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Girls Soccer: Defense does it for unbeaten SWR

With a defense like that, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team was able to successfully defend its Town of Brookhaven Summer League championship.

SWR did just that Thursday night with — what else? — a shutout in the championship game. Jillian Hobbes, a junior striker/midfielder, put in both goals in a 2-0 defeat of Rocky Point at Diamond in the Pines in Coram. The assists came from her sister, Sara Hobbes, and Graceann Leonard. Alison Devall posted the shutout.

The result capped a wildly impressive summer for undefeated SWR, which conceded only one goal and won all 16 games it played. The Wildcats outscored their opponents, 42-1.

“The defense looks great,” said Adrian Gilmore, the SWR school coach who ran the team along with Brian Ferguson with help from Joe Condon.

SWR also received the league sportsmanship award. Leonard, a freshman striker, was the league-leading goal scorer with 12.

“She’s got a lot of heart in her,” Gilmore said. “She works really, really hard. She doesn’t say much. She just puts her head down and gets the job done. She’s got a great first touch and she’s smart with the ball.”

Devall was selected the tournament MVP.

SWR’s junior varsity team was also a summer league champion for a second straight year.

Gilmore approaches the summer league as an opportunity for experimentation with different formations and position switches. “For me, summer is always just about having fun, letting the kids get to know each other, get comfortable,” she said.

A summer league title is a nice bonus.

Speaking of bonuses, Gilmore received something of a surprise when former SWR player Elizabeth Shields, who played for an academy team last year, returned to the Wildcats for her senior year. Shields played sweeper for SWR as a sophomore, but has been moved to midfield.

“It’s another experienced player on the field for us,” Gilmore said. “That was an extra piece of the puzzle that wasn’t expected.”

Last fall SWR reached its third county final in five years — losing to Islip, 1-0, and finishing with an 11-5-2 record.

SWR lost dynamic strikers Nikki Constant and Emma Kirkpatrick and outside midfielder Frankie Lily to graduation.

“We graduated three key players, but we bring back a very solid team,” Gilmore said. “There’s great leadership. We have seven seniors and five or six of them are starters and have huge roles. They work really hard and they have fun.”

Senior center midfielders Gianna Cacciola and Lakin Ciampo are both three-year varsity starters. “They’re experienced players, great role models,” Gilmore said, “leaders on and off the field.”

And then there’s that rock-solid defense, built around senior sweeper Maddy Joannou, senior right back Sara Hobbes, junior stopper Brooke Langella and Devall. Alexa Constant, Maura Ginley and Sophie Lavey are options at outside back.

Given the success SWR had last summer that was followed up last fall, Gilmore was asked if summer league wins have a carryover affect in the fall school season.

“I think that there is,” she said. “I don’t want to jinx it.”

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River capped an undefeated summer league season in which it allowed only one goal in 16 games with a second straight championship. (Credit: Courtesy Adrian Gilmore)