After playing in the bitter cold with temperatures in the mid-30s, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats must have felt a warm feeling inside as they walked off Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. Their performance, however, might have sent a chill through the other boys lacrosse teams in Suffolk County Division II.
Shoreham’s strong start to the season reached a new height on Tuesday. From start to finish, the Wildcats were sharp and relentless, showing no signs of letup. What it translated into was a 16-1 rout of a respected Islip team that was not taken lightly.
Even Shoreham coach Mike Taylor sounded impressed. “I thought this was the first complete game that we played,” he said. “We worked hard. I tell you, that’s a very good [Islip] team.”
Shoreham (4-0, 3-0) never gave Islip (3-2, 2-1) a chance to gain a foothold in a game that the Wildcats took control of from the start. Five Wildcats scored the first five goals, and it was 7-0 before Islip put in its sole goal through a fine individual effort by Ethan Rall 2 minutes 36 seconds into the second quarter.
Shoreham’s balanced attack produced multiple-goal games from six Wildcats.
“We got a lot of people who can put the ball in the net,” said Jason Curran, a senior attackman who fired in four goals from eight shots.
Kevin Cutinella (three goals, one assist), Xavier Arline (three goals), Jon Constant (two goals, one assist, nine ground ball), Chris Gray (two goals, one assist) and Dalton Baron (two goals) also figured in the goalfest.
Shoreham worked the ball around from side to side, probing for openings in Islip’s beleaguered defense with surgeon-like precision. “That’s when I like lacrosse the most, when we work it around and just have fun,” said Cutinella.
The Wildcats outshot the visitors, 36-10, and held a 28-15 superiority in ground balls. If that wasn’t enough, Joe Miller won 13 of 20 faceoffs, enabling the Wildcats to retain possession after scoring.
Just like that, Islip became the latest Shoreham victim in this young season, joining St. John the Baptist, Rocky Point and East Islip, which were all beaten by seven goals or more.
“We are the definition of a team,” Curran said. “It doesn’t matter who’s scoring. It doesn’t matter who’s making the stop on defense. We just like to play together and we have fun with it.”
Taylor said his players don’t panic, leaving the worrying to their coaches. “I have to admire their confidence,” he said, “and it’s not arrogance, it’s confidence, which is a good thing to have.”
That confidence can be sensed when the word “potential” was raised in interviews afterward.
“We all have expectations to go all the way up to the states and we can do it,” Cutinella said. “We just got to play hard every second.”
Taylor isn’t thinking that far ahead, though. The road to the Suffolk Class B championship and beyond is not an easy one.
“I think there’s a lot of good teams,” he said. “I think that this is a battle, week to week. It’s so hard to get through Suffolk County, never mind Nassau and then off the island. So, I think that the team has potential, but it’s a long ways away.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s Kevin Cutinella whips a shot in for one of his three goals as Islip’s Kevin Lewis closes in on him. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)