10/20/14 7:47pm
10/20/2014 7:47 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Emily Sopko spent the second half Monday playing a different position than she's used to. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Emily Sopko spent the second half Monday playing a different position than she’s used to. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

Emily Sopko’s role on the soccer field is to help prevent goals. On defense for Shoreham-Wading River, she and her teammates accomplish that goal to near perfection.

At 14-0-1, the Wildcats are in the midst of one their finest seasons in program history. A win in their regular season finale Wednesday would lock up an undefeated regular season heading into the playoffs.  (more…)

08/08/14 12:07am
08/08/2014 12:07 AM
Meg Kelly, who scored one goal and assisted on another for Shoreham-Wading River, boots the ball upfield against Brentwood. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Meg Kelly, who scored one goal and assisted on another for Shoreham-Wading River, boots the ball upfield against Brentwood. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

For the first time this summer, perhaps, the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team’s defense, its bedrock, was shaken.

The Wildcats had looked in control of the Town of Brookhaven Summer League championship game Thursday evening pretty much the whole time, and then there was cause for concern. A late flukish Brentwood goal made things interesting. (more…)

08/06/14 12:00pm
08/06/2014 12:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen scored the game-winning goal Tuesday night against Miller Place. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen scored the game-winning goal Tuesday night against Miller Place. (Credit: Bill Landon)

With a shortened roster of just 14 players Tuesday night, the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team persevered long enough against a deeper Miller Place team to emerge 1-0 winners in the Town of Brookhaven small school championship. (more…)

08/01/14 8:14pm
08/01/2014 8:14 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Alex Kuhnle, left, and Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci competing for possession of the ball. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Alex Kuhnle, left, and Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci competing for possession of the ball. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The Port Jefferson girls soccer team wasn’t beaten by Miley Cyrus, but the actress/singer sure didn’t help.

While some of the Port Jefferson players attended a Cyrus concert at Jones Beach, the Royals were left with only eight players for their Town of Brookhaven Summer League small school semifinal against Shoreham-Wading River on Friday evening.

It wasn’t enough.


07/31/14 9:13pm
07/31/2014 9:13 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Alexandra Kuhnle, on the ball, and Megan Kelly during Thursday's quarterfinal against Center Moriches. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Alexandra Kuhnle, on the ball, and Megan Kelly during Thursday’s quarterfinal against Center Moriches. (Credit: Garret Meade)

For the record, the Shoreham-Wading River summer girls soccer team doesn’t have two players wearing No. 9 uniforms. It may seem that way sometimes, but that’s only because Megan Kelly can appear to be in two places at the same time.

The truth is, Kelly doesn’t have a clone on the field with her. She just does a lot of running and covers a lot of ground. (more…)

07/23/14 12:00pm
07/23/2014 12:00 PM
Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Alex Kuhnle recently met soccer star Alex Morgan. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Alex Kuhnle recently met soccer star Alex Morgan. (Credit: Bill Landon)

In her travels across the country playing soccer, Alex Kuhnle had met big-time stars before. Mostly, though, the encounters were brief and in a group.

As a freshman at Shoreham-Wading River last year, Kuhnle made a big impact on varsity as a striker. A quick, skilled player, Kuhnle has already generated interest from Division I schools like UCLA and the University of Miami, Shoreham coach Adrian Gilmore said. (more…)

07/31/13 1:49am
07/31/2013 1:49 AM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River's Kerri Clark was involved in the give-and-go that led to Emily Sopko's goal.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s Kerri Clark was involved in the give-and-go that led to Emily Sopko’s goal.

The Shoreham-Wading River High School girls soccer coach, Adrian Gilmore, enjoyed a rare luxury in her team’s game against Miller Place  on Tuesday night. She was able to deploy a full starting 11 in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League playoff match at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.

Despite the opposition having three substitutes and the Wildcats none, Shoreham managed to secure a 1-0 victory, handing Miller Place (8-1-1) its first defeat of the summer and move into the quarterfinals.

For their previous game, a 2-0 victory over Port Jefferson, the Wildcats used only eight players.

“We always have no subs or play down a player,” midfielder Courtney Clasen said. “We play through it.”

The Wildcats (5-5) will play Sayville (9-1) at The Wedge in Mount Sinai on Thursday evening. Sayville, which recorded a 1-0 playoff win over Port Jefferson on Tuesday, defeated Shoreham during the regular season, 1-0.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Emily Sopko, who scored the lone goal in the win over Miller Place.

Gilmore agreed, saying Sayville was “a tough competitor. I didn’t have my goalie and we lost on a penalty kick. We’ll see what Thursday brings. I’m excited.”

