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U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin, Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner and town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro at Sills Gully Beach following the revitalization. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R), U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) announced the completion of repairs intended to protect, restore and strengthen Sills Gully Beach in Shoreham, after it was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“The revitalization project at Sills Gully is one of a dozen North Shore surface water quality protection projects the highway department has undertaken since I took office,” Losquadro said. “I want to thank Congressman Zeldin for expediting the federal funding necessary to complete this project and ensure the resilience of our shoreline.”

“Preventing storm water runoff from entering the Long Island Sound this is a victory for the residents of Shoreham and the environment.”

— Jane Bonner

In order to reduce risk of damage from future storm events, members of the Brookhaven highway department completely removed the ineffective gabion basket walls, replacing them with 160 feet of steel bulkhead with stone-toe protection to prevent scouring. The bulkhead — which now protects areas of the bluff that have experienced significant levels of erosion in the past — has a longer life span than the gabion walls and will better protect from future disasters.

“The completion of restoration at Sills Gully Beach is an excellent example of different levels of government working together for the benefit of our community,” Bonner said. “I have been diligently working on this issue since the damage was caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and I am extremely happy to see these necessary repairs come to fruition. By preventing storm water runoff from entering the Long Island Sound, this is a victory for the residents of Shoreham and the environment. I want to thank Congressman Zeldin and Superintendent Losquadro for working with me to make this happen.”

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro points out the new improvements his department made to protect the area. Photo from Town of Brookhaven
Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro points out the new improvements his department made to protect the area. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

As a result of these mitigation measures and to comply with Tidal Wetlands and Clean Water Act permits, the department included upgrades to the existing storm water system by installing a new bioretention area where storm water naturally collects. This bioretention area consists of two, 12-foot deep leaching basins and an 8-foot wide trash rack to capture storm water and transport it through nearly 400 feet of 48-inch, smooth, interior-corrugated polyethylene pipe for natural dissipation. Additionally, a rock-lined drainage swale was constructed along the length of the parking lot to collect any remaining runoff. These upgrades will ensure that polluted storm water is not directly entering the Long Island Sound.

The project was funded with an $875,000 federal grant secured by Zeldin through FEMA.

“Once Brookhaven Town received the necessary federal funding to make repairs at Sills Gully Beach and Gully Landing Drainage Facility, the town was able to complete this important project,” said Zeldin, who is also a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This revitalization project will help protect, restore and strengthen Sills Gully Beach in Shoreham and the overall quality of water in our local area, and I am proud to join with Superintendent Losquadro and Councilwoman Bonner to announce the completion of this project.”

Shoreham-Wading River high school held its Class of 2016 commencement ceremony Saturday morning, June 25.

After listening to speeches from valedictorian Kelvin Ma and salutatorian Nicholas Maritato, students were all smiles as they walked up onto the stage and received their diplomas.

Doves were released in honor of Thomas Cutinella after all the graduates’ names were called, and as the ceremony commenced, students turned their tassels before tossing their caps into the air.

The Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Rocky Point and Shoreham-Wading River school districts have named the students who reached maximum potential at the high school level.

“I am extremely proud of all that the Class of 2016 has accomplished in the classroom, on the stage, on our athletic fields and in the community,” Rocky Point Principal Susann Crossan said. “They are a class who came together and generously raised money for many charities and continuously contributed positive energy to build school spirit. I wish the Class of 2016 a rewarding journey and ask that they remember to dream big.”

In Miller Place, with a whopping weighted GPA of 99.6, Elizabeth Whitlow was named the valedictorian. Whitlow, who plans to attend Northeastern University in the fall and major in American sign language, was a captain on the varsity softball team while also a member of the volleyball team, drama club, Foreign Language National Honor Society, National Thespian Society, mathletes and athletes helping athletes.

