04/19/13 7:55pm
04/19/2013 7:55 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Paulina Constant scores the Wildcats’ third goal Friday against Rocky Point. Constant finished with five.

WILDCATS 14, EAGLES 8

Mary Bergmann always tries to keep an eye on the big picture as coach for Shoreham-Wading River. When it comes to resting the team’s main midfielders — the players most responsible for playing on both ends of the field — Shoreham’s coach won’t hesitate to give them a breather.

Even against one of their biggest rivals Friday afternoon in Rocky Point, the Wildcats’ first midfield line of Paulina Constant, Shannon Rosati and Alex Fehmel constantly rotated out for a second midfield line made up of an eighth-grader, freshman and sophomore.

“A lot of teams only run one midfield line and they don’t sub,” Bergmann said. “I think it’s going to help them in the long run if we keeping giving them breaks.”

Of course, having bench depth is a luxury not every team has.

In the Wildcats’ 14-8 win over the Eagles, a game they led from start to finish, the Wildcats never seemed threatened, minus a quick three-goal burst from the Eagles in the second half.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading senior Lauren Lustgarten scored 12 seconds into Friday’s game.

Even with about 8 1/2 minutes remaining, and the Wildcats ahead by four — a still perilous lead at times in girls lacrosse — Bergmann called for her second midfield line to give the starters a break.

“She definitely trusts them,” said senior Paulina Constant, who led the Wildcats with a season-high five goals and two assists. “We have so much depth on our team that even our second line can take on any other team’s first line and hold their ground.”

Bergmann said she feared Rocky Point could still mount another comeback, something all too familiar for Shoreham, so she wanted to give the starters a quick rest to regroup for the final few minutes.

“I wanted to get the first midfield line a break, and also show the second midfield line that we do have trust in them,” she said.

Constant said the breaks provide them a welcome boost.

“In games like this where we’re running back and forth constantly, we need a breather here and there,” she said.

Rocky Point, by contrast, rarely substituted.

The Wildcats (7-1 Division II) closed the game by scoring three unanswered goals over the final 5:15. Constant scored the last two, both on free position shots from nearly the identical spot on the right side of the arc.

The Wildcats know a thing or two about seeing leads disappear against Rocky Point. Two years ago in the first round of the playoffs, the Eagles (4-4, 3-3 Division II) scored seven straight goals to end the game and force overtime. Shoreham still prevailed in the extra period.

“It’s good to know we can keep our composure, because once Rocky Point starts to come back, we in the past have let them keep coming back and close the gap completely,” Bergmann said.

Shoreham came out firing with three goals in the first 2 1/2 minutes. But the offense stalled from there thanks to some missed shots and quality saves. Rocky Point closed to within a goal at 3-2 with 8:28 left in the first half.

But the Wildcats got back on track with three more goals to close out the half, capped by two from senior Jessica Angerman. She banked a shot from the left side off the right post with 4:40 left and then ripped a ball into the net on a free position shot a minute later.

“We knew we had to pick our intensity up,” Constant said. “We couldn’t be flat-footed on defense and had to pick up our shot selection on attack.”

Angerman finished with four goals.

“Jess comes out in big games when we need her,” Bergmann said. “Some games she doesn’t score as much, but I think that’s the beauty of our attack. It’s so flexible.”

Senior Lauren Lustgarten was the only other player with multiple goals. She finished with a pair. Fehmel tallied three assists.

After a disheartening loss to Sayville April 13, the Wildcats have bounced back with three straight wins to keep their hopes alive for the No. 1 seed in the Class C playoffs.

That could ultimately come down to next Thursday’s game against unbeaten Mount Sinai, the team the Wildcats are competing against for the top spot.

joew@timesreview.com

04/09/13 8:08pm
04/09/2013 8:08 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Lauren Lustgarten carries the ball up field late in the game Tuesday against Babylon.

WILDCATS 8, PANTHERS 7

There are games that define a team’s season, that serve as a turning point, a moment where everything clicks. Usually those type of games come late in the season when the playoffs are looming closer.

“At Shoreham we always say we want to have one defining win in a season,” said Wildcats coach Mary Bergmann. “I said yesterday hopefully tomorrow will be an early defining win for us so we know we can do it.”

Against Babylon the Wildcats faced one of the two teams that will ultimately stand in their way come playoff time in Class C. And the Panthers, behind a methodical offense, strong draw control and the talent of Shelby Fredericks, gave the Wildcats everything they could handle Tuesday afternoon at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

The Wildcats rallied for an 8-7 victory by getting two goals from senior Paulina Constant in the final 2:14.

“To me this game was just as important as winning a playoff game,” Bergmann said.

The victory keeps the Wildcats’ record perfect at 4-0 in Division II and gives them the early advantage in the all-important race for the No. 1 seed. Finishing first would allow the Wildcats to avoid having to play both Mount Sinai and Babylon (5-1, 3-1 Division II) in the playoffs.

It was a frustrating afternoon for long stretches for Shoreham as the Panthers dominated time of possession thanks to their ability to win draws. A combination of the Panthers’ patience on offense and the Wildcats’ ability to close scoring chances defensively led to long stretches with Babylon holding possession.

The Wildcats trailed by a goal when senior Alyssa Pearce got denied up close on a shot that Babylon goalie Emily Guerra snatched with 7:51 left. Babylon got out in transition and ran four minutes off the clock before finally turning it over on a pass that sailed off the sideline.

The Wildcats quickly went to work with Constant muscling her way past two defenders to score near the right post with 2:14 left.

Draws were a problem all afternoon for the Wildcats, but when they needed to win one, they got it. Senior Meredith Bushell took the draw after the game-tying goal. After a long scramble, junior Shannon Rosati emerged with possession.

And with 1:18 left, Rosati eluded a double team to find Constant for the game-winning goal.

“Both goals were setup plays by my teammates,” Constant said. “The second one was just a great assist. Shannon drew the double and it left me open. She did all the dirty work.”

Constant and Rosati both finished with 3 goals. It was Constant’s third hat trick in four games and she now has 11 goals on the season.

“I think she’s really stepping up and giving a leadership role,” Bergmann said. “Those two goals, that changed the game right there. We needed those shots. If we didn’t get those I’d be they would have tried to stall for four-five minutes.”

With the Wildcats not getting as many chances offensively as they’re used to, they needed a big game from sophomore Lauren Daly in goal. Daly’s save total didn’t jump off the page (7), but she came up with several tough stops that kept the Panthers from extending their lead by more than a goal.

Babylon led 6-5 when Daly made a terrific save midway through the second half on Fredericks, who led Babylon with 2 goals and 4 assists.

“She had some great saves,” Bergmann said. “Especially in the first half she had some point-blank shots on her.”

Daly stopped two free position shots in the final minute of the first half to keep the game tied at 4.

The Wildcats were without starting midfielder Jessica Angerman, who was out with a sore knee. Bergmann said they wanted to give Angerman a game to rest.

“Luckily we have the other three middies that are on her line and then we have another group of middies, which we didn’t play as much today.”

Angerman usually contributes on draws and the Wildcats missed her presence there. The Panthers had a 7-2 advantage in the first half on draws, but the teams were even (4-4) in the second after the Wildcats won the final three draws.

“Draw controls were big for us,” Constant said. “We didn’t do too hot the first half, but the second half we really came together.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier going forward as the Wildcats travel to Sayville Friday before hosting Eastport-South Manor Monday.

“You can’t put your guard down, because everyone is coming for Shoreham,” Bergmann said.

joew@timesreview.com