Xavier Arline, a magician with a ball on his lacrosse stick, put on quite a show.
It wasn’t so much an act, though, just Arline being Arline and letting his creativity flourish. The X-Man was extraordinary.
Arline pulled a series of rabbits out of his hat in leading Shoreham-Wading River to an 18-6 thrashing of Miller Place Thursday at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in Shoreham. Showing he has substance to go with his style, the sophomore attack recorded a career-high seven goals from 12 shots to go with three assists and three ground balls in the Suffolk County Division II game. Among them were some splendid moments of flash.
“Unbelievable,” said senior attack Tim Cairo, who had three goals and two assists. “Every time, he never fails to impress.”
In the first half alone, Arline had six goals and two assists, producing oohs and aahs from spectators.
It took Arline 7 minutes, 15 seconds to fire in his first goal of the game, but it was his first assist moments later that dazzled. Arline said he was about to dodge long-stick midfielder Anthony Filippetti when he lost his footing and started to fall.
“While I was going down I always keep an eye out because you’re going down to the ground, you might as well try to look for someone,” he said. “I saw Timmy so I just threw it behind my back. I didn’t know he had caught it.”
Cairo not only caught it, but scored off the sensational pass for a 5-0 lead.
“We always make eye contact with each other,” said Cairo, who called Arline the most talented player he has ever played with. “I knew when to cut. He sees me, and I knew it was coming.”
Arline pumped in three straight goals to open the second quarter. The second of those, off a pass from Zach Colucci, was a work of art. Arline released a shot from behind his back and over his shoulder to beat Miller Place’s busy goalie, Joe Aveni (seven saves).
“Ever since I was little I’ve always been practicing that shot because it’s not so much a hot dog type of shot, but it’s a necessary shot because it’s a low angle,” Arline said. “So, it’s definitely something to put in your toolbox that I always bring out once in a while. It adds excitement to the game.”
As did Arline’s sixth goal. With the final seconds of the second quarter ticking down, Jack Schirtzer’s long pass found Arline on the left side, from where he ripped a shot in as the buzzer sounded, making it 13-2.
“Xavier was definitely feeling it today,” coach Michael Taylor said. “He had a good game. Today it seemed like he could do no wrong.”
Does Arline surprise him sometimes?
“We see him every day in practice,” Taylor said. “He’s very creative. I do promote him trying to be creative. He’s trying to score any way he can. That’s his job, right?”
Arline, who has verbally committed to North Carolina, raised his season totals to 27 goals and 19 assists, quite a haul from eight games.
“The most important thing to me is that we’re winning games,” he said. “Every game I produce, not to see myself up there on the leaderboards, but to help my team win because I know that, for myself as a producer, I need to produce to help my team win games.”
Arline has been producing and Shoreham (6-2, 6-1) has been winning. The Wildcats were dominant against their rivals from Miller Place (3-6, 3-4). The statistics didn’t lie. Shoreham held one-sided advantages in shots, 33-18, faceoffs, 19-8, and ground balls, 30-12. The Wildcats held a 4-0 lead before Miller Place took its first shot.
Shoreham received two goals from Dominick Visintin, a goal and two assists by Kyle Boden as well as a goal and an assist each from Gavin Gregorek (seven ground balls) and Schirtzer. Anthony Cimino, John Schwarz and Jack Betcher also scored. Mike Wood went 11-for-13 on faceoffs.
Anthony Seymour and Patrick Doyen had two goals each for Miller Place.
On this day, though, Arline and Co. were too much for the Panthers.
“I’ve seen a lot of players and he’s at the highest of those levels,” Taylor said. “I think the sky’s the limit. Here’s a kid that doesn’t take anything for granted. He works very hard at practice, and he’s here early shooting and stays late shooting, and hits the weight room. He does everything you’re supposed to do. He does everything right.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River players before their 18-6 defeat of Miller Place. (Credit: Bob Liepa)