WILDCATS 3, TORNADOES 0
Before the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team took the field for its postseason opener against Harborfields Tuesday afternoon, senior Kari Quinn had a message for her teammates.
The fifth-year varsity player was proud of her squad for earning the No. 3 seed in the Class A playoffs and she didn’t want them to squander the homefield advantage that distinction awarded them.
So she gathered her team in a circle and delivered what her coach called an “inspirational speech” prior to the opening whistle.
“We talked about why we loved this season so much,” Quinn said. “We talked about why we love each other.”
Sometimes a little love is all you need.
The Widcats worked together to control the tempo all afternoon, eventually breaking through with three second half goals for a 3-0 win over the No. 6 Tornadoes. The victory sends SWR (10-4-1) to the semifinals, where they’ll either visit No. 2 Bayport-Blue Point Friday or host No. 7 Mount Sinai.
Meghan Seabrook got the Wildcats on the board with 37:30 remaining in the second half after she beat Harborfields goalkeeper Morgan Krush to the ball and sneaked one by her. She’d later add a second goal on a penalty kick with four seconds remaining in the game.
Seabrook’s presence was a nice spark for Shoreham-Wading River, considering the senior hasn’t been able to contribute as many minutes as she’d like due to illness. She missed her junior season after being diagnosed with mono, according to Wildcats coach Adrian Gilmore, and she has slowly worked her way back into game shape this year.
When her team needed her most, she was there for two big goals.
“It’s so awesome to see a senior come back like that and step up in the playoffs,” Gilmore said. “For her to get two goals in this game shows what a great kid she is.”
But for Seabrook after the game, the focus was entirely on her team winning.
“We really wanted it,” she said with a smile. “We want to go far in the playoffs and we believe we’re a really good team.”
The Wildcats’ all-important second goal came from none other than Quinn — an all-state midfielder headed to Syracuse University with a soccer scholarship next year — who dribbled the ball past a diving Krush for an easy roller with 27:57 left in the contest.
Senior Victoria Creta recorded an assist on each of the first two Shoreham-Wading River goals.
Keeper Kelly Wynkoop was stellar in net for the Wildcats, recording 12 saves and the shutout.
Quinn admitted after the game to being a little nervous with the score tied at halftime, but she felt ultimately her team knew what it needed to do.
“We needed to come out harder than before and we did,” she said. “This team always plays with a lot of heart.”
The Wildcats had several chances in the first half, but failed to convert on a few close shots off the feet of Quinn and fellow midfielder Shannon McDonnell.
Harborfields actually had the first real shot to score, but one of its players missed off the crossbar and couldn’t put the rebound past Wynkoop.
Krush faced a barrage from the Shoreham-Wading River attack all game long and recorded 10 saves for Harborfields, which finishes the season with a 4-10-1 record.