Joining the advanced placement scholar with honor at the top of the list is salutatorian Clara Tucker. With a weighted GPA of 99.5, she said she plans to attend Stony Brook University and major in biology. Tucker got her start at Stony Brook in the science research club on campus and was part of the school’s science club, art club and varsity track and field and cross country teams, while also being a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Intel Talent Search, Foreign Language National Honor Society and National Honor Society.

In Mount Sinai, Patrick Hanaj, with a weighed GPA of 105.2, was named class valedictorian. A class president his sophomore year and secretary his junior year, Hanaj was a member of Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team, was on the math team and was a member of chamber orchestra all four years of high school, and was the National Honor Society president this year. A national AP scholar and National Merit Scholarship finalist who was a member of the Columbia Science Honors Program, he will be attending Harvard University in the fall, majoring in applied mathematics with a minor in computer science.

Justine Quan, with a weighted GPA of 104.3, was named the salutatorian. The student council president and peer leader, who was a part of the history club and environmental action club, was also a member of the Mount Sinai Sunshine Fund and National Honor Society. Receiving the U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop Civil Service award, Quan will be attending New York University in the fall and majoring in political science.

“Justine is an integral member of her class; she is one of the most active and charismatic leaders that we have ever had in our building,” her district said. “Her participation is truly authentic, as she immerses herself fully in her activities for the benefit of others and for the good of her school and community. Justine is highly intelligent, one of the kindest individuals you will ever meet, extremely polite, always positive, efficient and highly organized. She is a representation of the best anyone can ask for from a high school student.”

James Gohn was named the valedictorian at Rocky Point. With a weighted GPA of 106.2, he is an AP scholar with distinction, member of the National Honor Society and New York State Mathematics Honor Society. Outside of the classroom, Gohn performed with the school’s orchestra, was the captain of the varsity soccer team and a member of the varsity lacrosse team. He is a dedicated volunteer, serving as a math and chemistry tutor and altar server, and dedicates many hours to several other charitable organizations. He will be attending Stony Brook University this fall to major in mechanical engineering.

“James is an exceptional student who has devoted himself to being the best he can be,” Crossan said. “He is a student with strong values and character and is gifted in the classroom as well as in his many extracurricular activities.”

Matthew Brewer, with a weighted GPA of 104.9, was named the class’ salutatorian.

An AP scholar with distinction, Brewer is also a member of the National Honor Society, New York State Math Honor Society and is president of the Class of 2016. He was a member of the high school’s mock trial and math teams and was secretary of the school’s science club. Team manager for both the varsity wresting and baseball teams, Brewer has also worked as a senior counselor for the North Shore Youth Council Summer Buddies Program since 2014, and previously was a junior counselor. He will be attending Fordham University in the fall to major in economics.

“Matthew is a bright, articulate and ambitious student who flourishes in an intellectually demanding setting,” Crossan said. “He has a gift of sharing his many talents with others by participating in many volunteer activities.”

Over in Shoreham-Wading River, Kelvin Ma, with a weighted GPA of 102.7, was named valedictorian. Graduating with an advanced regents diploma with mastery in math and science, Ma is a self-taught graphic designer and code designer who volunteered at Brookhaven National Lab during the past two summers. He was sponsored by Wikimedia Foundation to attend the Libre Graphics Meeting, where he gave a lecture on vector graphics and was awarded second place at the 2015 Long Island Junior Science and Engineering Fair.

A member of Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team, he was accepted into the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students as a freshman. He is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and awarded the Suffolk County Math Teachers Association Award several times. Ma, who earned the New York State Merit Scholarship for Academic Excellence, will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and major in engineering.

Nick Maritato also reached a peak performance level. With a weighted GPA of 101.2, he was named salutatorian and will be attending John Hopkins University in the fall, majoring in biomedical engineering.

An Eagle Scout, Maritato volunteered as a camp counselor, performed in summer pit orchestra and interned at St. Charles Hospital in the biomedical department. A member of the Nexus club, Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team, jazz band and varsity volleyball and track and field teams, he received a New York State Merit Scholarship for Academic Excellence, the Science Teachers’ Association of New York State 2015-16 outstanding senior science award, and Shoreham’s Ralph Gilorenzo humanitarian award.

