12/04/12 1:55pm
12/04/2012 1:55 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Todd Gulluscio, a former field hockey coach in Greenport, resigned as the school’s athletic director to become Sag Harbor’s new athletic director.

As a Shelter Island resident, Todd Gulluscio’s normal workday routine has been to wake up in the morning and take a ferry to work. With his new job, Gulluscio will continue to do that, the only difference being that for now on, he will be taking a different ferry in the opposite direction.

Gulluscio submitted a letter of resignation as Greenport’s athletic director on Tuesday morning after having been appointed the Sag Harbor School District’s new athletic director the night before at a school board meeting.

Gulluscio called his new job “a great opportunity for me and my family.” He said: “I thought it was the best decision at this point in my career, and for my family. I loved Greenport and the people. Greenport will always hold a close place in my heart. It was a decision that wasn’t made lightly. … I feel like not only am I a good fit for their district, but I feel that the district is a good fit for me.”

Gulluscio, 35, became Greenport’s athletic director in August of 2010, succeeding long-time athletic director Robbie Costantini, who retired. He coached varsity field hockey for seven of those years.

Gulliuscio said he learned a lot in his time in Greenport.

“I walked in there seven and a half years ago, a 20-something-old phys ed teacher,” he said. “I’m walking away a much better person, a much better professional. I’ve been blessed to work with great people, and if it weren’t for those great people, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Gulluscio, who will begin his new job on Jan. 2, said it will feel strange not being associated with Greenport any longer. He said his son Tyler, a fourth-grader, wondered aloud what school their family should root for now at sporting events.

“You’ve been somewhere seven and half years, you have attachments,” Gulluscio said. “I’ll always root for Greenport, just maybe not when they’re playing Sag Harbor.”

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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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