Featured Story
08/22/19 5:55am
08/22/2019 5:55 AM

Caitlin Flynn thought the honor had passed her by and the nominating window had closed. It has been nine years since the former Endicott College soccer player graduated from the Massachusetts school, so if she hadn’t been selected for induction into the Endicott Athletics Hall of Fame by then, it was never going to happen. “I felt I was past the point of getting it,” she said.

Or so she thought. READ

11/12/13 5:00pm
11/12/2013 5:00 PM

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION PHOTO | McGann-Mercy alumna LauraLynne Duffy received National All-Academic Team honors at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn.

Former McGann-Mercy High School student LauraLynne Duffy was recently named to the 2013 women’s soccer National All-Academic Team in recognition for her outstanding performance on the soccer field and in the classroom.

Duffy, a midfielder from Cutchogue on the St. Joseph’s College (Brooklyn) women’s soccer team, was one of four player on her team to be honored. The announcement came from the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

A junior at St. Joseph’s, Duffy played in all 16 games for the Lady Bears and started 12. The Bears finished the season 5-11.

The USCAA National All-Academic Team members must be sophomore academic standing or higher and maintain a cumulative 3.5 grade point average to qualify.

Duffy is also a member of the swimming team at St. Joseph’s. She finished third in the 200-yard freestyle in the team’s meet against Lehman Friday. She was also fifth in the 100-yard freestyle was part of the third-place 200-yard freestyle team.

Duffy graduated in 2011 from Mercy, where she was also an active member of her school’s drama performances. She took home Best Lead Actress in the Teeny Awards as a senior, one of numerous awards she won during her high school career.

02/02/11 1:10pm
02/02/2011 1:10 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck senior center midfielder/forward Amber Mello signed a national letter of intent to play for Rider University (N.J.). Mattituck Athletic Director Greggory Wormuth, left, and Mattituck Coach Ed Barbante participated in the signing ceremony.

Amber Mello’s junior varsity soccer career was a brief, but eventful one. It was the team’s first scrimmage and Mello, who was an eighth-grader at the time, had pumped in two quick goals. That was all the new Mattituck High School varsity coach, Ed Barbante, needed to see. He quickly sent a player to fetch Mello and bring her over to the varsity field.

After only 20 minutes of JV action, Mello had been promoted to the varsity squad, where she has remained ever since.

“That cemented her as a varsity player from there on out,” Barbante said. “I had a special player right from the get-go.”

Now Rider University (N.J.) has a special player.

Wearing a Rider sweatshirt and a smile on her face, Mello, took the next step in her glorious soccer career. With the stroke of a pen, the three-time all-state central midfielder/forward, confirmed her college choice, signing a national letter of intent on Wednesday to play for the NCAA Division I school. Wednesday is National Signing Day, the first day a high school senior can sign a binding national letter of intent for a college.

In making Rider her college of choice, Mello may once again play alongside her older sister, Demi Mello, who is a sophomore midfielder for the Broncs.

“It’s very relieving and exciting, and I just can’t wait,” Amber Mello said after the signing ceremony in the Mattituck High School library. “All the hard work has been worth it.”

[trvideo url=http://vzaar.com/videos/645964]

Mello said she had settled on Rider at the beginning of the year and had not seriously considered any other colleges. She said her sister’s presence was an influence, but more factored into her decision, such as academics, making Rider a good fit for her. She said she wants to study business, and Rider has a good business school. Mello also likes the rural campus, which she said reminds her of Mattituck.

“It’s very exciting,” said Barbante, who participated in the signing ceremony along with Mattituck’s athletic director, Greggory Wormuth. “It just goes to show the commitment that these players have, on and off the field. Amber has been a tremendous player for me for the past five years. It’s a sad day in one way that we’re losing such a great player and a great person, but it’s an exciting day as well to see her move on to her future endeavors and hopefully have an even better college career.”

GARRET MEAD FILE PHOTO | Amber Mello, a three-time all-state player, will be reunited with her older sister, Demi Mello, at Rider University.

Amber Mello scored eight goals and assisted on nine others to help take the Tuckers (9-5-3) to the Suffolk County Class B final last season. She finished her varsity career with 49 goals and 48 assists.

Rider Coach Drayson Hounsome said having a player of Amber Mello’s talent is great for his program.

“I think she’s going to bring a lot of creativity, a lot of offensive options,” Hounsome, the 2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, told The Suffolk Times in a phone interview on Wednesday. “I’m hoping she’s going to score a bagful of goals. She makes people around her play better as well. It’s all there. We’re excited to get her in there and see how far she can take it at the Division I level.”

The prospect of reuniting the Mello sisters could be an intriguing one for Rider, which was a MAAC semifinalist last year, finishing with a 9-8-2 record. When the two played together for Mattituck, the more offensive Amber Mello usually played up top while Demi Mello patrolled the center midfield. Amber Mello said she envisions herself as an attacking midfielder for Rider.

Demi Mello, who was an all-state player herself for the Tuckers, played in all 19 of Rider’s games and started 18 of them as a freshman. Last season she was hampered by injuries, playing in 12 games with seven starts. Over the two seasons, she has a goal and an assist, with 16 shots taken.

Hounsome said he sees similarities in the Mello sisters in terms of their vision and fine passing ability. Talking about Amber Mello, the word that came to his mind was “balance.” He said: “When you see a player that’s got great balance, it just stands out. She can shoot with the ball, run with the ball. Everything looks comfortable.”

It’s the sort of stuff Barbante has seen time and time again over the past five years.

“With the ball on her foot, it was hard for anyone to take it away from her,” he said. “Her vision, she saw things that other players cannot see or don’t see, and with that said, that’s a huge part of the game that you can’t coach. You need the instincts, and she had the instincts.”

Division I players are a rare breed, representing the elite of the elite high school athletes.

“The truth of the matter is, very few reach this level, so Amber is to be congratulated and commended for all her dedication and passion to her sport and all that she put in to achieve this level,” Wormuth said. “She’s very confident and controlled on the field. She takes over the game just by using her skills, things that she’s worked on to get to this level. If she continues to carry that positive outlook on life, just the way she handles herself, she’s going to be successful at anything she does.”

For Barbante, the signing ceremony was a bittersweet occasion.

“She was a tremendous asset here,” he said. “I’m very excited for Amber. I’m looking forward to seeing her be successful in college, but it’s a sad day for Mattituck soccer as we lose another star player.”

[email protected]