, if not earlier. They ended that dry spell this year, but then their season ended on Tuesday. Kasey Stolba scored a goal from a penalty stroke and assisted on another goal for second-seeded Harborfields, which handed No. 7 Greenport a 3-1 defeat in a Suffolk County Class B Tournament outbracket game.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Todd Gulluscio spoke to his players following his final game as Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island's coach.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad way for Gulluscio to go out.

“They gave me a gift, I’ll tell you that right now,” he said of his players. “I know they worked hard for me, and I’ll never question that as long as I live.”

The Clippers surely worked hard at Harborfields High School. The Tornadoes saw to that.

It was a memorable win for Harborfields, which will play at home against Rocky Point or Southampton in a county semifinal on Friday. Harborfields coach Lauren Desiderio said she wasn’t sure, but it might have been the first playoff win in team history. “It’s a big step,” she said.

And they took that big step with a lot of running. The Tornadoes (10-7) run like deer, and they put a lot of pressure on the Clippers (10-7) and their standout goaltender, Alexis Reed.

“We do do a lot of physical fitness to get them into shape, and we have a great bench that can come in and help out when they’re out of breath,” Desiderio said. “But, yes, they ran for 60 minutes today.”

It was Stolba’s well-taken penalty stroke 8 minutes 48 seconds into the second half that gave Harborfields a 2-1 lead.

Later, the Tornadoes exerted great pressure on the Greenport goal and it paid off. With Reed down on the ground, Harborfields kept plugging away until Isabelle Wechsler was able to knock the ball over the goal line for a 3-1 lead with 14:35 remaining. Gianna Santomauro assisted.

Reed, a senior who is one of the top goalies in the county, played well, making nine saves in her final game for the Clippers. She was sharp, especially early on when she made a brilliant leg save on a shot that Samantha Gray snapped off a pass from Santomauro. Reed even did well to block a ball that deflected off one of her defenders, Megan Mundy.

“She made some awesome saves,” Desiderio said. “She really kept her team in the game. It was a good challenge for us. It made our team work really hard.”

But Harborfields eventually broke the ice with 6:01 left in the first half. Wechsler took a penalty corner, pushing the ball to Stolba. The senior midfielder then fired a shot that Katie DeNicola redirected into the goal.

Harborfields continued to pepper shots at the Greenport goal, but Reed was able to deny the Tornadoes before Sarah Tuthill produced an equalizer for the Clippers at 4:00 of the second half. Kerri Hands slid the ball across the goalmouth to Tuthill, who slammed it in.

“I thought we were doing well, and then it was just like a lapse that got us down,” Reed said. “I thought we would bounce back, but it’s O.K. It’s a tough loss. … Somebody had to lose the game. It just stinks that it was us.”

Harborfields outshot the visitors, 16-6, and earned 15 penalty corners to Greenport’s two.

The Tornadoes were so focused on preparing for a penalty corner that they were awarded in the game’s dying moments that their coach had to tell them the contest was over. Then they jumped for joy and celebrated.

“It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Stolba said. “I’m so proud of every single one of my teammates.”

The Clippers experienced similar joy last week when Gulluscio called his players out of their classes and used a SMART Board to show them that they had bumped Comsewogue out of sixth place in the Division III final regular-season standings. The players knew what that meant: They were in the playoffs.

“All of us were just screaming,” Reed said. “The entire school probably heard our screams and some of us were crying.”

After the game, fans applauded the Greenport players as they walked off the field for the last time. Shortly after that, Gulluscio walked off the field for the last time.

Gulluscio, who will remain in his post as the Greenport athletic director, finished with a 28-80 (.259) career record. But 41 of those losses came in his first three years, and the Clippers have shown steady improvement in recent years.

“It’s been a heck of a seven years,” Gulluscio said, “and I’m very proud of where the program has gone.”

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10/20/11 6:54pm
10/20/2011 6:54 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Kerri Hands of Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island used her stick to bring down the ball.


Sarah Tuthill prefers playing on the left side of a field hockey field instead of the right side. She said she feels more comfortable there.

Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island may be more comfortable having the freshman play on the left side as well, especially if she produces like she did on Thursday.

Tuthill, playing left inner, scored the game’s only goal as the Clippers defeated Riverhead for the first time in at least seven years.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead junior Amanda Graziano followed through on a hit.

It has been that sort of a season for the Clippers, who are enjoying their best season since, well, who knows? Not even coach Todd Gulluscio could say the last time the Clippers have done as well as they are doing this year. They hold an 8-5 record, 7-5 in Suffolk County Division III, with three games remaining in the regular season. Not bad for a team that was seeded 10th before the season.

“I knew we were going to be good,” Tuthill said, “but I didn’t know we were going to be this good.”

Prior to the game, Greenport was in seventh place, and Riverhead was right behind it in the eighth slot. Both teams have hopes of scratching out a playoff berth, which goes to the top six teams in the division.

“We have a goal, and we want to reach that goal,” said Tuthill, who was a starting defender for the Clippers last year.