“As a class, their leadership and commitment to public service and community, as well as personal, athletic, and academic successes are unparalleled,” Shoreham-Wading River principal Dan Holtzman said of the top of the class. “It is these attributes that make our school, district, and community the special place it is.”

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Wildcats can't overcome one-goal deficit as stellar season comes to an end

By Bill Landon

A one-goal Yorktown advantage proved too much for the Shoreham-Wading River boys’ lacrosse team to overcome, as the Wildcats’ stellar season came to an end with a 7-6 loss in the New York State semifinals Wednesday at Hofstra University.

As he’s done all postseason, junior midfielder Kevin Cutinella helped the team get on the board first, when he dished the ball to senior attack Jason Curran, who fired at the cage seven minutes in. Yorktown evened the scored with 29 seconds left in the opening quarter, but Shoreham retook the lead when eighth-grader Xavier Arline spun in front of the cage and, with an NBA-like jump shot, scored from high above the keeper’s stick to retake the lead. On the ensuing faceoff, Yorktown went the distance to retie the game, to mark the third goal scored in less than 20 seconds.

It was a new game heading into the second stanza, but neither team could pull away with a clear advantage. After a Yorktown goal, Shoreham-Wading River senior midfielder Jon Constant flicked the ball to junior attack Chris Gray, who fired a shot past the goalkeeper to even the score at 3-3 game.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Constant said previously of making it to this point with his team.

Again, Yorktown answered, but the Wildcats countered again, when Curran fed Gray on the cut, and drove his shot into the netting.

With both teams in a stalemate, Curran fed Constant on the cut this time, for a Wildcats lead in the first minute of the second half, but again Yorktown battled, scoring once at the end of the third, and again halfway through the fourth, for a 6-5 advantage.

“We made a mistake late in the game after a timeout where we didn’t have enough guys on the field,” said Shoreham Wading River head coach Mike Taylor. “I’m not sure how that happened, but someone wasn’t paying attention from the huddle and by the time I subbed a guy from the box it was too late.”

“It’s been a fun ride.”
—Jon Constant

With 1:11 left in regulation, the Wildcats went a man down for a slashing penalty that proved costly. Yorktown capitalized on the advantage to make it a two-goal game for the first time all afternoon.

With 11 seconds left and Shoreham back at full strength, Curran went the distance and buried a shot to draw within one goal with few precious seconds left. With five seconds remaining, the Wildcats ran out of time.

“This is a big-time moment in lacrosse and I think we were nervous at the beginning of the game,” Taylor said. “Yorktown is resilient — they’re methodical, they do several things well and they wear you down — they take advantage of when you make mistakes and every time we made a mistake they capitalized.”

Shoreham-Wading River finished the regular season 14-2 and had a tough postseason schedule leading up to the state semifinal round, picking off Eastport-South Manor, Comsewogue and Sayville for the Suffolk County Class B crown, before defeating Garden City for the Long Island Championship title to finish with an 18-2 record.

“It’s something special,” Taylor said previously of the team’s season. “I wish this could go on forever.”

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Kevin Cutinella leads Wildcats with four goals, receives championship plaque from parents

Jimmy Puckey doesn’t even like lacrosse. But now, he’s a champion.

“It’s not my favorite sport,” Puckey said. “It’s nothing like football, but you have to do what you have to do. You have to play.”

What would get him to like the sport more?

“More hitting,” he said. “Less getting hit with the ball also helps.”

What Puckey does between the pipes is special. And he did it for his Wildcats, making save after save when it counted to help Shoreham-Wading River to its first Long Island championship title since 2012, with an 8-6 win over Garden City Saturday at Hofstra University.

“Jimmy might not like lacrosse, but he’s playing for his friends, and he has such a passion for his brothers that he doesn’t want to let them down,” head coach Mike Taylor said. “He might not like lacrosse, but he loves his friends.”

