Don’t blink, or you might miss her.
Senior Sophia Triandafils won the opening two draws, and, off feeds from senior Sam Higgins, scored twice in the first 35 seconds, to propel Shoreham-Wading River to a 12-7 nonleague win over Comsewogue April 18 in a girls’ lacrosse tilt.
“We’ve been playing together since we were really tiny,” Triandafils said. “We’re always looking for each other on the field.”
Her teammate agreed that their strong bond is an asset.
“Over time we’ve just picked up on each other’s tendencies and she somehow always finds a way to get open for me, and vice versa,” said Higgins, who had one goal and four assists in the game. “I try to keep my feet moving and give quick passes. I also try to draw defenders by driving and that usually opens people up.”
Triandafils and sophomore Isabella Meli took advantage of early opportunities, and junior goalkeeper Gabby Cacciola made four key saves while the Wildcats built a 7-0 lead.
“Our transitions were great today,” Triandafils said. “No one was hesitating. We were really pushing it.”
By the time Comsewogue senior Jamie Fischer scored the first of her two goals with 8:21 left in the first half, Triandafils and Meli already each had hat tricks.
“This team is super, super athletic, they’re fast, they’re quick, they anticipate the next play, so the speed and agility is definitely something that puts us up on other teams — getting a jump on the draw, ground balls, even anticipating the slides defensively — and it helps us play a lot better,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Brittany Davis said. “Last year we played Comsewogue and they really gave us a run for it, so I told the team to not underestimate them.”
By the end of the first half, the Wildcats (5-1) enjoyed a 10-2 advantage, with Meli scoring her fourth goal with a second left on the clock, but the Warriors (6-2) came out battling in the second.
“It takes a minute to wake up,” Comsewogue head coach Michelle Ceraso said. “But they only let up two goals in the second half. They’re picking it up.”
Comsewogue kept the host team on defense through most of the 25 minutes, scoring three unanswered goals while Shoreham-Wading River struggled to keep possession.
“I think we became a bit complacent on offense, but our defense stayed strong and our goalie saved us a few times,” Higgins said. “I think it really exemplifies the strength our entire team has. Our speed definitely gives us an advantage in transition and riding. I think it forces the other teams to work harder and make them more tired, which we try to take advantage of.”
Cacciola made four big saves, two on Fischer, to preserve a dwindling lead. She finished the game with 12 saves, one short of her season high, while Triandafils’ and Meli’s four goals were season highs.
“We played a lot of defense in the second half, and I didn’t love it, but I think we learned a lot to take with us,” Davis said.
Her team is also learning that it can contend. After what Davis considered the program’s first real winning season, with an 11-3 Division II record last year, the only thing that stood in the Wildcats’ way was a tough Mount Sinai team. The Mustangs handed Shoreham-Wading River two of its three losses, both by one goal in overtime — the second eliminated the team from county final contention.
This season, the Wildcats had to face the Mustangs early — in the first game of the season — where Shoreham-Wading River turned the tide to come away with the one-goal win.
“We’re finally starting to realize our potential and everyone’s filling into their roles,” Higgins said. “I think we have a real chance this year.”
Davis said she thinks success can get in her player’s heads, but it’s something they’re building upon. She said she thinks if the team, which returned all but two starters, can get over that and remain focused, they’ll be the team to beat.
“Winning is kind of new to them, so they hold back a little bit,” the head coach said. “Each one of them is a huge piece to the success we’ve had. This team is something special. Their character, their heart, their hustle is completely in this.”