Mighty Ward Melville walked into Blue Devil Stadium with a 15-0 record on Wednesday afternoon, but the Huntington High School girls’ lacrosse squad gave Suffolk’s first place team all it could handle, nearly toppling the Patriots before falling, 13-10.
It was Senior Day for Huntington and the Blue Devils played with plenty of emotion. The teams traded goals throughout the game. Despite its powerful lineup, Ward Melville was never able to pull away. The Patriots led at halftime, 5-3 and then had to hold on late in the second half.
Freshman Abby Maichin (55 goals; 8 assists) scored five goals and junior Isabella Piccola (24g; 20a) found the back of the cage four times to pace the Blue Devils. Freshman Marissa Stafford (8g; 1a) also scored in the game. Juniors Emma Greenhill (30g; 12a) and Amber Stieve (8g; 9a) and senior Ryann Gaffney (32g; 17a) tallied two assists each.
Huntington’s goalies stopped nine blistering shots with freshman Maya Santa-Maria recording seven saves and junior Megan Bacik stopping a pair. Ward Melville goalie Samantha Tarpey notched six saves.
Senior Day Festivities
The Blue Devils nearly toppled undefeated Ward Melville. (Mike Connell photo.)
Once the action on the field wrapped up, the Blue Devils gathered around seniors Ally Arleo, Liz Berejka, Ryann Gaffney, Noelle Harvey, Shannon Maloney, Erin Morrisroe, Emma Petrizzi and Camille Stafford. Parents were invited down to the turf and head coach Kim Gilroy waxed poetic about each player as assistant coaches Linda Costello-Roth and Liz Vogelsang distributed bouquets of flowers and helped out.
“Playing lacrosse for Huntington has only been a blessing,” said Harvey, who has helped anchor the defense this spring. “I love representing my town and my school. It is such an honor. This past season has been one of the best teams I’ve been a part of. I am so thankful for each and every one of my teammates and I’m confident the team I’m leaving behind has only great things to come. They will make the Huntington community proud. I hope I have!”
The seniors and their parents walked to midfield between underclassmen standing in parallel lines. Blue and white balloons were tied to the railing across the top of the grandstand. Individual posters filled with photos commemorating the career of each senior were affixed to the façade of the bleachers.
“Playing for Huntington has been an amazing experience,” said Stafford, a talented two-way player. “The memories and friendships I have made are forever. It has given me an amazing sense of community and family and I’m so glad Noelle Harvey convinced me to play, otherwise I never would have experienced some of the best moments in my life.”
The Blue Devils are a tight-knit team. After attending parochial school for many years, Gaffney transferred here for her sophomore year and was welcomed with open arms.
“Playing lacrosse at Huntington has given me some of the greatest memories that I will take with me as I leave high school,” Gaffney said. “I’m grateful for my coaches who have given me the confidence to be my best on both the field and in the classroom and am very lucky to have met so many great friends throughout my years on the team. Leaving behind a team that I have been part of for so long will definitely be a challenge, but I’m excited to cheer them on as I know great things are headed their way.”
No matter where they go to college or end up in life, the seniors will always remember their Blue Devil teammates. “Huntington lacrosse is known for its sense of community,” Petrizzi said. “It’s something you don’t come across all that often. A lot of girls had played since a young age and I only started in sixth grade, but I felt so accepted and at home right from the start. Playing lacrosse for Huntington has meant so much to me and I’m so sad that it’s over.”
The Blue Devils own a 9-7 record this spring and are headed to the Suffolk Division I playoffs. The seniors especially hope the team’s post-season run extends as long as possible.
“Playing lacrosse at Huntington High School has been a great experience,” Morrisroe said. “All of the girls are so supportive of one another and the coaches are amazing both on the field and as mentors in my personal and academic life.”
Senior Day is always emotional and this week was no different. “This program is truly amazing and I hope girls joining from seventh grade or any grade knows that they are in for a special thing to be a part of,” Arleo said. “Each year is different and special and words can’t describe how they have helped me grow as a person. This year specifically has been nothing but love, hugs and ‘feeding our fire.’ Playing for Huntington lacrosse has been something so special and I can’t thank any teammate and or coach enough for all they have done. To my teammates this year; thank you for helping me end my senior year with nothing but a loving family.”
The eight seniors are leaving with enough memories to last a lifetime. “I have loved playing lacrosse at Huntington, especially this year because our team has been so close and supportive of each other,” Berejka said. “I have made so many great friends though lacrosse and I am really going to miss wearing that Blue Devil uniform!”
Letting go won’t be easy for the eight seniors who have been together for so long. They grew close to one another through trials and tribulations on and off the field.
“Huntington lacrosse has greatly impacted my life at the high school,” Maloney said. “I’ve gained friendships and a family that I’ll have forever. Lacrosse has taught me how to work together with my teammates and coaches and helped me develop leadership qualities as the manager this season. I’m happy to say that I was part of the team and now have so many memories to hold on to.”