“Again, I don’t remember having that many subs standing next to us,” Gilmore said, laughing.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Theresa Bender of Shoreham-Wading River making a pass during her team's 1-0 playoff win over Miller Place.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Theresa Bender of Shoreham-Wading River making a pass during her team’s 1-0 playoff win over Miller Place.

That has been a theme this summer for the Wildcats. Since the Brookhaven League does not demand mandatory attendance and players go on vacation and have summer jobs and other commitments, it’s not unusual for teams to field shorthanded teams.

Shoreham had to forfeit one game at Sachem because only six girls showed up.

“We had to drive all the way to Sachem,” goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop said. “It was pouring rain. There was only six of us huddled under an umbrella. It’s always we don’t have enough girls. We have the talent, it’s just people have other things going on and they can’t show up.”

When Tuesday’s game kicked off, Shoreham had all of its players in the starting lineup. Miller Place had three players on the bench and its coach substituted freely.

Because there were no substitutes available, every Shoreham player knew she would have to go the full 60 minutes in the game of two 30-minute halves. In fact, the Wildcats were forced to go down to 10 players early in the second half when Taylor Chaimowitz was taken out for six minutes after sustaining an ankle injury.

“I just play until I know it’s over,” said Clasen, a three-sport star who also competes in basketball and track. “I don’t really think about it. I just play. If I’m dying, I just think, ‘Well if we win this we go on.’ ”

Added Sopko: “We just think about winning the game and moving forward in the season. We think about the season coming up. We just hope that we’re this good.”

Shoreham was missing three starters who were on vacation — sweeper Kate Birkmire, striker Megan Kelly, who has been tied as the league’s leading goal scorer, and incoming freshman Alexandra Kuhnie.

But the Wildcats came through. Wynkoop grabbed everything that was shot or sent her way. Clasen set the pace in the midfield and Sopko tallied midway through the opening half.

“They do a great job of possessing the ball, playing to feet and I think a difference tonight, just playing smart,” Gilmore said.

Sopko broke the deadlock with 14 minutes 9 seconds remaining in the first half as she scored inside the penalty area on a give-and-go with Kerri Clark.

Sopko admitted she did not remember much about her goal. “When I shoot and score, I don’t really think about it,” she said. “I just worry about getting the ball into the back of the net.”

Last season the Wildcats struggled at times, dropping several games by a goal. But given a promising talent pool and the encouraging summer results, Gilmore was optimistic for the fall as she walked off the artificial turf field on a beautiful summer night.

“It’s a good indicator of how they look for the fall and our JV team is in first place for summer league also, so that just speaks for the talent that’s coming up throughout the program,” she said.

09/14/11 11:02am
09/14/2011 11:02 AM

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Ashley Drozd, one of Riverhead's two all-county players, gives maximum effort, said the team's new coach, Hassan Olowu.

This is Hassan Olowu’s first head coaching job beyond middle school, and he’s excited about being the new coach of the Riverhead High School girls soccer team.

“I’m buzzing,” Olowu, a 34-year-old English citizen, said after a recent practice. “I’m excited. I don’t know if it ever comes out during practice, but I’m always trying to figure out ways to make the team better, give them confidence.”

Although the Blue Waves might have had their best collection of players ever last year, they also played a difficult schedule and finished with a losing season. Olowu and his players have their work cut out for them once again, but it looks as if the Blue Waves are not shortchanging themselves on effort.

“I don’t ever have to question their effort,” Olowu said. “They give a hundred percent on the field. … I’m challenging them in practice. I told them, the harder the practices are, the easier the games are going to be, and vice-versa.”

Two all-county players, junior forward/midfielder Ashley Drozd and senior defender Tanya Rast, are undisputed talents on opposite ends of the field.

“These are players that in many ways just let their soccer do the talking,” Olowu said. “They give maximum effort in practice and they assert themselves through their play in the field. Nothing short of admirable.”

Savannah Smith, a senior defender, was the team’s most valuable player last year. Emily Oruc, a senior defender, is one of the team leaders. Alex McKillop, a junior forward, has made strides. Rachel Conti, a sophomore midfielder, was brought onto the varsity team late last season and performed wonderfully, said Olowu.

The goalkeeping situation isn’t settled, but to hear Olowu talk about it, that may not be a problem so much as a blessing. He has Carolyn Carrera, a sophomore, and Amanda Gallo, a senior, to choose from. They both can play in the field, too.

“I have two quality goalies, so it’s a great situation for any coach to have,” Olowu said. He added: “One of the things I like about them both is their mental toughness. They have different qualities, unquestionably, but I’m comfortable starting either one. It’s the kind of headache that any coach wants.”

Among the team’s 11 seniors are: Tyesha Harrell, Christina Stapon, Catherine Romero, Corrine Moore, Joanna Kurzyna, Alicia Kratoville and Amber Dillon.

