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Shoreham-Wading River High School

Quarterback Kieran Clifford bolts out of the backfield. Photo by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River’s journey to the Division IV county championship final began with the Wildcats winning their last three games of the regular season to enter postseason play with a 6-2 record.

The Wildcats picked off Center Moriches in the opening round of the playoffs, earning the No. 3 seed to advance to the semifinals with a road game against Babylon. Trailing most of the way, SWR rallied in the final minutes to win 36-35 in a nailbiter and punched their ticket to the championship round on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Stony Brook University to face top-seeded Bayport-Blue Point.

After a three-and-out opening possession, Bayport took over, scampering 23 yards for the score on their first possession of the game for the early lead. The Phantoms scored on their next possession and again late in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead.

Bayport never looked back, blowing the game wide open for the 49-14 victory.

SWR senior Liam Kershis took the goose egg off the board with a 27-yard catch from Kieran Clifford and a second TD catch to conclude the Wildcats 2023 campaign.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River, the No. 4 seed, hosted Center Moriches (No. 5) in the Suffolk quarterfinals round of Division IV postseason play Friday night, Nov. 3, at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. Center Moriches drew first blood on a broken play to find the end zone early in the opening quarter. Shoreham-Wading River senior quarterback Kieran Clifford evened the score on a keeper to tie the game and with the point after took the lead. 

From there, the Wildcats never looked back. Running back Liam Kershis did what he’s done all season finding the end zone for a touchdown, and Clifford punched in from short yardage to open the second half. Senior Travis Finnegan followed when he nailed a 25-yard field goal. The Wildcats would make the final buzzer with a 38-12 victory.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 7-2 to advance to the semifinals round Friday, Nov. 10, with a road game against No. 2 seed Babylon. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

Meet your new Suffolk County Class A champions. Photo by Bill Landon

Kings Park ended their regular season atop the Division III leaderboard having suffered its only league loss to Shoreham-Wading River back in September. The Lady Kingsmen looked to settle that score in the Suffolk Class A championship final with a rematch with the Wildcats at Diamond in the Pines Wednesday night Nov. 1.

After a scoreless first half, it was Shoreham-Wading River’s Grace Hillis who would write the Kings Park epitaph first with a 30-yard free kick that found its way in the upper far corner of the net. Then the senior scored the insurance goal 11 minutes later. Despite a ferocious late-game surge by the Lady Kingsmen that kept Wildcat goalie Morgan Lesiewicz busy the rest of the way, Shoreham-Wading River prevailed with a 2-0 victory.

Lesiewicz finished with seven saves in the win to punch the Wildcats ticket to the Long Island Championship round where they faced Plainedge on Saturday, Nov. 4. Yet again the Wildcats rose to the occasion with another 2-0 victory to advance to the New York State championship round in Cortland Nov. 11.

— Photos by Bill Landon

It was the duo of Grace Hillis and Bella Sweet, the Shoreham-Wading River seniors, who made their mark in the Class A Long Island championship game at the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Saturday morning, Nov. 4, against Plainedge with the Wildcats defeating the Section VIII champions 2-0. 

Before the season began Shoreham-Wading River High School was selected as the location for the New York State Regional Finals, otherwise known as the Long Island championship round, so the Wildcats enjoyed a home-field advantage in their quest for another New York State championship title.

Hillis struck first at 11 minutes scoring off a corner kick to break the ice for the Wildcats for the early lead. With 17:30 left in the first half Sweet scored off an assist by Hillis for the insurance goal for the 2-0 victory.

Plainedge, who came into the game with 13-2-3 record, wouldn’t go quietly as they pressed the Wildcats relentlessly until the final buzzer.

Morgan Lesiewicz had four saves in the win.

The Wildcats will board the buses and make their way to Cortland High School for the New York State semifinal round Saturday, Nov. 11, where they will face Section III champions New Hartford. Game time is slated for 5 p.m. 

According to New York State Public High School Athletic Association, “This is a digital-ticketed event. Cash sales will not be available on-site. Kids 5 and under are free.” Tickets can be purchased at gofan.co/event/1128589?schoolId=NYSPHSAA.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Senior running back Liam Kershis bolts through an opening. Photo by Bill Landon

It was Shoreham-Wading River’s Homecoming weekend and the Wildcats, at 4-2, looked for a win on their special day, and a convincing win is what they got. 

Southampton arrived with only 16 players dressed for action as injuries have plagued the 0-6 Mariners.

