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Top 10: Moments of 2014

December 30, 2014
Mike Dingammadji (#12) & Bryce Jackson (#13) helped make life miserable for Pierson in the County Final

Mike Dingammadji (#12) & Bryce Jackson (#13) helped make life miserable for Pierson in the County Final

The 2014 calendar year was filled with excitement and standout performances for the Bears. As we close out the year and look ahead to 2015, here are the moments that defined Stony Brook athletics in 2014.

Honorable Mention

#2 | Volleyball Drops a Thriller | Oct. 27

You may ask why a loss was one of the standout moments of the year for the blue and white, but this match was special despite the result. Firstly, the girls battled Greenport/Southold, a semifinalist in the class above us, to a 2-3 match after losing handily to the Porters earlier in the season. The Bears took the first game, 25-23, before dropping the next two, 19-25 and 21-25. Despite all the momentum resting with the Porters, our girls rallied to win the fourth game, 25-19, before dropping a tightly-contested deciding game, 20-25. Something else that made the contest so memorable was the atmosphere created by the Blue Fan Group, who seemingly lived and died on every point. Swanson Gymnasium was electric that afternoon and the result was an incredible effort from the girls who reveled in the palpable appreciation of the community. The girls would go on to qualify for the Class D County Championship.

#1 | Pius Leads Historic Comeback | Sept. 24

Smithtown Christian had dominated play against our girls’ soccer team, and their 3-0 lead was evidence, but our girls, instead of capitulating, engineered the largest comeback in program history. Coach Mark Maningo moved Morgan Pius out of the goal to the forward spot and thirty minutes later the Bears had a 5-3 lead. Pius scored a hat trick, Anna Wadding scored a goal, Erin Morrison added a goal and an assist, and Emily Pius recorded two assists to stun the Knights on their own field. Linnea Piazza was huge in the second half, turning away five shots to preserve the lead.

The Top Ten Moments of 2014

#10 | Walter Runs Over the Warriors | Sept. 12

Excitement was in the air for the football team’s season opener. A tailgate dinner outside of the Hollis Student Center, a blue-clad army of fans, and thoughts of a post-game bonfire only added to the atmosphere. The boys responded with a 26-6 victory behind three touchdowns from Ben Walter. The Bears looked strong from the outset as Erik Holvik found Walter for a 48-yard score on just the second play of the game. From there the staunch blue and white defense, that allowed just one first down all night, stymied Wyandanch to avenge last season’s loss.

#9 | Palmer Among County’s Best | Feb. 16

The wrestling County Championships are one of the most difficult places to find individual glory. The depth of quality competition is almost unmatched in any other individual sport in Suffolk County. Kevin Palmer closed out a memorable career with a hard-fought, 4th place finish in the 152-pound weight class that illustrated his grit and determination. After losing his opening match, he sustained a knee injury against an opponent from Bayport-Blue Point. Instead of succumbing to the pain, Palmer battled back and pinned the Phantom. In his next match he upset the #2 seeded Ryan Bergen of Mattituck to earn a 4th place finish.

#8 | Baseball Turns Double Play | Apr. 9

After darkness suspended an exciting 3-3 game in the 6th inning, the game was continued several days later. The Bears pulled out a win in walk-off fashion as Ben Walter scored on a sacrifice fly, getting in just under the tag by the Settlers’ catcher before being mobbed by his teammates at home plate. The boys leveraged that momentum into a 9-1 drubbing in the next game as they earned two victories over our East End rivals in one afternoon. Tyler Hoegsberg, who had a stellar senior campaign, got the rare double-win on the day.

#7 | Harrigan 1st at Division Championships | Oct. 21

In the Section XI Division Championships held at Sunken Meadow State Park, freshman Miranda Harrigan turned in one of her best performances of the season, despite the damp conditions. In the team qualifier (separate from the individual championship) Harrigan placed 11th overall and 1st in Division IV in a time of 21:51. If you took an aggregation of the two varsity races run on the day, Harrigan’s time placed her 67th out of 354 runners and 12th among all freshmen. She would go on to qualify for the New York State meet.

#6 | Worth Closes Career with Win | Oct. 10

Mike Worth was feeling at ease as he strolled up to the ninth green. With his opponent staring down a 25-foot put for par, he knew he’d probably be able to two-putt for the win. However, when his opponent sank that difficult putt, the pressure was squarely back on Worth’s shoulders. Birdie to win. Par to tie. With victory on the line, Worth coolly sank the putt for the win in the final dual match of his career in an 8-1 win over John Glenn.

#5 | A Miraculous Comeback | Oct. 21

Just 14 minutes into the match, Greenport held a 3-0 lead over the boys’ soccer team on a rainy afternoon on Fitch Field, but just as the sun began to break through the clouds, David Choi assisted an Inpyo Ma goal to cut the deficit to 1-3 with just 1:30 remaining in the half. The tide continued to turn in the Bears’ favor as they pushed the action offensively in the second half. Choi single-handedly brought the Brook all the way back with a 10-yard strike after a botched clear and a 30 yard free kick to knot the score at 3. Despite losing their lead, the Porters continued to surge on offense. Their best chance to retake the lead came with 11 minutes left as a fast break down the left flank culminated in a great strike that would have found the top shelf of the goal had not David Choi (the keeper, not the forward) deflected the ball over the crossbar with his fingertips.

