When the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats bumped up to Class B last year, effecivtely ending their run of four state titles in Class C, a new team had to emerge.
That team was Christian Brothers Academy of Syracuse. Without any seniors in the starting lineup, the Brothers won the state title with a one-goal win over Mount Sinai in the state championship, bringing home the title in the school’s first-ever trip to the state tournament.
The Brothers returned their entire team this year and have steamrolled through their schedule to get back to Cortland. CBA enters Friday’s semifinals at SUNY Cortland with a 20-1 record, losing only by one goal to West Genesee, a team playing in the Class A final four.
[The News-Review will be reporting live from Cortland beginning at 9:15 a.m. Friday]
The Brothers faced a scare early in the playoffs when they won by only a goal against Skaneateles, 9-8. Skaneateles is a team Shoreham played in the state tournament three straight years from 2006-08. The Wildcats lost the first year and then won twice against the Lakers in the state finals.
CBA dominated its next two games, winning 21-6 against Massena and 21-4 against Owego Free Academy.
The Brothers are a deep team with multiple scoring threats, many of whom are signed or committed to Division I schools.
Marisa Romeo, still only a junior, has put up monster numbers this season with 127 points. She’s committed to Harvard.
Junior Taylor Poplawski and senior Caroline Webster both eclipsed 80 points this season. Poplawski was the MVP of the tournament last year. Webster is headed to Syracuse next year.
The Brothers’ goalkeeper, Courtney Henderson, is signed with Albany and Sophie Racciati, who has 61 points, is signed with Binghamton.
As is often the case when two good teams face, a big key will be draw controls, an area the Wildcats have excelled most of the season. Juniors Jess Angerman and Alex Fehmel share the duties and both take the draws in different style.
The Wildcats will also need a big effort from their freshman goalkeeper Lauren Daly, who came up with 15 saves in the county finals.
Shoreham got off to a fast start against North Shore in the Long Island final, which would be huge in this game. The Wildcats would much rather work from ahead than have to come back against a high-powered team like CBA.
Last year, however, the Brothers trailed most of the game in the state finals before rallying to beat Mount Sinai.
The winner of Friday’s semifinal faces either Rye (Section 1) or Honeoye Falls-Lima (Section 5). The Wildcats are 2-0 against HF-L in the state tournament.
The state finals are 9:30 a.m. Saturday.