Senior running back Liam Kershis set the tone early with a 60-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats’ opening possession. Kershis struck again on the Wildcats next offensive effort with an 18-yard run for the score. Sean Casey joined the fray with an 11-yard touchdown run followed by Chris Johnson’s short yardage run to put the Wildcats in the lead by 27-0 after 12 minutes of play.

Kershis had three carries for 104 yards, and sophomore George Greene had two touchdowns on five carries for 89 yards in the 48-0 victory in the Division IV matchup Saturday afternoon, Oct. 21.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 5-2 on the season with one game remaining before postseason play begins Friday, Nov. 3.

Photos by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River scores the insurance goal. Photo by Bill Landon

It was the quarterfinal round of field hockey playoffs when the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River (No.3 seed) hosted sixth-seeded Harborfields in a Class B matchup Tuesday night, and the Tornadoes would have their hands full at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.

Jocelyn Kavanaugh broke the ice for Shoreham-Wading River off an assist by Haylie Abrams at the 4:27 mark of the second quarter to put the Wildcats out front. Harborfields had several opportunities to even the score from penalty corner shots, but the Wildcats defense was able keep the Tornadoes at bay. 

Sophia Minnion would provide the insurance goal for the Wildcats off an assist by Ellie Arena to take a 2-0 advantage three minutes into the third quarter. The Tornadoes wouldn’t go quietly, with Wildcats goalie Maggie Andersen stopping nine in the box. Harborfields keeper Lily Viscusi had eight saves on the night.

The 2-0 win sends the Wildcats to Eastport-South Manor (No. 2 seed) Saturday, Oct. 28, for a 10 a.m. semifinal matchup.

 – Photos by Bill Landon

It is often said that one play decides the outcome of the game and that’s just what happened when Shoreham-Wading River came calling on the Islip Buccaneers in a Division III soccer matchup Thursday Oct. 5.

Islip scored on a rebound from a penalty kick halfway through the first half to take the 1-0 advantage. The Wildcats mounted a late-game surge, getting off several shots on goal in the closing minutes of the game but failed to find the back of the net as time expired.

Shoreham-Wading River goalie Morgan Lesiewicz had five saves.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 8-2-1 (8-3-2 overall) for third place in the division, trailing Kings Park and Bayport-Blue Point.

The Wildcats have three more regular season games before postseason play begins Saturday, Oct. 21.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats stand alone atop the Division II field hockey standings as only one of two teams that remain undefeated in Suffolk County. The Wildcats made short work of visiting Babylon with a 7-0 shutout victory at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Monday, Oct. 2.

Maddi Herr led the way for the Wildcats with three goals, Sophia Minnion had one goal and three assists, while Haylie Abrams rocked the box with another goal. Mae Kilkenny and Kayla Corso rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats with one goal apiece. Goalkeeper Maggie Andersen had a quiet day protecting the box.

The win lifts Shoreham-Wading River to 10-0 overall just beyond the midway point in the season. The team has allowed only two goals against, with five games remaining before postseason play begins.

— Photos by Bill Landon

After edging by Miller Place in the first set having to win by two, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats lost the second set to make it a new match in the League VI matchup.

Squeezing by the Panthers 25-23 in the third set and rallying in the fourth set, the Wildcats were lucky to escape with the 3-1 victory, 28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, on the road Sept. 22.

Senior Giorgia Balza led the way for the Wildcats with 13 kills, a pair of aces and 4 blocks, and teammate Caroline Lange had a block with 4 kills.

Setting the pace for the Panthers was Payton Horan with 13 kills, a service ace and 2 digs along with Olivia Honkanen’s 6 kills 3 service aces and 4 digs.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 2-2, leaving the Panthers searching for that elusive first win.

Both teams are back in action Sept. 28 when the Wildcats host Bayport-Blue Point at 4 p.m. and the Panthers have a road game against nearby Mount Sinai. First service is set for 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Kings Park hosted the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River in a girls soccer matchup Tuesday, Sept. 19, when the Lady Kingsmen struggled to find the net in this League III contest.

The Wildcats struck 14 minutes into the opening half when freshman Shealyn Varbero stretched the net to take the lead into the halftime break. The Wildcat defense was able to keep Kings Park at bay when sophomore Mia Mangano scored the insurance goal for the Wildcats with 19 minutes left in regulation to lead 2-0 for the final score.

Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Morgan Lesiewicz had five saves and Kings Park goalie Alex Scott stopped 14. The win lifts the Wildcats to 4-1 in the early going, and Kings Park drops to 2-1-1.

— Photos by Bill Landon