SUFFOLK CLASS C SEMIFINALS | WILDCATS 19, KNIGHTS 2
Shoreham-Wading River has at least one outsider supporting its quest to win the New York State Class C boys lacrosse championship: Elwood/John Glenn coach Kevin Lavey.
Lavey certainly could attest to the Wildcats’ all-around lacrosse abilities after their 19-2 home win over Glenn in a Suffolk County semifinal on Friday.
“They’ve got my vote to win the state championship,” he said. “I think they have enough power to go all the way, no doubt about it.”
When he heard about Lavey’s endorsement, Shoreham coach Tom Rotanz laughed. “We’ve got to win,” he said. “We’ve got to win Tuesday.”
That’s when they were scheduled to meet Bayport-Blue Point for the county crown at the Dowling Sports Complex.
On Friday, the top-seeded Wildcats put in a complete performance on both ends of the field and brought their record to 16-1. They did little wrong from the opening face-off to the final whistle.
All-American Tim Rotanz led the way, scoring five goals and assisting on four others. But it was far from a one-man show. Hunter Hayes contributed four goals and three assists and Ryan Bray had a hat trick. Christian Clarkin and Troy Miller added two goals apiece. Anthony Visintin, Jake Kavanagh and Tristian Capes each finished with a goal.
Asked if there was a way to stop Shoreham, Lavey replied: “You’ve just got to play smart and not make a mistake. You’ve got to play mistake-free and maybe try to take Rotanz out of the equation, but they have other guys who will step it up.”
Coach Rotanz admitted he was surprised by the margin of victory.
“We always kind of match up well against them, but today everything seemed to go our way,” he said. “Very unselfish, everyone was sharing the ball, so we’re pleased. Obviously, we weren’t expecting to win by that margin. But we’re pretty pumped that the kids stayed pretty unselfish. It was nice.”
Needless to say, Lavey walked away impressed with the Wildcats.
“We got our butts kicked,” he said. “You know what? They’re a strong and excellent team. You can’t take anything away from them. Unfortunately, we did not come to play today. We didn’t even possess the ball in the first half. We had two possessions in the first half. You can’t win games when you don’t have the ball. We made ourselves a big, big hole and we didn’t do too much to get out of it.”
The Wildcats started to dig that hole for the visitors only 20 seconds into the encounter.
Kavanagh won the opening face-off against Griffin Ryan, but he lost possession. Glenn entered Shoreham territory, but Ryan Stein knocked the ball away. Alex Houlihan gained possession and fed Rotanz, who scored for a 1-0 lead.
“It was a great takeaway by him,” Tim Rotanz said. “He got the ball and we came down. Once we got that, Jake knew we needed the momentum and he just kept going and kept winning the face-offs.”
The Wildcats grabbed a 13-0 halftime lead and extended their advantage to 17-0 before Glenn (7-11) scored with 4:09 remaining in the game.
Just as impressive as the attack was the relentless defense. Shoreham played the entire 48 minutes as though it was clinging to a one-goal lead.
With Shoreham enjoying a 5-0 lead, Brett Friedman demonstrated some of that defense as he leaped through the air near the sideline to intercept a pass.
“You can’t teach that,” Tom Rotanz said. “That’s desire. That’s a desire to win and whatever it takes. He’s one of the reasons why we do well.”
The Wildcats never stopped.
“We like to have that intensity with us the whole game,” Tim Rotanz said. “We didn’t want to let up because we knew they had a great face-off man that could come back quick and the defense played just outstanding today.”
Added coach Rotanz: “I guess they don’t take anything for granted. They just play our style of lacrosse, which is push it. They set picks, look for the crease, set picks, look for the crease. We got a lot of goals on the doorstep. Teams that try to run a zone against us, we overload the zone, man to man, we set picks. They work hard, they work hard.”
Shoreham hopes that success continues for several more games.