Greenport took a step in the right direction with its win at Riverhead High School. After Riverhead goaltender Allison Doscinski had made three straight saves, Tuthill was in place to knock a rebound into an unguarded goal 18 minutes 36 seconds into the game.
It was a well-deserved goal for the Clippers (8-5, 7-5), who controlled much of the game, boxing Riverhead (5-7, 5-6) in its own end. The Clippers outshot the Blue Waves, 11-2.

Tuthill nearly added a second goal later in the first half, but was denied by a Doscinski leg save on a first-time shot by Tuthill off a pass from Sarah Manfredi. It was one of eight saves by Doscinski.

Greenport goaltender Alexis Reed needed to make only two saves for the shutout. The most significant play she made on the day was not an official save, although it might have saved the day for the Clippers. In the final minutes of the first half, Riverhead had what might have been its best scoring chance. Melodee Riley was charging forward on the left side on a counterattack, but Reed charged far out of her goal to make a sliding tackle, kicking the ball away.

“That slide tackle right there was outstanding,” said Gulluscio, whose team lost to Riverhead earlier this season in penalty strokes.

While the Greenport defense of Erin Creedon, Emily King, Megan Mundy, Lauren Ficurilli and Manfredi did well to keep the pressure off Reed, the aggressive Clippers exerted plenty of pressure of their own. On the attack they had Victoria Gonzalez, Kerri Hands, Breanna Hallman, Toni Esposito and Tuthill giving the Blue Waves all they could handle.

Gulluscio, who had said this seventh season will mark his final year as the team’s coach, said his players have learned how to win. “All these kids have been doing a great job,” he said. “They’re working hard in practice. They’re fighting hard in games. They’re doing all the things they need to do to win, and the results are there.”

Both teams have three regular-season games remaining, but Riverhead faces a tougher road. All three of its upcoming opponents — Shoreham-Wading River, Pierson/Bridgehampton and Comsewogue — are seeded higher than the Blue Waves. Riverhead has finished in seventh place, one spot out of the playoffs, the past two years. But the Riverheaders haven’t given up hope that this year will be the year they make it.

“We’re always so close and yet too far away to get it,” Doscinski, one of the team’s eight seniors, said. “We have so many girls who have great abilities, and when you put all of them together, it’s just unbelievable. They’re all awesome. It’s just all those skills need to come together and time’s getting short.”

Riverhead coach Cheryl Walsh is no fan of the power-rating system that determines the standings in Suffolk County field hockey, but she understands full well how it works.

“Every year it’s a fight. This year is no different,” she said. “You have to beat the people who are obviously seeded below you, and then you have to upset someone who’s ahead of you. We’re not in the playoffs unless we beat someone ahead of us.”

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09/12/11 11:08pm
09/12/2011 11:08 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Kerri Hands (white jersey) is one of the players Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island Coach Todd Gulluscio hopes will bring scoring punch to the forward line.

The 2011 field hockey season will be Todd Gulluscio’s farewell. He hopes it will be a grand one, and if grand is too much, then the playoffs would do just fine.

Gulluscio said he will step down as coach of the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island Clippers after this, his seventh year in charge, in order to focus on other duties. He is also the Greenport athletic director.

“With all the other responsibilities, it’s time,” he said. “We don’t want to make too much out of it. I love it and enjoyed it.”

Gulluscio takes an 18-73 (.198) career record into this season, but 41 of those losses came in his first three years. The Clippers won their first game in four years in 2007, Gulluscio’s third year at the helm, snapping a skid that covered at least 39 games.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Sarah Manfredi is one of the seniors that Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island is counting on.

But the Clippers have been more competitive in recent years, including last year when they went 6-10. They head into this season as the No. 10 seed among 12 teams in Suffolk County Division III.

Gulluscio cannot say when was the last time the Clippers made it into the playoffs. “I just know it’s been long enough for me,” he said.

The Clippers hope to end the wait this year. They have several award-winning players to work with, starting in goal with Alexis Reed, a two-time all-division player who was rated as the division’s top goaltender last year. She had an .86 save percentage and all six of the Clippers’ wins came on shutouts that she posted. She was selected as Greenport High School’s female athlete of the year by The Suffolk Times in June.

“She’s just her normal self,” Gulluscio said, “stopping everything.”

Erin Creedon, a senior, will be among the defenders playing in front of Reed. She was an all-division player, as were senior midfielders Lauren Ficurilli and Emily King.

Another senior, Megan Mundy, was a midfield regular last year.

Jackie Esposito, Brieanna Hallmann, Kerri Hands, Sarah Manfredi and Sarah Tuthill will try to bring scoring punch to the forward line. Those five are all seniors except for Tuthill, who started every game last year as an eighth-grader.

Tuthill has been moved from defense to offense. “I’m kind of expecting big things from her,” Gulluscio said. “She has shown that she can score the ball.”

Midfielder/forward Erica Bufkins, midfielder/forward Victoria Gonzalez and right wing Wendy Peterson have been brought up from the junior varsity team. Gulluscio said Peterson will start.

