CLASS B SEMIFINALS | PANTHERS 4, WILDCATS 0
Five weeks ago it would have seemed implausible for the Shoreham-Wading River field hockey team to be where it was Monday. The Wildcats were 1-5 then and staring at the bottom half of the Division III standings.
But a remarkable turnaround, which saw the Wildcats win nine of their final 10 games, propelled them to the Section XI Class B semifinals. The only bad news was the first-round playoff matchup pitted No. 4 Shoreham against the defending Long Island champion Miller Place Panthers, the same team Shoreham shocked a few weeks earlier with an overtime win to ruin their perfect season.
The Panthers, who have their sights set on a return trip to the states, weren’t about to settle for another loss to their local rivals. The Panthers rolled past Shoreham Monday, 4-0, to advance into the county championship.
The Wildcats, despite being relatively close on penalty corners, couldn’t overcome a late goal shortly before the first half ended. The Wildcats knew they had little room for error and would likely need to win a 1-0 game in order to prevail. The air came out after Miller Place struck first on a goal from Maggie Revera. A minute later, Ariana Espositio scored another and the Wildcats went into halftime down 2-0, a mountainous deficit against Miller Place.
Ally Hutzler scored twice in the second half for Miller Place, which will play Sayville Thursday for the county crown. Sayville won 4-1 against Rocky Point Monday.
The Panthers finished with a 13-8 advantage on penalty corners. Shoreham goalkeeper Emily DeGennaro made 11 saves.