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…)

11/01/13 6:00pm
11/01/2013 6:00 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop saw her four-year varsity career come to an end Friday in the semifinals of the Class A playoffs.

CLASS A SEMIFINALS  |  GOLDEN FLASHES 1, WILDCATS 0

Junior Jessica O’Shaughnessy scored in the 30th minute to lift top-seeded Sayville to a 1-0 victory over Shoreham-Wading River in the Suffolk County Class A girls semifinals at Depot Field in Sayville on Friday afternoon.

The win boosted Sayville into the county finals against No. 2 Islip at the Dowling Soccer Complex at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The loss ended the fifth-seeded Wildcats’ most successful season since 2006 at 10-4, while the Golden Flash improved to 13-2.

On Tuesday, SWR defeated Bayport-Blue Point, 1-0, in a first-round game.

O’Shaughnessy latched onto a pass from senior Michelle Civitella and rolled in a shot to the lower left corner past goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop for the game’s lone goal.

The Wildcats tried to equalize, but a stout Sayville backline limited the visitors to any dangerous opportunities.

Shoreham finished the season allowing only six total goals.

10/29/13 7:00pm
10/29/2013 7:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats celebrate after Kerri Clark scored the lone goal in Tuesday’s playoff win over Bayport-Blue Point.

CLASS A PLAYOFFS  |  WILDCATS 1, PHANTOMS 0

It seemed only appropriate that two league rivals in Shoreham-Wading River and Bayport-Blue Point would meet in a playoff opener.

In the regular season, both teams defeated each other once. Both games were decided by a goal, one in overtime. In the end, the teams shared the League VI title, although Shoreham had one more win at 9-3, while Bayport was 8-2-2.

The teams met once more Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the Class A playoffs with a trip to the semifinals against Sayville on the line.

“We definitely wanted to beat Bayport to show who was the true champion,” said Shoreham senior Kerri Clark.

In a tightly contested match that showed just how close the two teams are, the fifth-seeded Wildcats emerged victorious thanks to a Clark goal and stellar defensive work anchored by goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop.

The Wildcats’ 1-0 victory at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue sends them into Friday’s semifinal against top-seeded Sayville. After missing the postseason a year ago, the Wildcats (11-3) are now one win away from returning to the county finals for the first time since 2006.

“It’s the best feeling in the world, especially as a senior,” said Clark, a four-year varsity player.

In a game where scoring opportunities were hard to come by, Clark delivered the game’s lone goal in the 44th minute. Freshman Alex Kuhnle carried the ball into the Bayport (10-4-3) end up the right sideline. Kuhnle sent a pass to sophomore Megan Kelly, who delivered the crossing feed in front of the goal.

Bayport goalkeeper Erica Friel slid toward Kelly, who flicked the ball between a defender and Friel. Clark was charging up the middle of the field, and while fighting off a defender, knocked the ball into the goal from a few yards out.

“I knew [Kelly] was going to cross it to me,” Clark said. “But the girl was on me so I had to kind of push through her. And I just kicked the ball into the net.”

KellyGoal2 on Make A Gif

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That Clark came through with the big goal was no surprise to coach Adrian Gilmore.

“She’s one of those kids that any time there’s a big opportunity or I need a goal, she seems to come through,” Gilmore said.

Clark already had an overtime winner on her resume from this season in a crucial 1-0 win over Miller Place Oct. 10. She also scored the Wildcats’ second goal in another big win over Center Moriches Oct. 2.

It was a tense 34 minutes for the Wildcats after Clark’s goal.

“That felt like the longest half of my life,” Clark said.

The Phantoms strung together five corner kicks after the goal. In the first half, they didn’t have any. Clark said keeping the Phantoms out of corner kicks was something the team focused on coming into the game.

“They’re definitely good in the air, so we wanted to keep them away from that,” she said.

On one kick with just under 14 minutes left, the ball was headed out to freshman Natalia Sandor, who drilled a shot from just outside the 18. Wynkoop got a piece of it and the ball deflected off the crossbar and out of bounds for another corner kick.

The Wildcats survived each time.

Shoreham notched its 10th shutout of the season.

“Bayport’s such an offensive team and when they get the ball, they’re dangerous,” Gilmore said.

Wynkoop came up with a few big saves and was aggressive coming out of the net to make a play before Bayport had a chance to get something going. Gilmore said Wynkoop controls the back, something she’s gotten better at over the past two years.

