On an emotional day for the entire Shoreham-Wading River community Friday, volleyball seemed like an afterthought. Still, there was a match to be played, the Wildcats traveling to Miller Place.
“We’re not only athletes, but it’s something very special to be an athlete from Shoreham-Wading River because we’re Wildcat strong,” said senior Hailey Wehr.
Before heading back to their hometown to attend a vigil in honor of the one-year anniversary of Thomas Cutinella, the Wildcats overcame a rough start in the third game to prevail in a sweep over the Panthers.
The Wildcats dominated the first two games, 25-14, 25-12, before rallying late in the third game to overcome a 24-18 hole.
Wehr said she was nervous but had all the confidence in her team.
“It was great that we could pull out the win on such an emotional day in our community,” she said.
Shoreham coach Megan Johnson said the girls were off their mark today because of the emotional significance of today’s date. She said the loss of one of their own on the football field just one year ago had a profound effect on her team.
“We didn’t play at the level we usually do but we were able to push through those last eight points [to put game three away],” said Johnson. “It’s an emotional day as the girls will be leaving here to attend a candlelight vigil so that was very tough for them mentally.”
Battle back they did as they tied the third game at 25, trailed by a point, retied the lead and scored the next two points to win the match in three straight sets.
“We have fought hard all season long. Last year we finished in sixth place and so far this season we’re currently in third,” said Johnson. “This year we’ve beaten teams that we’ve never beaten like East Hampton and Mount Sinai so they were huge wins for us. So I said to them at the time out in that third set, you’ve worked so hard and defeated teams you’ve never beaten and now you’re going to let this go to game four?”
With the win the Wildcats improve to 5-2 in league VI.
Cristina Iannacchino echoed Wehr’s sentiment about being worried after falling behind 24-18 in the third game.
“Of course I was nervous but I know that when our team focuses we can come back from deficits like that,” the senior said.
The Wildcats will host Sayville on Monday at 4 p.m.
Photo Caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s Cristina Iannacchino helped lead the Wildcats to a sweep Friday against Miller Place. (Credit: Bill Landon)