There was palpable optimism surrounding the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team at the start of the 2017 season. And for good reason.
The Wildcats returned one of the top goaltenders in New York in Lydia Kessel, a senior and four-year varsity starter who had led the team to the county championship as a freshman. During her varsity career, the Wildcats have been a fierce defensive team that allows few goals. That trend continued this year.
Thanks to the offensive emergence of Nicky Constant alongside Kessel’s dominance in goal, the Wildcats quickly developed into one of the top teams in the county.
Constant, a junior striker, compiled one of the top offensive seasons in program history. Whether man-marked or double-teamed, it didn’t matter. She found a way to put the ball in the back of the net.
In the Wildcats’ Class A quarterfinal against Hauppauge, it was Constant who broke a tie with a goal that helped propel the team to a 3-1 victory. In the semifinals against John Glenn, she delivered again with the game-winning goal.
It all set the stage for the unbeaten Wildcats to face perennial power Islip in the county finals. The Wildcats trailed by one in the second half when none other than Constant scored to tie the game. Neither team could break through in overtime, sending the game to penalty kicks.
A dramatic game ended with Shoreham on top, as the Wildcats celebrated their first title since 2014.
“Tonight’s game was a great game,” coach Adrian Gilmore said afterward.
It took until overtime of the Long Island championship before the Wildcats ultimately lost their first game of the season. North Shore won 1-0 and the Wildcats ended the season with an 18-1-1 record.