The Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team broke new ground Sunday, Nov. 17, as it came ahead of Spencerport in the Class A final, culminating an effort that has included years and years of hard work.
The Wildcats came ahead of the other leading teams during games upstate at the SUNY Cortland campus. Head coach Adrian Gilmore said the game on Saturday started late in the evening, and while Long Islanders complained about the weekend cold, the SWR girls upstate played in temperatures well below freezing, with two games back to back Saturday and Sunday, first in the semifinals against Jamesville-Dewitt winning 1-0, and then against Spencerport with a 2-0 victory. Through it all, they had only the heat of the moment and their individual drive to warm them. The team returned to Shoreham late at night with a Suffolk County police escort, making them the first Wildcats soccer team to make state champs.
“We didn’t feel the cold, we were so excited,” Gilmore said.
“We didn’t feel the cold, we were so excited.”
– Adrian Gilmore
The team has previously won eight league championships, won the county final four times, one Long Island championship and earned three Suffolk County crowns, according to the head coach.
She said it was the girls “offensive weapons” that won them the day. The only goal on Saturday was scored early by junior striker Ashley Borriello, who also scored the Sunday game’s second goal after a Spencerport corner kick, with the goalie stranded upfield. Sophomore defensive Maddy Joannou rushed after the kick — the coach saying she had been angry the kick was awarded in the first place — and passed it to Borriello for a 60-yard shot into an unattended net. Elizabeth Shields scored the first goal.
Borriello ends her season with 20 goals in total, according to her coach, a great mark considering the team scored a total of 40 goals.
A few days after the state championship win, Gilmore had many of her team to compliment. She called senior midfielder Gianna Cacciola “the heart and hustle of the team,” with her drive to run down field to assist on a goal with the same passion to run back and break up a defensive play. She was named MVP of the tournament and is an all-county soccer player.
Junior midfielder/defender Lydia Radonavitch was called a “huge asset” by her coach. Senior Sara Hobbes and other members of the defensive team, including junior Brooke Langella, who was “willing to throw her body in front of everything,” and senior keeper Alison Devall, who let in only nine goals throughout the season. The goalkeeper was party to 14 shutouts throughout the 2019 season.
The season started as an uphill battle before turning into total success. The team was defeated by Northport, 1-0, in its first game. The Wildcats won the first divisional game at Kings Park, 1-0, later taking a 2-1 loss to Half Hollow Hills West, then going on a 13-game unbeaten streak. The Wildcats knocked out West Babylon, Hauppauge and Harborfields at the county level, and won the Long Island championship against MacArthur, 2-1.
Though the season ends on a high note, the varsity soccer team will be losing many of its heavy hitters come graduation, six in total. This includes Cacciola, Devall and Hobbes. Gilmore said many of the juniors have made strong impressions and she expects several of them on the team to rise to the occasion and become team captains next season.
Though the team will have enforced changes next year, at least they have made a milestone. Around Halloween, Gilmore said she was in the high school gym and saw an empty space above the girls locker-room door in between banners of football and lacrosse state wins. She sent a picture of the empty space to all her players, circling it to let them know it was their team next.
After the win, the coach said, junior midfielder Lakin Ciampo shouted out for all to hear, “Yes, our picture will finally go up in the gym.”