The way the summer has gone for the Shoreham-Wading River varsity boys soccer team, one goal would have been enough. But the Wildcats got two, just in case.
Two first-half tallies and another superior defensive effort propelled Shoreham-Wading River to a 2-0 victory over Center Moriches in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools championship game Monday evening at Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram. The win improved the Wildcats’ summer record to 11-0-1, with all 11 victories coming on shutouts.
“The defense has been playing great all summer,” said Shoreham-Wading River coach Andrew Moschetti, lauding the defensive work of players like Anthony Cusano, Garrett Budney, Travis Qualley, Michael McDonnell and Vincent Alese, along with goaltenders Evan Kearney and Adam Pietrowski, who have split time in the nets.
“The guys in the back, with the two keepers, to only give up two goals all season? That’s a pretty solid defense,” Moschetti added. “They say defense wins championships. So it seems to work.”
The victory pushes Shoreham-Wading River into the overall Brookhaven championship game Wednesday against Sachem North, which defeated Northport, 1-0, in the large schools title game. Wednesday’s game will be at 6:15 p.m. at Diamond in the Pines, and the winner of that game will face the Town of Babylon champion Thursday at St. Joseph’s College.
Moschetti expected the Wildcats to be good this summer, thanks to nine returning varsity starters and 14 seniors — just maybe not along the lines of 31 goals for and only two allowed in 12 games. “I didn’t know what to expect during the summer, but they’ve all been playing great,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for these guys to come up since they were freshmen, and now they’re starting to jell together, and it’s senior year, you know. They’re older now, they know the game, they know each other, and it’s showing on the field.”
Shoreham won the Brookhaven small schools regular-season championship by finishing 8-0-1, the only blemish a 2-2 tie with Mattituck in the third game. That turned out to be the only game in which the Wildcats allowed any goals.
Shoreham-Wading River advanced to the small schools title game with a 2-0 playoff win over Bayport-Blue Point, followed by a 1-0 win over Miller Place in the semifinals. Center Moriches blanked Southold and Eastport/South Manor in its two playoff games by identical 1-0 scores.
The Wildcats dominated possession in Monday’s final against Center Moriches, limiting the opposition to only a handful of chances and even fewer shots that were actually on net.
Shoreham-Wading River opened the scoring with 12 minutes left in the first half when Charles DeMaio scored off a cross from William Mileski. Three minutes later, Greg Canelly fired a direct kick from 25 yards out past Center Moriches keeper Jeff Carpenter, and the Wildcats led at halftime, 2-0.
The second half saw more outstanding defense by the Wildcats. Pietrowski made two solid saves, and Cusano foiled another Center Moriches scoring opportunity by running down an attacker midway through the half.
Moschetti noted that the small schools title is the first won by the Shoreham-Wading River boys in his four seasons coaching the summer team; he won a summer title previously coaching the Shoreham girls. He said while winning is “great,” it’s not what the summer season is about.
“I never really stress winning in the summer,” he said. “It’s more of an opportunity for the kids to keep playing together, for me to see some of the younger kids who didn’t play varsity last year. That’s really the emphasis.”
That said, winning a summer title is a just reward for the hard work the team has put in the past three months.
“It’s a good feeling; the kids are excited,” Moschetti said. “They’ve been playing well, they’ve been training hard in the summer, working their butts off. The seniors have had them running twice a week at the track, kind of knowing that we might have something special here, and they want to be prepared for the [fall] season.”