“We kept talking, if you’re going to be the goalie, you have to control the game,” Gilmore said. “I think she’s done a nice job of that this year.”

Late in the first half the Wildcats dodged a great scoring chance from Bayport when the Phantoms crossed the ball from deep in the left corner to the front of the net. The ball ended up behind Wynkoop, who was face down on the turf, and Shoreham defender Theresa Bender was there to clear the ball out.

A few minutes later when the players came to the sideline for halftime, Wynkoop went over to hug Bender for having her back.

“The defense was unbelievable this year,” Gilmore said.

It will need to be once again Friday to take down another rival in Sayville.

joew@timesreview.com

10/21/13 7:43pm
10/21/2013 7:43 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ayla Ayoub, who scored her first career hat trick for Mattituck, races to the ball with Bishop McGann-Mercy's Ali Hulse.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ayla Ayoub, who scored her first career hat trick for Mattituck, races to the ball with Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Ali Hulse.

TUCKERS 5, MONARCHS 0

The seniors on the Mattituck girls soccer team gave a strong postgame demonstration of what playing for the Tuckers has meant to them. Following the team’s final home regular-season game on Monday, they laid down on the grass, face down, and literally hugged their home field at Mattituck High School.

Why not? That field has been good to them over the years. This year the Tuckers are 5-2-1 on their home turf, including Monday’s 5-0 Senior Day blanking of Bishop McGann-Mercy.

Ayla Ayoub, a freshman forward brought up to the varsity team midway through the season, struck for her first varsity hat trick. She put 5 of the 8 shots she took on goal. Fellow forward Trish Brisotti, a junior, produced 2 goals and 1 assist. Nicole Zurawski had 2 assists.

Val Hommel made 3 second-half saves for Mattituck’s fifth shutout of the season.

Before the game, flowers were presented to Mattituck’s six seniors: Kyle Freudenberg, Sam Stapon, Kellie Stepnoski, Isabel Torgrove, Rachel Winkler and Hommel. Then the Tuckers went about making it a memorable day for their seniors.

Brisotti was instrumental in giving Mattituck (8-3-2, 8-3-1 Suffolk County League VII) a 2-0 lead by the time the match was 22 minutes 7 seconds old. After scoring on a breakaway 3:19 after the opening kickoff, Brisotti delivered the cutting through ball that sent Ayoub in on goal, all alone, before she expertly tucked the ball into the right corner of the net.

Zurawski set up Ayoub for a 3-0 lead at 27:33. McGann-Mercy’s goalkeeper, Julianna Cintron-Leonardo, got in front of the shot but the ball deflected over head and into the goal.

Cintron-Leonardo, a sophomore, had a busy afternoon, stopping 9 shots, including one blast by Ayoub that smashed her in the face.

The Zurawski-Brisotti combination worked again 1:36 into the second half, with Brisotti pounding the ball into the net.

Ayoub topped off her hat trick by scoring an unassisted goal with 8:50 to go.

Mattituck, which outshot the Monarchs by 19-10, came within inches of another goal. After collecting a through ball from Ayoub, Catherine Hayes struck the right goalpost.

The best scoring chance for McGann-Mercy (5-9, 4-9) came in the 27th minute when a header by Claire Sullivan narrowly missed the left post.

bliepa@timesreview.com

09/28/13 11:03pm
09/28/2013 11:03 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Courtney Clasen scored three goals Saturday night in the Wildcats’ 5-0 win over East Hampton.

WILDCATS 5, BONACKERS 0

Courtney Clasen is listed on the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer roster as a midfielder and goalkeeper, but don’t look for her to tend goal any time soon.

Not after Saturday night’s performance in which she made life miserable for East Hampton keeper Francesca Schelfhat and her teammates.

Clasen struck for a hat trick in the Wildcats’ 5-0 triumph in the League VI match, heading home two goals. Just as importantly, she pulled the attacking strings of the Wildcats (3-2 League VI, 4-2) in Shoreham.

The junior All-County midfielder had many spectators and coaches uttering superlatives about her magnificent performance.

A sampling:

“She’s an unbelievable player,” said Shoreham boys coach Andrew Moschetti, whose team played in the second game of a rare soccer doubleheader on the school’s football field on Senior Pride Weekend. “Every coach would love to have a player like her on the team. Coach [Adrian] Gilmore and the girls are lucky to have her.”

