For all those wins — 100 now — what really matters most to Adrian Gilmore are her girls, the players on her Shoreham-Wading River High School girls soccer team.
“Obviously, you coach because you want to win, but you also coach because of something else,” Gilmore said. “You get something back from the kids. They keep you young. It’s a fun group. We spend a lot of time together between the season and the summer, so I definitely just love them and being with them, so it’s nice to see that they feel the same way about me.”
That mutual feeling was obvious Monday when Gilmore was showered with gifts from her players following her 100th career win. Gilmore, wearing a gray cap and a gold SWR soccer T-shirt, posed for a team photo op following the 2-0 victory at Westhampton Beach’s Carl Hansen Memorial Field. Standing next to each other, Elizabeth Shields, Maura Ginley and Brooke Langella each held a gold balloon that together formed the numeral “100.” To also commemorate the milestone, Gilmore was presented with a soccer ball signed by her players, a poster that read “HAPPY 100” and flowers, among other items.
“She’s very inspiring,” senior center midfielder Gianna Cacciola said. “She always wants us to play our best. She always pushes us to do better. She’s a very popular coach. All the players love her.”
Senior right back Sara Hobbes said: “It’s like an honor to play for her. She’s such a good coach.”
This is Gilmore’s ninth year coaching SWR (3-1, 3-0 Suffolk County Division II). Her career record stands at 100-27-9 (.735). She has taken the Wildcats to the playoffs in seven of the past eight years, 2012 being the exception.
“I can’t believe I’ve been coaching that long,” she said. “I was glad the wins definitely outweighed the losses and the ties, but it’s fun. I love coaching. You don’t do it for the money. I’ve been asked to coach other places. I have never wanted to leave. It’s always just been about the community, and I’m proud to be a Wildcat and to represent Shoreham.”
And Gilmore said she enjoys the pasta parties, receiving text messages from players on Thanksgiving and notes from ex-players telling her about their first collegiate goal. “It just shows that you have made a difference in their lives,” she said.
Win No. 100 was a nice one. The final score was misleading. SWR thoroughly dominated, outshooting Westhampton, 24-0, while Gilmore and assistant coach Brian Ferguson watched from the sideline. Ashley Borriello and Cacciola both netted their second goals of the season, but Westhampton goalkeeper Jade Merrell made 10 saves, several from close range, to keep things close.
The SWR defense, with sweeper Maddy Joannou, stopper Langella, left back Alexa Constant and Hobbes, cut out potential trouble and left little for goalkeeper Alison Devall to do other than collect an occasional ball rolling into the penalty area.
After receiving a pass from Graceann Leonard, Borriello sent a low shot off the far right goalpost. Shortly after, that pair connected again, this time for a goal. Leonard won a ball from a defender and found Borriello. The junior striker made a move to her left before striking a left-footed shot into the net 16 minutes, 51 seconds into the first half.
Westhampton (2-3, 2-2) defended doggedly. Despite SWR’s dominance, the Wildcats had only one goal to show for their efforts for a while. Merrell made three saves in the opening few minutes of the second half and was undoubtedly grateful to see a 27-yard free kick by Cacciola skim off the top of the crossbar.
Hobbes met a Lakin Ciampo corner kick with a first-time blast — right into Merrell’s hands.
Then SWR finally knocked in an insurance goal. Madison Bergen laid a ball back and Cacciola nailed it in.
“They played great,” Gilmore said. “I thought Westhampton’s goalie did a great job. I thought she had a phenomenal game, but I think from start to end they really controlled the game and played such a great game, so I was very proud of them.”
Soccer is a family affair for Gilmore. Her father, Gary Weger, goes to almost every one of her games and it’s not uncommon for her husband, Tim, and their children, Kayla and Cameron, to be cheering on the Wildcats as well.
Gilmore said her first career game as SWR’s coach was a win, over Sayville, she believes. “I’ll always remember the first one,” she said.
She may also never forget the 100th, either.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River coach Adrian Gilmore on the sideline with assistant coach Brian Ferguson during Gilmore’s 100th career win Tuesday at Westhampton Beach. (Credit: Bob Liepa)