The roster also includes Megan Weiss, Shelby Britt, Rachel Blank, Emily Jehle, Katie McKillop, Sierra Roces and Megan Brunner.

“I have a lot of players who have shown a lot of grit and a lot of ability,” Olowu said. “As long as they have a jersey, they have a role to play. No one’s here to make up numbers. So, the truth is, anybody here can make an impact.”

From one coach to the next, one thing has always remained constant at Shoreham-Wading River over the past six years: winning.

Stability at head coach for the varsity team, as well as with the coaches on the lower levels, has been hard to come by for Shoreham.

Now with Adrian Gilmore taking over the program, the Wildcats hope they have the right person in place who will look to lead the team for years to come.

“I definitely want to stay,” Gilmore said before the Wildcats’ scrimmage against William Floyd on Monday. “I plan on coaching as long as I’m teaching, if they’ll let me.”

Gilmore, a fifth-grade teacher for six years at the Miller Avenue School and a former soccer player at William Floyd High School, became the fourth head coach in as many years when she was formally hired at the end of August. She is the fifth coach the team has had since 2005. In each season since that point the team has made it to the playoffs, a destination they will be in good position to reach again with a talented core of returning players.

“So far the girls are really great,” Gilmore said. “A really nice group of kids that just want to do well.”

Gilmore played soccer at Concordia College in Westchester and later coached at Bronxville and Edgemont. She was waiting for a coaching opportunity at Shoreham and happened to call one day to throw her name in the mix for any positions that might have been available. She heard back about the varsity position and soon after had the job.

While she wasn’t formally approved until the end of August, she knew she was in line for the job. So she got the chance to see about nine or 10 of the girls play in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League.

“I went to a lot of the summer games,” she said. “They didn’t know who I was. A couple parents thought I was from the newspaper because I was taking notes.”

The Wildcats advanced to the Suffolk County Class A semifinals last year, falling by 3-0 to Islip after beating Elwood/John Glenn in the opening round.

They return an impressive core, led by Syracuse-bound Kari Quinn. Since erupting for 16 goals as an eighth-grader, Quinn has been a dominant force for the Wildcats at whatever end of the field she plays. Last year in an all-state season, Quinn tallied 10 goals and 10 assists.

“It’s really nice to see someone who can control the field in such a positive way,” Gilmore said. “She’s a team player.”

Another key midfielder returning is senior Shannon McDonnell, who scored eight goals with seven assists last year in an all-county season. Quinn and McDonnell are the captains along with senior Victoria Creta, who was all-league last season.

Meghan Seabrook, who missed some time last year because of injury, gives the Wildcats another scoring threat.

In goal, the Wildcats return sophomore Kelly Wynkoop, who started last year. “She looked awesome over the summer,” Gilmore said.

Alex Amato will anchor the defense at sweeper. She is currently out with an injury and should return in the next few weeks, Gilmore said. With Amato out, the Wildcats will use Kate Birkmire and Meghan Serdock at sweeper.

Gilmore said they have some youth on the team as well with several freshmen.

BOB LIEPA FILE PHOTO | Karlin McIntyre, a senior forward, is one of Bishop McGann-Mercy's five returning starters.

Jacki Paton sounds excited when she talks about her Bishop McGann-Mercy team, and for good reason. The Monarchs may do some exciting things this season. Over the course of several days, Paton said, the Monarchs made about two weeks worth of progress.

“We’re young, inexperienced, but overall, the young kids coming in have some more soccer background, so we’re going to go through our ups and downs, but when we’re in those ups, it’s going to be exciting soccer,” the coach said. “We’re going to create more on the offensive end.”

The team is built around five returning starters in senior midfielder Brieanne Bieber, senior forward Karlin McIntyre, senior midfielder Victoria Tremble, senior sweeper Amanda Burriesci and junior defender Shannon Willmott. Two other players are back, sophomore defender Nicole Spezzacatena and junior midfielder Phillipa Ross.

The team’s starting lineup includes three freshmen and an eighth-grader. The eighth-grader, goalkeeper Juliana Cintron-Leonardo, is one of those exciting players.

“She’s all athleticism, and she makes some one-handed saves,” Paton said. “She is fun to watch.”

Meghan Bossone, a freshman midfielder, has earned a place in the starting 11 along with freshman midfielder Hannah Steinhauer, freshman defender Claire Sullivan and sophomore forward Kayla Schroeher.

Also new to the team are junior defender Courtney Walsh, sophomore midfielder Ashley Busuttil, freshman defender Marta Wyszynski, sophomore defender Selena Garcia and junior midfielder Carol Pollock.

Paton sees plenty of potential in the new players. On top of that, she has a steady player in Bieber controlling midfield, a scoring threat in McIntyre, a wall on defense in Burriesci, and Tremble running the wing.

Joe Werkmeister contributed to this article.