It was a different first quarter from what teams have recently seen from the Wildcats, and junior Kevin Cutinella stole the show, finishing the game with four goals on five shots.

The midfielder scored early unassisted, and junior attack Chris Gray added a tally off an assist from senior attack Jason Curran with a man-up advantage for the 2-0 lead.

“He doesn’t panic, and we lean on him because he calms everyone down,” Taylor said of Cutinella. “He’s just a great kid.”

Puckey clipped the ball and made a save seven seconds later, and at the 5:42 mark, Cutinella scored his second goal off a pass from senior midfielder Jon Constant to finish a 3-0 run.

Garden City saved a shot by junior midfielder Joe Miller, and Puckey made another block before Garden City put its first point on the board with 1:40 left to end the scoring for the first quarter.

“Communication was key, not making too many errors on offense and just playing fast,” Cutinella said. “Just playing our game.”

Garden City scored four unanswered goals to take the lead, but Cutinella wasn’t having any of it, and passed the ball to junior Joe Miller who, with a back-door cut, leaped in front of the net and dumped it in for the tying goal with 22.8 seconds left in the first half.

“We have said that we haven’t really played four complete quarters, and I think even today, we played a great first quarter, a poor second quarter, and then a great third and fourth,” Taylor said. “I’m still waiting for four full quarters and when we do that I think we’ll win a state championship.”

Gray received two feeds from Miller, but both shots were blocked with Garden City heavily defending the team’s top scorer.

With 4:52 left in the third, Cutinella scored unassisted for his hat trick goal.

“They had the long pole on Jonny [Constant] which led me to have the shortstick defensive midfielder on me and I just took advantage of that,” Cutinella said. “We weren’t talking in the beginning and then we changed that around, and when our defense plays good, our offense plays good.”

After a few missed Wildcat shots, Constant scored unassisted for a 6-4 advantage with 27 seconds left in the quarter.

“We never beat Garden City and it was great to beat them here in my senior year,” he said. “We had to stop them on defense first and then we had to put them in on offense with great ball movement. The chemistry is good and it’s been a fun ride.”

Puckey, knowing what to do to secure the lead, batted the ball out of bounds to his left with 1.2 seconds on the clock.

“He just showed up and is playing his A game,” Cutinella said. “He likes lacrosse now.”

Cutinella’s parents, pre-planned, but surprisingly to their son, presented the team with the championship plaque.

“Seeing them on the field made my day even more,” he said. “You can’t really put the words together for that stuff. It’s a great experience and I love them. They’ve been there for me.”

Cutinella said this win means everything, adding that the team had one goal at the beginning of the season, and they’ve almost achieved it.

Taylor is also proud to see his team come through with this kind of success after the school scored its second consecutive Long Island championship crown in football this school year.

“This is what you work for the entire year and to see all the hard work pay off and to get to this moment, this is what you play for,” he said. “We’ll celebrate today, but I think now we have unfinished business. I have a lot of the football players on this squad and I think some of their successes is translating over onto the lacrosse field. The kids are playing well in big moments.”

He’s sad to see this season coming to a close, but couldn’t be more thrilled for the special moments these boys have had throughout this memorable season.

“The saddest moment is realizing right now I have four more practices left with these kids,” he said. “Having limited time with a special group of kids, I wish it could go on forever.”

One of the most special moments so far, was for him to see Cutinella receive the plaque from his parents, especially after the game he’d had.

“That’s an ironic moment — especially when it was planned prior to this — for him to have that type of game,” he said, fighting back tears. “These kids have been through so much tragedy, they just deserve this. I think someone might be looking down from above.”

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Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats win Suffolk County Class B title with 11-5 win over Sayville

Just call them the comeback kids.

For the second game in a row, Shoreham-Wading River juniors on the boys’ lacrosse team came up huge for the Wildcats.

At center field was Joe Miller, hunched over at the X under the hot sun Wednesday afternoon. He won 14 of 18 faceoffs, helping spark a huge second-half run that turned a 5-2 halftime deficit into an 11-5 win over Sayville for the Suffolk County Class B title.

