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.
Shoreham, by contrast, had 18 players — and a 3-0 win in the abbreviated match at The Wedge in Mount Sinai. All three goals came within 15 minutes of each other, including the last two by Taylor Chaimowitz within two minutes of each other. The game was stopped after the 30-minute first half when two Port Jefferson players left the field, leaving the Royals with six players, one less than the minimum needed to play.
The Wildcats will return to the small school final on Tuesday against Comsewogue or Miller Place. They lost in last summer’s final to Sayville in penalty kicks.
Of all the players the Wildcats had on Friday, their talented striker Megan Kelly wasn’t among them. She wasn’t really missed much, though, thanks to the efforts of another striker, Chaimowitz.
Shoreham coach Adrian Gilmore called Chaimowitz “a phenomenal player.” Gilmore added: “She’s that kid that shoots so well under pressure. She works 110 percent on the field. Her and Megan play very nicely together up top. Megan wasn’t here tonight but you weren’t missing a forward because Taylor stepped right in and just took over.”
Chaimowitz, a senior, said she wants to squeeze as much soccer as she can into her final summer league season. She certainly did her part with her 2 goals, which were both the result of opportunism.
In the 25th minute, Chaimowitz intercepted a mishit goal kick, charged forward and floated a picture-perfect shot into the far right corner of the goal.
Just moments later, the Wildcats won a corner kick that was taken by Mackenzie Roberts. Port Jefferson’s goalkeeper, Noelle Zimmerman, mishandled the ball — her only mistake of the game — and Chaimowitz was in the right spot to head the ball home for a 3-0 lead.
“She’s small but you can’t judge her size because she’s aggressive,” said Shoreham’s Courtney Clasen, who moved between striker and center midfielder. “She’ll get in there and put some in.”
Gilmore said: “It’s funny because in the last three games we’ve had three different star players. We’ve had Alex Kuhnle, we had Megan last night [scoring in a 2-0 quarterfinal win over Center Moriches] and Taylor kind of controlled the game tonight for us.”
The Royals hung tough for a while, thanks in part to the play of their goalie. Chaimowitz slammed a shot off the left goalpost and Rachel Suarez followed up by hitting the rebound right to Zimmerman in the seventh minute. Zimmerman also made nice back-to-back saves on Clasen in the 12th minute. She finished with 9 saves.
“She did a great job,” said Port Jefferson coach Allyson Wolff.
Suarez got her goal, though, off an assist from Kuhnle in the 18th minute.
Statistics sometimes lie. These didn’t. Shoreham outshot Port Jefferson, 21-0, leaving Wildcats goalkeeper Lauren Marigliano with little to do as the team wrapped up its eighth shutout.
The three-player advantage, notwithstanding, the Wildcats played well, passing with purpose.
“We’re going good,” said Chaimowitz.
Indeed, they are unbeaten in 11 games and have outscored teams, 21-2.
So, the Royals had a lot more than Miley Cyrus working against them on Friday evening.