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Girls Lacrosse: Strong Sayville catches SWR on its heels

Alex Fehmel has been to the top of the mountain with the Shoreham-Wading River girls lacrosse team — twice — as a player. Fehmel was a midfielder on SWR’s state championship teams in 2010 and 2012, her freshman and junior seasons.

Now she’s toiling in her first season as SWR’s coach, trying to bring the Wildcats back to prominence. It’s a process that has its ups and downs.

“Now I feel like we’re in a spot that everyone in our division that we play is a good team,” Fehmel said. “Every game is a tough match. It’s gonna be like that. You can’t sleep on anyone, you know. Everyone is really talented. So yes, we’re working our way up that ladder again, trying to get to where we need to be.”

Some stumbles are inevitable along the way. That would include Tuesday when SWR faced a stiff hurdle, falling into a 12-3 hole and losing, 13-8, on a bitterly cold day at Sayville’s Timothy J. Henck Memorial Field.

“They were probably a little bit better than we expected,” SWR junior midfielder Abigail Beran said. “So we need to just be able to take this like a grain of salt and come back stronger.”

SWR did run off four straight goals by Beran, Annie Sheehan (assisted by Beran), Beran again and Graceann Leonard within a span of 1 minute, 37 seconds, to pull within 12-7 with 11:12 remaining in the Suffolk County Division II game. Just enough to make things a little more interesting, but it wasn’t enough for SWR to get the result it wanted.

“We don’t stop until the end,” SWR freshman attack Grayce Kitchen said. “We always fight.”

SWR (4-4, 4-4) was looking to snap a losing streak after opening the season with wins over Miller Place, West Babylon, Rocky Point and Center Moriches. Losses followed against Bayport-Blue Point, Comsewogue, West Babylon and Sayville. The Wildcats have been outscored, 50-32, in their last four games after outscoring opponents, 51-27, in their first four games.

Sayville (6-2, 6-2), which entered Tuesday’s game in second place — SWR was sixth in the 28-team division — showed it’s a team to be taken seriously, especially Taylor Hoss. The junior attack pumped in six goals. Jordan Messina added three goals and one assist and Ally Reilly had three goals and three draw controls. Brigid Manning also scored for the Golden Flashes.

Shoreham-Wading River’s Reese Marcario looks for an opening in Sayville’s defense. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

“They were good,” Beran said. “They came out harder and they fought — even to the end when we started to bounce back — and they were aggressive.”

Fehmel said Sayville is a “really good team, and we knew that they were going to fight to the very end. Like that was something that we talked about. We watched their game against Comsewogue. We know that they scored three goals in the last three minutes of the game. So we knew that they were a team that we couldn’t really sleep on, and we couldn’t have those lapses in play.”

Leonard brought SWR two goals, one assist, six draw controls, two ground balls and an interception. Beran also had two goals and an assist. Kitchen scored twice. Annie Sheehan and Carlie Cutinella added single tallies. Reese Marcario had an assist.

“I was really excited because I felt like we were getting our mojo on and I felt like we were ready to come back and it felt like we had a chance to win the game,” said Beran.

SWR was without senior midfielder Catherine Erb, who is out indefinitely with a broken wrist from the Comsewogue game.

Good things can come out of defeats, Fahlen said, especially for young players like hers.

“I would describe them as gritty because we do fight to the very end, and I just feel like we are so close to being there,” she said. “We just have to get over that hump like again, like we do have these young girls. They need to just believe in themselves. And if we have that fire and that spark, which we do have, we need to just execute it on the field because we see it in practice all the time.

“We can only take good things away from these types of games. You know, obviously, this isn’t the outcome that we wanted, but we’ll learn from it and hopefully not make the same mistakes that we made in this game again.”