The Bears, on the other hand, continued their push. With 9 minutes left Khendrick Beausoleil played a great cross into the middle, but the shot was sent wide. With just 6 minutes left Beausoleil sent a lefty shot skipping toward the net, forcing a diving stop from the keeper. Finally, the Bears got the break they needed when the Greenport keeper stepped out of the box while holding the ball, resulting in a handball and a free kick. With 4 minutes remaining Choi (the forward) stepped up and struck a gorgeous ball into the top shelf of the net for a hat trick, providing the winning margin in a thrilling comeback. See the video of Choi’s game-winner here.

#4 | Skorobohaty & Lavery Clip Southold | Oct. 22

On senior day the girls’ soccer team gave their eight seniors a thrilling final game in a 3-2 comeback win over Southold. The conditions were horrific as freezing rain and wind lashed the field. Southold lit up the scoreboard ten minutes into the game, but Annie Skorobohaty equalized just two minutes later courtesy of a beautiful through-ball from Ella Simmons. Shortly thereafter, our East End rivals scored a carbon copy of their first goal to take a 2-1 lead at the half.

As the second half got underway the biggest question was not whether or not the Bears could come back, but how much time they would have in which to do it. The descending darkness coupled with the overcast skies made it clear the contest could not be finished. Southold clearly had the advantage, holding a lead in what would surely be a truncated match, but the Bears refused to succumb to the unfavorable odds. Ten minutes in the Bears proved they would not go quietly when Anna Wadding sent a cross into the box from the right wing. After it was it was initially misplayed, Emma Lavery banged home the tying goal.

As the small, stalwart crowd began to pray for darkness to fall more quickly, thus giving us a tie, Southold set about trying to take back the lead. The Settlers had three different fast break opportunities in quick succession, but each time the Bears did just enough to stem the tide. Linnea Piazza made several key stops in goal while Sydney Dunn, Wadding, and Dahlia Cyrille held the back line. As the second half went on the conditions continued to worsen. The wind picked up, the skies opened and all the while visibility continued to diminish. In the 65th minute it appeared play could be called at any moment, when Skorobohaty again received a perfect pass, this time from Wadding, that rolled past the defense. She sped ahead of her pursuers and blasted home the eventual game-winner. Southold grabbed the ball and ran it to midfield, trying to save every precious second, but to no avail as the game was called minutes later due to darkness, giving the Bears a win over a playoff team a class size above them.

#3 | Tennis Deflects Arrows | Sept. 17

With first place in League VI on the line, the undefeated girls’ tennis team met the undefeated Sachem East Flaming Arrows, a school over six times our size. Akari Yoshida displayed great leadership at 1st singles, winning both sets in a tie-break (7-6, 7-5) to give the Bears an early lead. 7th-grader Sadhana Sridhar blasted her way to a 6-2, 6-2 victory at 2nd singles while Nancy Lin, who fought through a rolled ankle sustained in the first set, won a gutsy match 6-4, 7-5. Brianna Holochuck and Chelsea Garbe secured a win at 3rd doubles, dominating the final two sets after dropping the first to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to give the Bears the win. The girls would go on to finish league play undefeated, winning the League Championship and tying the program record for wins in a season with 12.

#2 | Tankeh Among County’s Fastest | May 30

At the Section XI County Championships, Charles Tankeh followed in the footsteps of the great Justin Song ’05 and Taylor Colucci ’12 by becoming the fastest man in Class B. Song won the 100 meter dash crown in 2004 and Colucci pulled off wins in the 100 and 200 meter dash in both 2010 and 2011. Tankeh continued that impressive lineage by winning the Class B 100 meter dash in 11.36, a mark that placed him 6th overall in Suffolk County. He then came back and won the 200 meter title in a time of 22.18. Tankeh continued his success at the State Meet where he finished 3rd in the 100 meter dash, obliterating the school record in a time of 10.84.

#1 | Basketball Kings of County | Feb. 15

After winning a third consecutive League Championship, coach Mike Hickey’s 8th during his tenure as head coach, the boys looked ahead to the County Championship and a third consecutive match-up with Pierson. The Whalers were hungry to erase the memory of a 57-27 defeat in the 2013 title game, but this year’s contest began on an ominous note for them as Asaiah Wilson drained a deep 3-pointer, with a hand in his face, on the game’s first possession. That’s all Wilson needed to get going on a night when he would score 18 points, hitting on five 3-pointers. On the next possession Andrew Daniel, Long Island’s leading rebounder for the second consecutive year, converted on an “old-fashioned” 3-point play to wrest away the momentum and all but silence the large Pierson contingent. The result was a 62-36 blowout for back-to-back County titles and the fourth in program history.

While the Bear offense was in high-gear, it was their defense that snuffed out Pierson’s will half-way through the game. Pierson’s Forrest Loesch, who had been averaging 21 points per game, was completely taken out of the game by Brandon Odom’s smothering defense. Odom held Loesch to four points in the last regular season match-up and six points in the County final, two of only three times Loesch was held under ten points all season. Daniel was a monumental presence inside and Bryce Jackson came off of the bench to score 12 points on a variety of difficult shots.

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