As 2010 winds down, let's take a look at the best moments in Three Village sports from the past year, in chronological order.
128-0: The UCLA men's basketball team won 88 straight games in the 70s and the UConn women's basketball team has won over 87 straight games, but the Ward Melville girls' fencing team won its 128th consecutive meet. On Feb. 6, the girls ended the 2009-2010 season with their 9th straight Suffolk championship. The last time they lost a meet was Jan. 9, 2002.
Hello World: When Stony Brook University moved into Division I in 1999, the men's basketball team endured a lot of losing and last place finishes. It took 10 years for the Seawolves to have their signature moment, and they got it by beating Vermont 82-78 to clinch their first America East Conference regular season championship. Fans rushed the court as the school earned its first appearance in the NIT tournament. They would lose by 10 to Illinois in the first round, but the impact of that clinching game can still be felt. This season, the Seawolves have played games on ESPN and match up against nationally ranked opponents.
Stony Brook Doesn't Make Friends: It was a defensive struggles with one of the lowest final scores you'll see in a basketball game, but The Stony Brook School's boys basketball team beat Friends Academy 35-29 to win its first Long Island Class C championship. The Bears allowed only four points in the first quarter and 12 in the first half, but the Quakers would make it a game. Leading by three with one minute left, Tim Pandolfi scored two of his game-high 16 points with a layup that sealed the game.
From out of the Darkness: Fifteen Ward Melville lacrosse players were suspended for the big game against Smithtown West for underage drinking violations. Carrying only 21 atheletes instead of the usual 36, everyone on the roster had to contribute. Without some of their starters, other players had a chance to shine, and shine they did, toppling Smithtown West 13-8. The lesson demonstrated: No one player is greater than the team.
Near Greatness: The Three Village area has always been known as a lacrosse hotbed, but that perfection hadn't transitioned to the college team, until now. The Seawolves were the 8th seed in the nation with perennial power Virginia coming to Stony Brook for the NCAA tournament quarter finals. It looked like top seeded Virginia was going to run away with this one as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead. However, the Seawolves showed they could hang with the best team in the country by rattling off four straight goals to tie the game at 5. The Cavaliers took a two-goal lead late in the game before Tom Compitello scored, cutting it down to one with 2:11 left to play. Stony Brook managed two shots in the final minutes but could not get the equalizer. It wasn't a win, but the Seawolves showed that they could be a national power.
: After a quick exit in the NCAA tournament, the mens soccer team headed to South America to improve their game. During the 18 day trip Stony Brook went 5-2-2 against semi-pro teams from coach Cesar Markovic's homeland, a place he hadn't been to in nearly 20 years. The highlight of the trip was a 2-0 victory over an Esmeraldas junior team, Markovic's former team, in the stadium that he used to call home.
The Bears are Kings: Winning a county championship is a tremendous achievement for a school, but on this day, The Stony Brook School took home an almost unheard-of three titles. The team, gunning for its fourth straight title, faced off against local rival Port Jefferson. With 2:17 left in the second overtime of a scoreless game, Michelle Hennessy blasted in a goal to start the celebration. The boys' cross country team also needed a tiebreaker to secure their title. After losing to Southold earlier in the year, they raced to a 28-28 tie in the championship. The tiebreaker was awarded to the Bears, who have won the Suffolk title for the fourth time in the last five years. The girls' cross country was in a similar situation: losing to Southold and having to face them again in the county championships. There was no need for a tiebreak in this one as Stony Brook outran their rivals 24-31.
: A back and forth match between Ward Melville and Smithtown East for a spot in the Suffolk County championship came down to the final game. Alexa Stonish tallied a team-high 36 digs as the Patroits held an early 13-6 lead in the deciding game. Smithtown East went on a run to cut the lead to 20-18 before Ward Melville sealed the game with five straight points that put the defending county champs back in the finals.
van Dalen Twins Finish 1-2 on National Stage: Lucy van Dalen had run four races, and won all of them. This time, she took the NCAA Regional Championships by 3.6 seconds. The second-fastest woman in the Northeast region on this day was her twin sister, Holly van Dalen. The result was a repeat of the America East Championships two weeks earlier where the twins took the top two spots when Lucy bested Holly by 1.13 seconds. They would run in the NCAA Championships where the girls would finish their collegiate cross country careers right next to each other, Lucy in sixth place nationally and Holly in seventh, one-tenth of a second behind.
: Current Ward Melville seniors have never seen their team fall short of the Long Island championship. That streak was put on the line on November 15. Callie Vitalo scored the game's first two goals and Vanessa Pryor added a pair of her own as the Patriots defeat Massapequa 5-1 to win their fourth straight Long Island championship. They would finish the season 18-2, including playoffs.