Gilmore added: ”She’s my key player. Everything comes from the middle from her goes to the outside and back through the middle. At times she’s taking on two, three defenders and comes out with the ball. She’s just a tremendous athlete. It’s so nice to watch her play.”

But perhaps not so nice if you are the opposing coach, although East Hampton coach Mike Vitulli, whose team fell to 0-6 in league, praised Clasen.

“They are very dangerous in the air,” he said. “Any free kick is a problem. Clasen, she’s just unbelievable in the air. She just comes out of nowhere.”

About the only person who wasn’t impressed was Clasen herself.

“It was all right,” she said. “My passes were a little off.”

Maybe, maybe not.

But one thing was quite certain — she was spot on when shooting at the goal, whether it was with her feet or head.

By the time Clasen had scored the Wildcats already had a 2-0 lead. Emily Blunnie put in an Emily Sopko feed from 25 yards with 27:39 remaining in the first half before defender Shannon Lamprecht knocked the ball into her own net with 25:14 left. She increased the lead to 3-0 off a left-wing cross from Alex Kunhle with 8:46 remaining in the half.

Clasen was devastating on air balls. She is 5-7, but she jumps like a player who is several inches taller.

“We had a real hard covering her every which way,” Vitulli said. “She gets up over the ball and she’s real weapon for them.”

Clasen said that she likes to go sky high. “It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “I just get up in the air and use my height and knock it in.”

We’ll never know how Clasen the goalkeeper would fare against Clasen the midfielder. Shoreham goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop gave Gilmore and the rest of the Wildcats a scare when a Bonacker player kicked her in the knee with 35:13 remaining in the match. Wynkoop was OK, but had she not been able to play, Clasen would have had to come on.

“I was very concerned, with Kelly being such a great force in the back to lose her,” Gilmore said. “It’s detrimental to the team. And to take Courtney off the field and have to put her in goal, you’re taking two of your key players, best players on the team and shaking it up. And that’s never what you want to do in a game.”

A little more than two minutes later, Calsen scored again, heading in a 35-yard free kick from Blunnie with 33:54 left. She made it a natural hat trick, scoring from point-blank range with 31:21 remaining. Clasen never got an opportunity for another goal because Gilmore sat her down for the remainder of the contest.

Gilmore hoped that she never will have an opportunity to use Clasen in the nets, even if she has stood out in the position for her club team, Sound Beach Stingrays United.

“No, I would never put her in goal,” Gilmore said.  “But the best thing about her if you saw her in goal, she’s equally as good as good in the goal. If she was a different kid and on a different team, she would be the goalie. She is a tremendous goalie.”

And for one night, a hat trick hero.

09/24/13 5:05pm
09/24/2013 5:05 PM

BILL LANDON FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River receiver Isreal Squires makes a leaping grab in the Wildcats’ home night game last year against Port Jefferson.

The lights will be shining on Shoreham-Wading River all weekend.

After hosting its first evening football game in 10 years last year, powered by portable lights, Shoreham upped the ante this year by scheduling a weekend worth of games under the lights.

This weekend has been dubbed “Senior pride weekend,” not to be confused with the school’s typical homecoming festivities, which are scheduled for Oct. 19.

The weekend kicks off Friday with a 6 p.m. football game against The Stony Brook School. Saturday will feature a soccer doubleheader, beginning with the girls team facing East Hampton at 5:30 p.m. The boys will then play Amityville at 7:30 p.m.

The field at Shoreham has received a recent face-lift, thanks in large part to a grassroots effort from a group of parents who started a three-phase “Field of Dreams” renovation project. A new press box is in place this fall, part of the first phase of the renovation. Other cosmetic improvements have been new banners and an updated scoreboard. A new track was also built over the summer, funded from a $1.6 million track and technology proposition.

“We’re trying to build pride in the community,” said Shoreham parent Jeff McAuley, whose son Zach plays on both the soccer and football teams. “All the football parents are cooking for the soccer parents. All the soccer parents are cooking for the football parents. We have a huge raffle that all the kids have been participating in.”

The hope, he said, is to turn this into an annual event.

A goal in the renovation project is to put in permanent lights at Shoreham.

