After a season that saw the Huntington High School varsity field hockey team win nine regular games and push Commack to brink in the Suffolk Division I playoffs, Blue Devil players are reflecting on a fall campaign that saw them reach many of their goals.
Huntington battled Commack to a scoreless tie through regulation and overtime, only to fall during the penalty stroke tiebreaker segment, 1-0.
“This was an amazing season for Huntington field hockey and I’m so proud of our team,” said Anna Wickey. “It was such a great feeling to make it to playoffs. Everyone improved greatly throughout the season. I have so much love for this team and can’t wait for next year.”
Coached by Kathy Wright and Allison Conlon, the Blue Devils set a goal to reach the post-season and through many ups and downs, managed to do just that.
“I’m incredibly proud of how far this team has come this year by making playoffs, but I’m equally excited for what is to come,” Haley Mortell said. “We have formed such a strong bond that I’m positive will last even after the season has ended. Currently on an in-between seasons break, I can’t wait to get back into sports and start preparing for winter track.”
The Blue Devils really bonded as a team and that sense of togetherness and everyone pulling in the same direction really helped Huntington win more games than some in Suffolk expected and reach post-season play for the first time in several years.
“Honestly, I already miss playing field hockey and seeing my coaches and teammates on weekends and after school,” Megan Byrnes said. “It’s a real family atmosphere and so they’re easy to miss. Meanwhile, we were all so excited to qualify for the playoffs and thrilled with the tournament placement. But still we were disappointed that we did not go deeper into post-season play. In terms of our playoff game itself, I think we matched up really well against Commack. In fact, I felt we dominated much of the play that morning; we just didn’t put the ball in the back of the cage the way we needed to. Losing in overtime and on a penalty stroke was heartbreaking, but we are incredibly proud of what we accomplished together and how much we grew and developed as individuals and as a team this season.”
Huntington won its last four regular season games to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The streak required everyone to do their job well and to cast aside their egos and personal ambitions and work together as a team.
“It was an absolutely amazing season,” Holly Wright said. “Each and every day we came out, worked our hardest and had a smile on our face the entire time. This was not just a team, but we became a family on and off the field. This year could not have been possible without our seven wonderful seniors; they became our leaders, the ones we looked to for everything and we played every game for them. Next year they will be missed so much, but we know they are going on to do such great things. The amount of memories and laughs we shared as a whole program is honestly what made this season so memorable. I’m excited for next year, exited to see how far we can go and excited for my senior year. Huntington field hockey is just getting started and we will take each season one at a time and keep doing our best.”
Huntington compiled a 9-6 record after going 6-9 in 2017. While the Blue Devils are losing many seasons, they will be returning a very talented core group of athletes next fall.
“We had an amazing season,” Phoebe Walther said. “I’m so proud of the entire team. I know everyone can say that during our last game we left it all on the field. I’m so glad I was a part of this team and I’m extremely proud we made it to the playoffs.”
The playoff loss at Commack was a battle that won’t be forgotten soon. Neither team could break through the other’s defensive unit and put the ball in the cage through regulation or overtime. The deadlock was finally broken on penalty strokes.
“I feel that we accomplished so much this season,” Morgan Minicozzi said. “We beat teams that were seeded higher than us. I am so proud of how far the team has come this season. We always competed against everyone, whether we were supposed to win or lose. And we always left our hearts out on the field. We also reached our primary goal for the season; the playoffs.”
Everyone associated with the team expects next season to be a winning campaign. Huntington feels good about everything it accomplish this fall, despite the playoff loss at Commack. The Blue Devils take comfort in knowing the early Saturday morning game was decided by the slimmest of margins.
“We were playing against a good team and we were neck and neck the whole game,” Minicozzi said. “Everything that we have worked on like communication, endurance and smart passes truly did pay off in the end. I think what was also truly amazing was our record and how we ended up in fifth place at one point during the seeding. We also finished our season ranked ninth, which was also truly a blessing. I truly am sad to see our team say our final goodbyes, but I know that the remaining girls will keep the team strong.”