Fall Sports Practices Begin

East Islip High School’s fall sports program revved into action with practices on Aug. 27, ready for a new season of challenges and championships.

On the athletic agenda are boys and girls cross-country, boys varsity golf, boys varsity and JV soccer, varsity and JV cheerleading, varsity and JV field hockey, girls varsity gymnastics, girls varsity and JV soccer, girls varsity and JV tennis, girls varsity and JV volleyball, and varsity and JV football.

Girls varsity volleyball coach Stacie Wixted is very pleased with this year’s lineup. “The team has eight returning players and is looking to do some damage in the playoffs this year,” said Wixted. “Brianna Heffernan, rookie of the league last year, is becoming an all-around volleyball player and will be hitting outside. Libero Vanessa Marques lets nothing hit the ground and should be in the running for defensive player in Suffolk County. Cathy Marku will take over the middle and is a blocking machine. Mariah Cullen, a new captain, has stepped up to the challenge of playing middle, a new position for her, and she has the speed to quicken our offense. Brianna Baier is a defensive specialist who we will count on to serve up some aces for us. Hannah Reilly will be our secret weapon out of the right side blocking and hitting for us. Sarah Varnot and Kelsey Felicia will be our other two team captains and we look to them for consistent play and leadership. They are both excellent all-around players and we expect great things from them on the court this season. We have added freshman Hether Zenk, sophomore Megan Munn and junior Danielle Drywa to round out the squad, and I know that they will add depth to our team.”

After tough tryouts, the boys varsity golf team for the 2012 season was selected. “This year we will be playing in a new league and facing great teams such as Sayville and Bayport-Blue Point,” noted coach Chris Robertson. “We will be looking to repeat as league champions and have retained many of last year's starters. Keep an eye out for team members Paul Caliguri, Frank Argenti, AJ Carracino and Hunter Ingram.”

The girls cross-country team will open its season against Bay Shore on Sept. 11 at Sunken Meadow State Park, led by its captains, seniors Kelsey Fryer and Grace Revello. According to coach Steve Brown, the team’s other key runners are freshman Anya Schmitt, juniors Alison Gallagher and Kayla Murphy, and seniors Niamh Ashe, Emily Fusco and Grace Revello.

“We are looking forward to a great season,” said girls JV soccer coach David Lake. “The team is looking very strong and is working extremely hard to eventually get to the varsity level. I believe the varsity team will be very successful and we will be of great help to them in the future.”

Swim coach Marguerite Gomez is still working on her roster, as the swim team starts later than the other fall teams due to the team being independent. Gomez cited Julia Llewellyn (a state qualifier last year) as a swimmer to watch.      

East Islip’s varsity football squad began practicing on Aug. 16, a bit earlier than the other teams. The Redmen are looking to return to the county championship game for the second year in a row. The team’s first two games of the season have been rescheduled. The first game, at home against Copiague,  is now being held on Friday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m., while the second, an away game in West Babylon on Sept. 14, has been moved up to 7 p.m.

"I would like to wish all of our fall varsity and JV teams the best of luck this upcoming season," said Stephen Restivo, the district's director of health, physical education and athletics. "I appreciate all of the hard work that our coaches and student athletes put in each and every day."