Wildcats boys lax squad surging as playoffs approach

After two losses against East Islip and Manhasset earlier this season, Shoreham-Wading River’s boys lacrosse squad has learned from their mistakes and is picking up steam in preparation for another run at a Suffolk County Class C championship.

SWR defeated Westhampton, 16-6 at Westhampton Beach High School Thursday. The win marked four in a row for the Wildcats, who have shown that the early season bumps in the road are far behind them.

“The whole point of the season going forward has been to get back on track,” senior captain Liam Kershis said. “A lot of this winning streak has to do with our leaders, our captains getting everyone’s mindset back to the ultimate goal. There was some finger pointing in the losses and eventually we agreed to just let the offensive unit work on the offense and the defensive unit work on the defense. I think if we cross our T’s and dot our I’s we’ll be just fine.”

Kershis exploded for five goals against Westhampton along with five assists as the Wildcats trailed just once after the Hurricanes scored the first goal of the game. SWR was ahead 7-2 at halftime before really puling away in the third and fourth quarters.  

“You always learn more from losses obviously,” SWR head coach Mike Taylor said. “When you win you never want to change anything. I think losses are good to keep us humble and hungry. We need to limit our catastrpohic mistakes. The good teams always take advantage.”

A formidable Westhampton side (7-5) was dismantled by an aggressive, well organized offensive onslaught. The ball was humming around the field with grace and precision and open shooters were routinely found for electric goals. In addition to Kershis’ five tallies, Andrew Cimino and Noah Gregorek both scored three times and Liam Gregorek found the back of the net twice.

“We had to just get back to our fundamentals,” Liam Gregorek said. “We know were a good team and I think in those two losses there was a lot of things to improve on as a unit. It wasn’t just the defense or just the offense, it was a full losing effort on both sides of the ball.”

“As harsh as it sounds, I expect more out of our leaders being that we have mostly seniors out there and they’ve been here before,” Taylor added. “We’re not playing our best lacrosse right now and we have some time to get things together before we go into the playoffs. Obviously we want to be playing our best lacrosse at the end of the season.”

The Wildcats (8-2) have five games left on the schedule including one against undefeated division leader Bayport-Blue Point.

“We don’t want to look that far ahead but I’m glad we’re playing Bayport-Blue Point at the end of the season,” Kershis said. “We’re continuing to grow as a team and that will be a great time to show how far we’ve come this season.”

The defense was rock solid against Westhampton Thursday and has only allowed more than 6 goals once in six games following the loss to East Islip. Jaden Galfano had 12 saves but the defense, led by Liam Taylor, caused numerous turnovers that led to fast break attacks the other way.

“The defense is getting better every day,” Taylor said. “We can’t let the outside noise affect our team. All we care about is ourselves and what we can control. It’s one game at a time for the rest of the way.”