WILDCATS 12, TORNADOES 3
There were no sticks tossed in the air, no spirited sprint to the goalkeeper as the buzzer sounded on Shoreham-Wading River’s regular season Friday night.
A 12-3 victory over Harborfields locked up the Division II crown for the Wildcats and a No. 1 seed in the Class C playoffs. To emerge on top of the 22-team division after a grueling regular season was an important goal for the Wildcats.
But they also know it’s just the beginning.
“To go 13-1 with the teams we played is an accomplishment, but we tell the kids that now the season starts,” said Shoreham coach Tom Rotanz.
As the defending Class B county champions, the Wildcats will enter the postseason vying for their ninth county title in program history. They won seven straight from 2001-07 before adding their eighth last season.
Their path through the postseason won’t be as arduous as last season. The next seven teams in the Division II power rankings are all Class B teams. The Wildcats will likely open up May 24 against the John Glenn Knights, who are 12th in the standings and are 8-7 overall.
Bayport-Blue Point and Mount Sinai will face off in the other semifinal.
The Wildcats won 15-7 against Glenn in the regular season.
In a regular season that saw the Wildcats play tough game after tough game, they got a rare laugher to end on. The Tornadoes came into the game having already been eliminated from the postseason, leaving little fire left on the team’s Senior Night.
The Wildcats (13-3 overall) dominated possession and never allowed the Tornadoes to get into any rhythm. They fought to ground balls and used a fierce riding game to make life difficult for Harborfields all game.
Shoreham led 7-0 before Harborfields scored its first goal in the waning minutes of the second quarter.
Shoreham junior Tim Rotanz, who recently became the school’s all-time leader in career points, led the Wildcats with three goals and two assists. Senior Trevor Brosco added two goals and an assist. Senior James Higgins, freshman Ryan Bray and sophomore Hunter Hayes all scored a pair as well.
Rotanz came into the season fifth all-time in career points after three years on varsity. His five points Friday brought his career total up to 293. Liam Cerveny (’02) held the previous record of 271.
“He is absolutely clueless,” Tom Rotanz said. “I think it’s probably one of his better qualities is that he doesn’t get caught up in that. He wants to win and he loves playing with his friends.”
Tim Rotanz delivered a bullet into the cage off a feed from Hayes late in the third quarter for his final goal. At that point most of the starters were already headed to the bench and Rotanz quickly joined them.
Shoreham emptied the bench in the second half, even rotating three goalies into the mix.
“I think setting the tone was Trevor and Mike Loscalzo with the face-offs,” Tom Rotanz said. “We thought that was going to be a problem because they have a very good face-off man. But our guys really stepped up.”
Harborfields didn’t have much to cheer about, but the Tornadoes could celebrate a nifty goal late in the game. The Wildcats turned the ball over with their goalie caught way upfield. Harborfields midfielder Brian Shalley scooped up the ball, recognized an empty net and heaved the ball from beyond midfield into the cage.