For more information, contact Jeff McAuley at 631-807-3663.

joew@timesreview.com

09/23/13 7:20pm
09/23/2013 7:20 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Meagan Brunner of Riverhead dribbling into space during Tuesday's match against Centereach.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Meagan Brunner of Riverhead dribbling into space during Tuesday’s match against Centereach.

COUGARS 5, BLUE WAVES 0

Carolyn Carrera is well aware that there are pluses to go with the obvious minuses of playing goalkeeper for a soccer team that is more likely to be the underdog than the favorite in its matches this season. For one thing, she knows she will see plenty of shots come her way, and she’s absolutely fine with that.

“I love the action,” she said.

In that sense, Carrera will not be disappointed. Riverhead’s senior captain and five-year starter has already faced a lot of shots.

Another plus is that Carrera can look at this season — and the strong teams the Blue Waves are facing in Suffolk County League III — as good preparation for when she plays for Hofstra University next year. The more shots she faces, the more experience she gets, the better she gets.

That’s one way to look at it.

Along with the decisiveness and focus that makes her a fine goalie, Carrera also has the drive to improve in what may be soccer’s most  complicated position. “Every single aspect I can always use improvement, just being quicker on my feet, quicker for the second shot, better kicks, better punts, just everything,” she said.

She said she loves the training, as well as the continual learning, the aggression and the adrenaline that comes with it all.

Riverhead’s former coach, Maria Dounelis, who brought Carrera onto the team as an eighth-grader, said she is the best goalkeeper in the team’s 11-year history.

The current Riverhead coach, Hassan Olowu, said, “She’s awesome.”

Centereach coach Andrew Nardi was tipped off before Monday’s league game in Riverhead that his team would be facing a talented goalkeeper. “I heard from other teams that their goalie is legit, and she proved it today,” he said.

Yet, not even Carrera was able to prevent a sharp-shooting Centereach team from striking for a 5-0 shutout. Nikki Ortega, a junior forward, was involved in four of those goals, scoring two and assisting on two. Monica Festa scored twice and Jessica Kraljic added a goal and an assist for the Cougars (5-3, 2-2).

Carrera really didn’t have much of a chance at stopping any of them.

“Those shots to the corner post were very tough to save, almost impossible to save,” said Nardi.

The first goal came 13 minutes into the match when a corner kick by Kraljic bounced in the penalty area and Ortega blasted it into the net.

“Amazing force and amazing accuracy,” Nardi said. “She can hit it.”

The next three goals came within 2:36 of each other late in the first half. Festa beat Carrera to her left, Kraljic connected on a booming blast over Carrera, and Festa, assisted by Alyssa Tatti, drilled a shot inside the far right post.

Ortega netted the fifth goal after a lead pass from Ryan Schubert in the 69th minute.

Centereach, which won only one game last year, has seen a dramatic turnaround. The Cougars have clearly solved their finishing problem of a year ago. They outshot the Blue Waves (1-3, 0-3) by 21-3 and enjoyed a 10-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Goalkeepers Analee Buscavino and Stephanie Maikisch needed to make only 1 save between them for the shared shutout.

Carrera showed her quality in the second half with a nice reflex save of a first-timer by Alexa Rudillosso. It was one of 4 saves by Carrera, who also knocked away two crosses, had 17 clearances and collected nine loose balls in her penalty area.

Monday’s game served as a reminder to Riverhead that League III is a world away from the developmental league it played in last year.

“I think we’re definitely the underdog when we’re put in a situation like this,” senior midfielder Emily Jehle said, “but you can’t underestimate us because we still got really good players on this team and, more than that, we have heart.”

Olowu said his players take steps forward with every game. “The tough thing is these losses don’t make it easy, but they never tell the whole story,” he said. “They don’t show the individual improvements of the player.”

Carrera’s improvement continues. A season-ending knee injury to the team’s only other goalie, Robyn Schneider, means that Carrera will see plenty of action the rest of the season.

“She does not stop,” Olowu said. “She competes no matter what the score is. She will make that really amazing save after letting in a couple of goals, and that’s character. You can’t buy that.”

Olowu said returning to the developmental league next year is an option to explore. Of course, by then, Carrera will have moved on and the Blue Waves will have a new player in goal.

“I am proud to say that I got to coach her,” Olowu said. “I’m going to miss her. She knows it.”

bliepa@timesreview.com