Now that’s an even dozen.
Shoreham-Wading River not only plays winning lacrosse, but it plays with style and panache. All those qualities were on display Wednesday night when the Wildcats captured their 12th county championship and second in a row.
Top-seeded Shoreham withstood a fourth-quarter rally by No. 2 Islip, scoring the final five goals for a 13-7 victory in the Suffolk County Class C final at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Shoreham’s all-American attack, Chris Gray, pumped in four of his five goals during that game-ending 5-0 run.
Shoreham (15-3) will face Cold Spring Harbor (18-0) on Saturday for the Long Island title at Stony Brook University. Cold Spring Harbor has a 25-game winning streak dating back to last year. The Seahawks have won two straight state titles.
Shoreham entered the fourth quarter holding an 8-3 lead, but Islip (15-3) wasn’t quite done. The Buccaneers produced four straight goals — two by Chris Giuliani, followed by strikes from Jeff Atlas and Mike Bienkowski — within a span of 2 minutes, 9 seconds, to pull to within 8-7. Suddenly, momentum was on Islip’s side.
That’s when Shoreham turned on its magic.
Xavier Arline, Shoreham’s talented freshman attack, stole the ball from Islip goalie Devin Degennaro before delivering a flashy behind-the-back pass to Gray, who deposited the ball in the unguarded net.
After that, Kevin Cutinella scored his third goal of the game on a man-up opportunity with an outside shot off a feed from Tim Cairo. Gray then scored on a breakaway off a turnover, finished off a crisp pass from Arline for another goal and then used a speed burst to wrap up the scoring. The senior, who also had an assist, has 86 goals and 23 assists this season.
Arline had two goals and three assists.
With Islip keeping a close eye on Gray in the early going, Shoreham spread the wealth. Four Wildcats — Cairo, Arline, Gray and Sean Halpin — found the net for a 4-1 lead.
Joe Juengerkes pulled Islip to within 3-2, but Shoreham closed out the first half with Arline’s second goal (with a pair of defenders draped around him) and a power move by Cutinella with 6.7 seconds left in the half, making it 6-2. Shoreham might have led by more if not for Degennaro, the sophomore who made five of his eight saves in the first half.
Giuliani had two goals and one assist for Islip while Atlas had two assists to go with his goal.
Shoreham’s dogged defense, featuring Dan Cassidy, Kyle Higgins and James Mirabell, did an admirable job of protecting goalie Andrew DePalma, who made five saves.
Shoreham coach Mike Taylor, who had a bucket of water dumped over his head by players during the game’s final minute, looked happy, albeit wet.
How can the Wildcats do better? They could go for a baker’s dozen next year.
Photo caption: Chris Gray, left, and Xavier Arline congratulate each other after Gray’s goal gave Shoreham-Wading River a 9-7 lead in the fourth quarter. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)