“Joe Miller, they had no answer for him,” junior attack Chris Gray said. “He was giving us all those possessions and it was a hell of a game for him.”

According to Miller, he was just doing his job.

“I knew I did pretty well against them the first time and I just needed to do my job so the team could get the win,” he said. “It definitely helped, but everyone had an equal role.”

The two fed off each other — after a Jon Constant goal, Miller’s faceoff helped Gray to a goal of his own at the 9:35 mark of the third quarter, to make it a one-goal game.

Next, it was junior midfielder Kevin Cutinella, who received a pass from Gray to tie the game, like he did against Comsewogue in the semifinals.

“Me and Kevin are neighbors and he’s a great friend of mine,” Gray said. “We’ve been doing that since we were in third grade, so it means a lot to come out here and do this on such a big stage.”

Cutinella spread the credit around.

“There was just all around good passing and it opened up gaps for me to shoot,” Cutinella said. “They slowed us down in the first two quarters and we realized that that’s not how we play. We play fast, so we sped it up in the second half. We weren’t complacent, and we never settled down.”

He said he felt fortunate and was happy he was able to score the tying goal for the second straight game. He connected with his pal two minutes later, to help Gray to his hat trick goal.

What was no doubt the play of the game, though, was Miller’s second score that gave the Wildcats a three-goal lead. Hunched over again, in a familiar position, this time he found himself in front of the cage. Miller made a check that knocked the ball loose, and then, according to Gray, he “did his magic.”

“I made a little check and the ball ended up on the ground,” Miller said. “I had my back to the goal and I knew where it was, and I just flung it toward there and hoped for the best. It helped me out with the way I can position my stick.”

Being honest, Gray said his team was nervous trailing at halftime, but said head coach Mike Taylor kept the Wildcats settled.

“He told us not to get down on ourselves and we know we’ve been there before, just like last game,” Gray said. “We wanted to stick together and we kept the motto of playing together, playing for each other, and we really started to build off each other.”

The defense was solid in the last game, when the Wildcats held Comsewogue scoreless in the second half. The boys did the same against Sayville on Wednesday, with senior goalie Jimmy Puckey making nine saves between the pipes.

Gray pointed out that the team knows how good winning feels, since most of the guys are on the football squad and went undefeated in back-to-back seasons there. But he said that winning in lacrosse felt unreal, especially coming off a season a year prior, when the team went undefeated and were the favorite to go all the way until Sayville sent them home in the semifinals.

The win means a lot to Gray, because he was able to do it with all his brothers, and Cutinella felt the same.

“It’s one of a kind,” he said of the sensation, laughing. “It feels better than football. Don’t tell coach I said that.”

File photo

A teen was killed when his car overturned in the woods on William Floyd Parkway early on Saturday.

The Suffolk County Police Department said the Shoreham 19-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene after a police officer observed his 2005 Suzuki overturned in the northbound media near Whiskey Road at 5:45 a.m.

There were no other cars involved in the crash that killed the teen, identified as Kevin Callejas, according to police.

Detectives from the 7th Squad are investigating and impounded the Suzuki for a safety check.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call the squad at 631-852-8752.

Community helps raise over $2,000 in Tom Cutinella's memory

By Bill Landon

Tom Cutinella remains an integral part of the Shoreham-Wading River community.

On May 15, the boys’ lacrosse team held its second annual car wash to honor its fallen friend and teammate, who died following a head-on collision with an opposing player on the football field in 2014.

The event kicked off at the Wading River School — veterans and seniors could get their car cleaned free of charge, and there was a suggested donation of $5.40 in recognition of Cutinella’s retired No. 54 jersey. All proceeds went to the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Foundation, which awards scholarships to Shoreham-Wading River and other Suffolk County seniors who meet the eligibility guidelines, which can be found at www.tom54.org.

Event organizer and Wading River resident Paul Curran, whose son Jason was a teammate of Cutinella’s, said the turnout was a testament to the respect the area has for Cutinella’s legacy, especially with so many kids pitching in to help out.

