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November 24, 2012
On-the-field rivals Manorville Starz aid Lindenhurst Lightning off it after Sandy's devastation

On Nov. 3, the Girls Under-11 Manorville Starz should have been playing a Long Island Junior Soccer League game against the Lindenhurst Lightning but Mother Nature had other ideas.

New York and New Jersey were pounded by Sandy, and Lindenhurst suffered as much as any community on Long Island, making soccer an after-thought. The rest of the LIJSL fall season was cancelled and many games in other Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association leagues were cancelled as well.

“I want to thank the LIJSL for cancelling the remainder of the season,” said Tina Sarnicola, one of the coaches of the Lightning. “Several girls from our team have either lost their homes or have suffered severe damage. We have so much to focus on here at home, just trying to get things back to normal.”

Of course, the girls would have loved to have met the Starz on the field that day, but one of the real positives to come out of the chaos was that the Lindenhurst and Manorville teams have met in a much more meaningful way.

“When they found out about the devastation in our community, their soccer families got together and put together donations for our community,” Sarnicola said of the Manorville team. “Kristin [Mahoney], their head coach, drove out last weekend with an SUV load of donations. She drove out again the next day with donations, and they have also helped arrange a truck from Virginia to come next week with more supplies.”

That truck came Lindenhurst thanks to the efforts of Savannah Smith, a sophomore at Strasburg High School in Strasburg, Va. Smith started a request on Facebook for donations to be made at or Walmart stores in the Virginia towns of Winchester and Woodstock. People looking to make donations can go to

Smithh’s father, Brian, and his friend Joe Boyd have enlisted the help of Brian’s employer, Big G Express of Tennessee, to help in the relief effort. Big G is utilizing several trucks to deliver all the items to Lindenhurst as soon as the trucks are full. The Manorville girls have also asked to adopt the Lindenhurst team families affected for the holidays.

“Without soccer, we wouldn’t have had the fortune of meeting the coach, the players or their families and they have given so much to help our community,” Sarnicola said. “Manorville has really gone above and beyond for our community and they continue to want to do more. I am at a loss for words and eternally grateful.”

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