There have been plenty of coaching achievements for Greene field hockey coach Sue Carlin during her lengthy career, and the start of this season brought yet another.
Carlin earned her 400th varsity coaching victory on Sept. 4 when Greene opened its season with a 3-0 victory against Deposit. The 27-year coaching veteran has won five state championships, two at Maine-Endwell where she coached from 1980-1993 and three at Greene, where she has been the coach since 2001.
Only Marathon’s Karen Funk has more coaching victories and state titles among current Section 4 field hockey coaches.
“It was great, though I wasn’t stressing too much about it,” said the 56-year-old Carlin. “I figured that eventually I’d get to it. I’ve never been one to focus on personal goals, the team is more important.”
Carlin’s two state titles at M-E came in 1988 and 1989. At Greene, the Trojans under Carlin won state titles in 2002, 2009 and last season, when it routed Southampton, 7-0, in the Class C state final to cap an 18-0 season.
As for the most memorable moment of her coaching career, Carlin couldn’t answer. Instead, she expressed gratitude for those who have been instrumental in her success.
“My family has been very supportive, they have picked up the slack,” Carlin said. “My husband John has been my biggest fan, I’ve been blessed to have that support to do something I love to do.
“I’ve also been so fortunate with so many great kids, great families and two great communities that were very supportive of the sport of field hockey.”
This season, Greene is 4-2, trying to overcome significant losses to graduation from last year’s dominant team. Carlin thinks her team is making strides.
“We’re very young, we’re still trying to work the bugs out,” Carlin said. “We’re making good progress, so far so good.”
Vestal ends drought
One of the two losses the Greene field hockey team has suffered this season came at the hands of Vestal, a 2-0 defeat last Friday that marked the Golden Bears first victory against the Trojans since 1996.
“It had been a very long time,” said Vestal coach Vickie Sax. “Greene has had that tradition forever, they have that history.”
Sax was more pleased with her team’s performance following the Greene contest, a 2-1 victory over Maine-Endwell in a possible Section 4 Class B championship game preview on Tuesday that improved Vestal to 6-1 on the season.
“We were a better team (Tuesday), we made some adjustments since the Greene game,” Sax said. “We played to our abilities. We came out against Greene so pumped and enthusiastic that we made a lot of mistakes. We took a different approach (against M-E) and played within ourselves.
Among the key contributors for Vestal has been senior center back Tori Jo Kakusian, Emily Schutt (seven goals), Diana Ruggiero (four goals) and Emily Barnard. Kakusian has been vital to Vestal’s success in Sax’s opinion.
“She hits the ball very hard and intimidates a lot of opponents,” Sax said. “She sets the momentum and the tempo for our games. She’s our quarterback.”
Fast times at Owego
Saturday’s Owego Invitational cross country meet at Pheasant Hill Country Club yielded not one, but two individual performances that surpassed the previous course record.
Watkins Glen’s Matt Gill and Maine-Endwell’s Dan Schaffer both bettered the previous course record of 16 minutes, 45 seconds established by Ithaca’s Dan Dracup at last year’s Southern Tier Athletic Conference championships. Gill obliterated the course record with a winning time of 16:29, with Schaffer finishing second with a clocking of 16:43.
Griffiths keeps rolling
Already having qualified for the state tournament his first two years of varsity play, Susquehanna Valley freshman golfer DJ Griffiths looks well on his way to making three-for-three this season.
Griffiths, who last season was individual medalist at the STAC Championships and finished ninth at the state tournament, has an impressive stroke-average of 0.4-over-par this season in 10 matches this season.
Among his finest efforts in those 10 matches were rounds of 2-under 34s carded at Endwell Greens and Conklin Players Club. Griffiths also was the individual champion at the DiNunzio Memorial in August, shooting a 1-over 73 at En-Joie Golf Course.
Harpursville seeks another run
Last season was perfect for the Harpursville girls volleyball team until the Section 4 Class D title game, losing to Tioga in three games after going into the match with an 18-0 record.
With four senior starters on that team, it looked like it might be awhile before Harpursville would have another chance at getting that elusive Section 4 volleyball title. But the Hornets have not missed a beat this season, improving to 8-0 with a victory over Oxford on Tuesday.
“I didn’t expect to do as well as we have in the beginning,” said first-year coach Tim Strantz, who was the JV head coach and varsity assistant last season. “The girls have really come around, it’s a pretty young team but I do see us going real far.”
Erika Whitney has excelled in the service game, and Sarah Miller and Madison Paugh have emerged as big hitters for the Hornets.
Strantz is eager to see how his team will fare when it competes in the Johnson City Invitational this weekend.
“It’ll be good to see some STAC teams,” Strantz said. “We scrimmaged Chenango Valley before the season and I thought we did pretty well.”
So far so good for McFadden
After finishing fifth in the state girls swimming and diving championships last season in the 100 backstroke, and with three of the four finishers ahead of her having graduated, Owego senior Devon McFadden would seem to have a reasonable shot at winning a state title this season.
Early-season results have done nothing to deter that. McFadden is the top-ranked swimmer in the state in the 100 backstroke after clocking a 58:14 at the Owego Invitational on Sept. 14, only a touch slower than her state-meet time of 57.94 a year ago.
“It’s hard to tell where she’ll get to, but she can be in the 56-second area, low-to-mid 56s,” Owego coach Jason Westervelt said. “That would break the Section 4 record (57.73 set by Owego’s Luci Kovalovsky in 2011).”
“She’s pumped about how she’s been performing. Devon keeps a focus on our team goals, but in the back of her mind, she knows she has a legitimate shot at a state title. She’s hands-down the hardest-working girl I’ve had in the pool.”
McFadden has qualified for the state meet each of the past five seasons. She has already made the state-qualifying standard in both the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley this season.