Hurricanes fall short of playoffs despite successful season

Canberg Calls The Shots

Westhampton Beach senior Madison Steedman smiles in celebration after teammate Jemma Spitaleri scored on a corner kick. Independent/Desirée Keegan

Cassidy Canberg can work both sides of a score. And the defense behind her can shut it down.

The senior center midfielder made two goals and assisted on two others in Westhampton Beach’s 7-0 shutout of visiting Amityville October 17.

“I knew we were going to really perform today,” Canberg said. “I was hoping we’d each play the best we could. It was an emotional game, but we’re happy with how it ended.”

She was emotional in her last high school game because despite her team winning out the week, and taking home W’s in six of its last seven games, the Hurricanes’ efforts were not enough to take them to the postseason. The top 10 teams made it, and Westhampton (9-6-1 overall, 8-6 in Division II) finished in the 13th place. East Islip (6-5-3) was the final
team to earn a spot, having more overall points as a result of the
power-ranking system.

Head coach Erika Habersaat was proud to see her team achieve its most successful season in her 10 years at the helm regardless of falling short of the playoffs.

“I’ve had a lot of these girls for four years and it’s a great class,” she said of her eight seniors, half of whom play on a back line that limited Amityville to only two shots on goal. “They’re leaders, they play well together, and they’ve been welcoming to new players. Losing them is a lot; it’s a big loss.”

The upperclassmen started the early scoring spurt, with Canberg sending home a rebounded save to open it, and McKinley Skala rocketing a shot from front and center off a corner kick.

“Cassidy has excellent vision, and McKinley has moved from a leading striker to the backbone of our midfield over the course of her career, leading the team for two of her four years on varsity,” Habersaat said. “With outstanding foot skills, they both have the ability to make plays.”

Senior defender Madison Steedman held Amityville at midfield the entire game. She said despite her team struggling to capitalize through much of the first half, it didn’t hurt to see her team take an early lead.

“When we start getting scored on early, we shut down,” she said of games earlier this season. “So to get out there early was great. We wanted to have good communication, good passing, and we took a ton of shots. We were looking to end our season on a high note, and we did.”

But of the six others who helped put points on the board, just two were seniors.

“There’s definitely some quality players,” Habersaat said. “We’ve had some playmakers that have been playing together for a couple of years, so we’ll have to rebuild a little bit, but I have some talent returning and there’s some junior varsity players that are looking good.”

Canberg said sharing in the final moments of her most spectacular season with her teammates was a special sendoff.

“At first it didn’t hit me what it meant to be a Hurricane, but this has been a huge part of my life and it’s made me who I am today,” Canberg said. “I remember starting the season I was a little worried, but I’m impressed with how we’ve come together, and this right here is what it’s all about. We want to leave a legacy, something for the players behind us to follow, and I’m excited for their future.”

desiree@indyeastend.com