“With Thomas, veterans and seniors were two groups that were especially close to his heart — he was that way from a very young age,” Paul Curran said. “He was close to his grandmother who lived with him, which had a lot to do with it, and they’re a very close-knit family.”

Shoreham-Wading River senior Jon Constant said his teammates just want to continue to do things in their friend’s memory, and that’s what made the car wash easy to put together.

“We just wanted to help out the community, and the car wash seemed to be the right thing to do,” he said. “Keeping his memory alive is important because he was a great kid and we’ll never forget him.”

Constant said the washing started at 9 a.m., and by noon the kids had been cleaning non-stop.

“Who knows the number of cars we’ve washed, but we want to keep it hot,” he said.

Three hours into the event, Curran said that although seniors and veterans could get their car washed for free, and many came through the line, everyone wanted to contribute $5.40.

According to Curran, in addition to the scholarships given out each year, the foundation also donates to traumatic brain injury research.

Manning the rinse team was Wading River resident Brian Sheehan, a family friend whose son Chris also played with Cutinella. Brian Sheehan said the event is a great way to honor Cutinella’s memory and keep his legacy alive.

“[We do] anything to keep Thomas’ name at the top of everyone’s mind — it’s a privilege to be part of this annual event,” he said. “This is the second year and I plan to participate as long as I live in this community. It’s a great way to keep Thomas in our hearts and to raise money at the same time.”

Curran said last years’ event raised more than $2,500. This year, there was a similar turnout, which he said is a reflection of the community.

“Word of mouth is what drives this — social media and the youth leagues, and once it goes through there, you have hundreds of families,” he said.

This year, the event raised more that $2,000.

“I just think it’s a great way to show support for Tom and it’s a great way for [everyone] to come together and show their support, and we have fun doing it,” said senior Chris Rosati, another teammate of Cutinella’s. “This is definitely very important. It shows our support for him, which has a great impact on the community.”

Kevin Cutinella, Thomas’ younger brother, said that along with keeping the memory of his brother alive, the community outpour inspires his family.

“It means a lot to us that people are doing this without us telling them to do it, to keep Tom’s memory alive,” Kevin Cutinella said. “It means a lot to our family, it brings smiles to our faces and it keeps us there as a family.”

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Lt. Thomas Verbeeck is a pilot serving with Wing 11 of the U.S. Navy. Photo from the U.S. Navy

A 2007 Shoreham-Wading River graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the largest base in the Southeast Region and third largest in the nation.

Lt. Thomas Verbeeck is a pilot serving with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11. As a pilot, Verbeeck is responsible for the safe flight of aircraft, navigation and organizing flight plans and missions.

“What I enjoy most about my job is working with proficient and motivated sailors,” Verbeeck said.

Beginning in the 1960s, the P-3C Orion, a land-based, long-range anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft, replaced the P-2V Neptune fleet. After 50 years of faithful service, the P-3C Orion is being phased out, according to Navy officials.

The P-8A is a modified Boeing airframe featuring a fully connected, state-of-the-art open architecture mission system designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

According to Navy officials, Wing 11’s history and reputation remain unparalleled since being commissioned on August 15, 1942. Throughout the decades, Wing 11 has continued to fly combat missions in direct support of the troops on the ground and delivered traditional maritime capabilities, real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“The U.S. Navy sometimes asks the impossible of our people. It is sailors that make the impossible possible,” said Capt. Anthony Corapi, CPRW-11. “Lt. Verbeeck is one example of a selfless servant of our nation. These heroes ask for very little recognition and perform their daily job with pride and professionalism, defending freedom and our way of life around the world.”

Verbeeck is part of a crew that is preparing for deployment in the future.

“This command has a tight-knit family atmosphere,” Verbeeck said. “I enjoy the camaraderie I have among my fellow crew. Serving in the Navy, I’ve learned that patience is a virtue and it’s important to trust those below you as well as above you. Given time, people will surprise you with the results of their hard work.”

— Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

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Rocky Point’s Sara Giammarella beats a swarm of players to the ground ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The team may be young, but Rocky Point girls’ lacrosse is mighty.

With 13 seconds left on the clock in sudden-death overtime, sophomore midfielder Madison Sanchez scored her fourth goal of Tuesday’s game to give the Eagles what is believed to be their program’s first win over Shoreham-Wading River in school history.

Shannon Maroney makes a save for Rocky Point. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Shannon Maroney makes a save for Rocky Point. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I thought, ‘I have to do this,’ I put my heart into it, I knew I needed to get it in, and I did,” Sanchez said of the final goal that gave her team the 10-9 victory. “Relief — that’s what it feels like. I’m speechless. It felt really good, especially considering we’ve never beat Shoreham before.”

As her team toppled her to the ground, there was another shining star for the Eagles out on the field being celebrated. Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Maroney made 20 stops in goal, including one with three seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, and another 30 seconds into the three-minute session.

“We were really great on defense and we moved the ball quick on offense,” she said. “We pulled for each other when we needed to. We came through when we needed the ball. We worked really hard today.”

Rocky Point (6-3 in Division II) struggled to win the draw all evening, but when the Eagles gained possession, they made it count. With 13:49 left in the game, Sanchez scored her hat trick goal when she gained possession at midfield and charged up to the front of the cage to put her team up by two, 8-6.

Shoreham-Wading River junior midfielder Sophia Triandafils wouldn’t let her team go down quietly though, scoring at the 12:16 mark and again at 6:27, after Maroney made back-to-back saves, to tie the game 8-8.

“We had sloppy moments on the field,” said Triandafils, who also added two assists. “It’s hard going against a team that has so many athletes like Rocky Point. You give them an inch and they take a mile, and here and there we gave them a few inches and we just couldn’t come back from it.”

Rocky Point’s Madison Sanchez is checked by Shoreham’s Jesse Arline. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Rocky Point’s Madison Sanchez is checked by Shoreham’s Jesse Arline. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Wildcats (7-3 in Division II) showed their resiliency, keeping within striking distance each time their opponent scored. Triandafils said her team just needs a little more work.

“We have some good glimpses here and there of the team that we could be,” she said. “We have so much potential on the team, and once we put together a full game, I think we can compete with anyone, play with anyone and beat anyone.”

Freshman attack and midfielder Brianna Lamoureux scored her second goal of the game with 39 seconds left in regulation to give Rocky Point a 9-8 lead, but Shoreham-Wading River’s Maddie Farron tied it up to force overtime just 10 seconds later.

The three minutes were almost up when Sanchez found the back of the net.

While the loss snapped Shoreham-Wading River’s seven-game win streak, the win keeps Rocky Point at the top of the league leaderboard, among undefeated Bayport-Blue Point and Mount Sinai and Eastport-South Manor.

Shoreham’s Sofia Triandafils and Rocky Point’s Christina Bellissimo fight for the loose ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Shoreham’s Sofia Triandafils and Rocky Point’s Christina Bellissimo fight for the loose ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

On April 28, Rocky Point travels to Harborfields (6-2 in Division II) at 4 p.m., while Shoreham-Wading River hosts Hauppauge (4-4 in Division II) at 4 p.m.

Although Rocky Point is still without its leading goal scorer in freshman midfielder Brianna Carrasquillo, who netted 34 goals in eight games this season, head coach Dan Spallina is looking forward to where his young team is taking him.

“This group is young, energetic, and there’s such a bond between them,” he said. “As a coach who’s been doing this for a long time, it’s something you can’t bring to the girls. They have to have it on their own, and they do. We’ve been talking about leadership and we’ve been talking about heart and for Maddie Sanchez to take that one-on-one and beat out a girl that should be up for All-American speaks to the type of player that she is. She’s kind of a pass-first kind of girl, but she deserves it. She deserves a win like this. They all do.”