It was worth the wait.
After three decades without a Shelter Island School soccer team, a newly-formed squad took to the grass at Fiske Field for a home game on Friday, Sept. 22. And, suitably enough, the Islanders came away winners with an 11-1 blowout victory against Centereach’s Our Savior New American School.
Coach Chris Conrardy said after the match that the game plan was a simple one. “Come out strong and come out early. I made it our goal to get on the board within the first 5-to-10 minutes of play,” the coach said. “We successfully achieved that goal with a free kick from Jaxson Rylott, which set the pace for the rest of the match.”
Rylott, who was one of the students who lobbied the School District for a return to organized soccer, was unstoppable on offense, putting the ball in the back of the net five times. Harrison Weslek, the other student who went before the School Board earlier this year to make a case for a team, also had a big game, scoring 3 goals.
Rounding out the scoring for the Islanders was Jonathan Ortiz Peron, Evan Weslek, and Hayden Davidson, who scored a goal apiece.
There was high energy on the field and among the friends and families of players who cheered on the team during the historic match.
According to Coach Conrardy, the turning point in the victory was Rylott’s early goal. “It put the rest of the team at ease and cleared up any nervousness a first official match comes with,” the coach said. “This set the pace for the rest of the game, and sent a clear message to the rest of the team to do their jobs and play their positions effectively.”
He acknowledged that expectations were high for his team, which had been preparing since August to take the field. Added to the pressure was what he described as countless delays, transportation issues, and weather cancellations. But the players were eager, he said, “to put on a show for the town,” and present all of their hard work and skills.
Coach Conrardy sent special thanks to School Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio for his support in the process of fielding a team, and to Mike Dunning for “making our field beautiful.”
Next up is a home game Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m., at Fiske Field.
Come out and support this exciting team, a welcome addition to Shelter Island sports.