Field hockey team shuts out Port Jeff

Whalers Claim County Crown

Pierson’s Paige Schaefer, second from left, hoists up the Suffolk County Class C championship plaque with her co-captains after edging out Port Jefferson 1-0 October 30. Independent/Desirée Keegan

Pierson High School’s field hockey victory didn’t surprise many on October 30, but a last-minute attempt to tie by Port Jefferson did startle senior Charlotte Johnson. The All-Division goalkeeper was up to task though, having never lost a Suffolk County Class C final match in her career. She made her third and final save for a 1-0 shutout of Port Jefferson at Patchogue-Medford High School to secure the title.

“We rely on her, no doubt about it,” head coach Kim Hannigan said of Johnson. “You saw those last couple of saves — she comes through when she’s needed; she steps up for the occasion.”

Pierson (5-9) took the lead on junior Mahlia Hemby’s goal off a corner, one of 19 in the game, with 8:17 left in the first half. The Whalers controlled the ball through most of the match until Port Jefferson (7-8) tried to rally late.

“I was watching my opponent racing toward me, trying to get the ball back, and I just pushed it to the cage hoping it would go in,” Hemby said. “Thankfully it went through the defender’s legs and rolled in.”

Pierson’s field hockey team celebrates its fourth-straight Suffolk County Class C championship win with the Whalers’ harpoon. Independent/Desirée Keegan

While the Whalers are less experienced than in years past, boasting seven freshmen and three eighth-graders on a roster of 18, Hemby said the goal helped.

“It got our heads in the game,” she said. “We were looking to dominate from whistle to whistle, controlling the speed and the tempo and keeping the ball on their side, and until those last few minutes we did that.”

Senior co-captain Paige Schaefer said she, like Johnson, is excited to keep their school’s tradition alive.

“We kept the hustle up, realized what we were doing wrong and fixed it, and I’m proud of these girls,” the center midfielder said. “Especially being a younger team, it’s nice to see this trickling down to the younger girls.”

Pierson plays Carle Place in the Long Island championship November 3 at Berner Middle School in Massapequa. The Whalers are looking to capture the crown for the first time since 2010.

desiree@indyeastend.com