Boys Soccer: SWR off to strong start in summer league

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading RIver’s Matthew O’Gorman scored the Wildcats’ first goal in a 3-0 win over Harborfields Monday night.

In some years, motivating a summer league team to spend off days running around the high school track can be a difficult proposition.

Shoreham-Wading River coach Andrew Moschetti didn’t need to spend too much time this summer convincing players to put in extra work in preparation for the fall season.

On days off in between games on Monday and Wednesday in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League, many of the Shoreham players come together in the morning to work on conditioning together. With a big core of returning players who have experienced success at the varsity level, the Wildcats have welcomed the challenge.

“I told them I don’t want you to run 10 miles a day,” Moschetti said. “This isn’t track. But they go down there and run a mile, mile and a half. They go to the track, run and go home. Then hopefully when preseason starts, we’re a step ahead.”

It also makes it easier when the team is winning in the summer league. And the Wildcats have been doing just that. They shut out Harborfields Monday night 3-0 at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Fields to improve to 4-0-1 at the midway point of the summer league schedule.

The Wildcats have given up only two goals total.

For a team that advanced into the semifinals of the Class A playoffs last fall, expectations are high as the varsity season nears closer. The Wildcats return the majority of their team from last year and most of the players have signed up for the summer league.

Between the varsity and JV, the Wildcats have more than 50 players participating in the summer league.

“We have a good core returning who last year had the opportunity to win a playoff game,” Moschetti said. “We’ve been there before, we’ve played the big teams and we kind of have some experience. We’ll see how that carries over to next season. I’m excited. We’re looking good.”

The Wildcats got goals from Matthew O’Gorman, Zach McAuley and Kevin Turano against the Tornadoes.

McAuley will have a busy fall schedule. A kicker on the football team last year, he’ll resume those duties again while also playing on the soccer team.

“He played JV [soccer] last year,” Moschetti said. “He’s going to be a junior so he’s going to be doing both varsity soccer and varsity football.”

The Wildcats have had goalkeeper Evan Kearney anchoring a strong defensive unit. Last summer the Wildcats didn’t have Kearney because of commitments to baseball.

“I asked him this summer if he would play with us just to keep him playing so that when we start preseason it’s not like it’s the first time he’s touched a soccer ball since last year,” Moschetti said. “And he’s maybe missed one game for baseball.”

Defense has been a strongpoint so far in the summer. The Wildcats allowed few good scoring opportunities against Harborfields.

Moschetti said the team’s defensive core of Anthony Cusano, Garrett Budney, Travis Qualley and Vincent Alese are all back from last season and playing together in the summer.

Ryan Sterns, a defenseman in lacrosse, has moved up to striker and has provided a lot of energy for the Wildcats.

“He runs around like a maniac,” Moschetti said. “He’s in great shape. He had a good game today. He hasn’t been to all the games because of lacrosse, but the game’s he comes to he runs his butt off the whole shift he’s out there.”

The Wildcats return to action Wednesday against Sayville, the team they lost to in the playoffs last year. It won’t have quite the same level of intensity as the last time the team’s met, but the Wildcats still welcome the opportunity.

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