5th Ranked Ward Melville Lady Patriots Team Preview

Now into the top 5 in our top 20 teams ahead of the start to regular season games, it’s the Ward Melville Patriots of Suffolk Class A that slide into the fifth spot. They will be looking to seize the opportunity this year and bring home some hardware after being on the precipice of appearing in the LIC last year. The majority of their team returns having gained valuable postseason experience. Head Coach Stephanie Peragallo enters year two at the helm and shared what the key to success will be in 2023. “Ward Melville is coming off a strong season with 20 returners. Key to success will be to replace Courtney Quinn on the draw. We are very excited to prove last year wasn’t luck .”

At attack it will be the trio of Kate Spinks (Brown), Grace Mulham (Princeton) and Grace Balocca (Villanova) that will ignite this unit and be the driving force. All three are now in their junior season and all blossomed their sophomore year. Spinks is an automatic goal scorer around the crease and looks to be in mid season form after a strong winter league in which she was their leading scorer. Mulham is a premier facilitator and initiator as a low attacker, posting big time numbers in 2022 with 27 goals and 29 assists for 56 points. Balocca is another natural scorer that strikes the back of the net at ease. She led the team in goals a season ago with 40 and is one who elevates her game on the big stage. The one missing piece from this attack is 2022 graduate Jill Gironda who was a major presence last year with a team high 35 assists.

Headlining the midfield will be junior Emilia Retzlaff and sophomore Ava Simonton. Retzlaff the Navy commit is as tough as they come and has the quickness to get wherever she wants on the field and poses as a severe threat when clearing the ball in the open field. In 2022 she was good for 33 goals with 11 assists. Simonton came into her freshman year looking like an established veteran where she helped transform this team right away. Her 39 goals last year was just the beginning of what will be spectacular high school career. Two added components that will also be valuable this season on midfield are juniors MJ Timpanaro (Rhode Island) Amelia Pirozzi (Marist) who combined for 22 points a season ago. As coach Peragallo alluded to, the one question that will soon be solved is who will fill the void of Courtney Quinn on the draw.

Defensively this unit features stud junior Olivia Comerford the UPenn commit. Comerford has speed that not many athletes can say they have, and she is relentless on-ball and is often times first to the 50/50 ground balls. Along with Comerford they will also see big minutes from senior Catie Edson the future Manhattan Jasper, and sophomore Peyton Phillips. In the 2025 class Phillips is a marquee defender and is a vital part of their Ward Melville’s defense, as one of the most scrappy defenders and a clearing machine. Phillips was integral to last year’s success and can also play midfield where she scored four goals. Protecting the net will be junior Ava Carrillo the VCU commit who enters her third year as the starting goalie. As a sophomore Carrillo racked up the saves, tallying 125.

The Patriots kick off the regular season with an epic non-league game against Garden City on March 27th. There other non-league matchup is against one of the top high school teams in Connecticut the Darien Blue Waves (4/22). Some important conference matchups slated for this season feature William Floyd (4/18), Northport (4/26), and Commack (5/10), teams they will likely be fighting with all season long as they jockey for the top seed in the playoffs.


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