The signs were there before the season even began that this had the making of a special season for the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team. The Wildcats won the Town of Brookhaven Summer League, even without regular contributions from several top players.
By the time the team gathered for the start of the varsity season in August, confidence was high. And for good reason. The Wildcats went on to put together one of the best seasons in more than 25 years by going undefeated to the Class A county championship.
The Wildcats went 18-0-1 before ultimately falling in a wild overtime game against South Side in the Long Island Championship at Dowling Sports Complex. Most remarkable of the Wildcats’ season was the fact that teams virtually couldn’t score against them. Going into the Long Island Championship, the Wildcats had allowed only three goals on the season.
South Side, which lost in the state finals, ended up scoring twice to defeat Shoreham, 2-1. In the county finals, the Wildcats defeated a longtime rival in Sayville, 1-0, thanks to a first-half goal from sophomore sensation Alex Kuhnle.
The star of the playoffs may well have been freshman Lydia Kessel. Playing her first varsity season in goal, Kessel played two superb games in the championships against Sayville and South Side. “To put on the show she put on [in the county finals] and then again tonight just truly shows why she is in that spot,” Shoreham coach Adrian Gilmore said after the Long Island finals.
Top 10 Sports Stories
No. 9: Stars on the track
No. 7: Title run comes to an end