A couple of positions have not been settled yet, and Gulluscio said he will put a couple of more players on the roster; he just wasn’t sure early this week who they will be.

“The team looks good,” said Gulluscio, who is a Shelter Island resident, as are Hallmann and Mundy. “They’ve worked hard in practice. I would say over the years, at least in my time, it’s the best preseason that we’ve had. The majority of them are seniors, so they know what’s needed and what’s expected of them.”

Gulluscio said scoring is his main concern. “We don’t have that one high-powered scorer,” he said. “There were games last year where we went to overtime, double overtime, just because of a lack of scoring. They have the potential to do it. We just have to figure out a way to make it happen.”

A playoff berth would be a fine send-off for Gulluscio, who has all but ruled out a return for next year. He said, “I would say 99.9 percent, this is it.”

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08/30/11 2:47pm
08/30/2011 2:47 PM

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island goaltender Alexis Reed has drawn interest from a number of colleges.

Like a rising shot, Alexis Reed’s field hockey career has been on a continual incline ever since she took up the sport as a sophomore.

Erin Creedon, a senior defenseman who joined the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island Clippers that same year, saw firsthand the dramatic progress that Reed, a converted soccer goalkeeper, made. Creedon said her first impression from seeing Reed play goal for the Clippers was: “Wow! She’s really good. She’s a natural.” Then, Creedon said, “We came back the next year, and she had been playing travel [ball], and I was just like: ‘Whoa! She’s even better!’ She stopped, in a scrimmage against Shoreham-Wading River, maybe like 20 shots in a period of like a minute. They were shooting, and she just fought them off.”

This past winter, Creedon played with Reed in an indoor league. “She was doing split saves, some crazy dives,” Creedon said, “so, I think she even got better over the winter.”

It has been a busy summer for Reed, who played in showcases and tournaments. She was in goal for East End Field Hockey, which finished 25th out of 32 teams in the National Club Championships in Virginia in late July.

“There were straight shots, flicks, reverses,” Reed said. “There was every single shot you could think of, and hard hockey and aggressive players, and it was the best hockey I probably ever played.”

It was great preparation for Reed’s senior season with the Clippers, who started preseason practice on Monday at Greenport High School.

“One day she picks it up and the next thing I know she’s on traveling teams,” Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island Coach Todd Gulluscio said. “I’ve seen her play at Sacred Heart in tournaments. She’s been all over the country doing this thing. She has a gift.”

Reed was an all-division goalie her first two seasons. Last year she was rated as the top goalie in Suffolk County Division III. She had an .86 save percentage and all six of the Clippers’ wins came on shutouts that she posted. In June she was selected as Greenport High School’s female athlete of the year by The Suffolk Times.

“It’s been a progression in development every day, every single day since she started out here; every day is better,” Gulluscio said. “There’s not a goalie in any division that I would trade for her.”

Although he is modest about it, Gulluscio acknowledged that he was the one who saw a potential field hockey goalie in Reed when she was still a soccer goalie. Reed hasn’t let him or the Clippers down since, playing with tenacity and anchoring a defense that keeps the goal-scoring-challenged Clippers in games.

“You’re happy that’s working for you instead of somebody else,” Gulluscio said. “It gives you a boost of confidence, coaches and players. It gives you a boost of confidence knowing that, hey, look, chances are that we have the best goalie on the field today, so if we play our game and do all the right things, we should come out with a victory, but that’s not an excuse to let her do all the work, either.”

Reed will play behind a defense that includes the likes of Sarah Manfredi, Lauren Ficurilli, Emily King, Megan Mundy, Kerri Hands and Sarah Tuthill.

Being a goalie is not easy, facing shots that reach 90 mile per hour with a ball that is as hard as a rock. It’s not uncommon for Reed to walk away from the field at the end of the day with welts and bruises on her body. “You have to be a little bit crazy,” she said.

But she loves it. Why?

The rush of a big save.

“The adrenaline,” she said. “You can’t find it anywhere else.”

Most of the games Reed plays in are on grass, but she prefers AstroTurf, for two reasons: 1. She is allergic to bees; and 2. It’s an easier playing surface to dive on. Reed loves to dive.

“When AstroTurf is wet, it’s like diving on water,” she said.

Field hockey appears to be in Reed’s future, too. She wants to play in college, and has drawn interest from a number of colleges, including Pennsylvania, Sacred Heart, Drexel and C.W. Post.

Before then, though, she has one more high school season ahead of her. Like many of her teammates, Reed was enthusiastic about the first practice and the promise of a new season.

“Everything’s new and exciting,” she said. “It’s like Christmas morning where you’re waking up and going downstairs early.”

Gulluscio has many details to attend to and undoubtedly has concerns, such as where the goals will come from, but goaltender is one position he doesn’t have to worry about, thanks to Reed. “She’s ready to lead the team,” he said. “She’s ready to go. She’s ready to win.”

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