Blue Waves and Wildcats gear up for playoffs

With the spring high school regular season wrapped up, here’s a look at the Shoreham-Wading River and Riverhead squads that made the playoffs this year.


Back in September, first-year head coach Rich Vlacci Jr. had a meeting with the team and discussed their goals and how to achieve them.

“From day one these girls had the focus and they weren’t shy to say their goal was to win the league championship and then the County championship,” Vlacci said. 

One by one, Riverhead came up with victories with elite pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. It all amounted to a perfect 18-0 record — a first in Riverhead softball history. They won the school’s first league title since 2010 and just like that, one of their goals was checked off the list. Next up, a Suffolk County title. Riverhead has never won a county softball title in school history.

Jordyn Kwasna had an All-County type sophomore campaign, batting .483 from the plate with nine doubles, three triples and three home runs over the course of the season. She also led the team with RBIs with 24. Mya Marelli, who was League I pitcher of the year last year, is arguably the best pitcher in Suffolk County this season. The junior struck out 191 batters in just 103 innings pitched. Marelli also lit up the batter’s box, hitting .475 with eight doubles, three home runs and 20 RBIs. Freshman Sophia Viola batted .458 in the lead-off spot. Kaysee Mojo led the team in home runs with five.

The Suffolk County Class AAA brackets haven’t been released yet but Riverhead is undoubtedly the No. 1 seed and will play Tuesday at home against Ward Melville. 

“This group never quits,” Vlacci said. “They want success not only for themselves but for each other. They love to see each other succeed. And they understand that if they fail, somebody else is going to pick them up. Hanging up a banner and bringing pride to Riverhead sports means the world to us going into playoffs. We have to keep our energy and composure.”

RIVERHEAD BOYS LACROSSE (11-3 Division I, 13-3 overall)

Riverhead put together its best season in program history with a 13-3 overall record, earning them the 6th seed in the Suffolk County Division I playoffs. It’s been a long road for the Blue Waves who hadn’t made the playoffs since 2019, battling budget cuts and playing underclassmen the last few years. This group of seniors made it their mission to bring the team back to glory — and they delivered, defeating many of the teams that gave them trouble over the years. Close games, clutch moments and pure heart, this season had it all. Griffin Sumwalt had an incredible senior season, recording 50 goals and 26 assists. Zach Timpone scored 33 goals and assisted on 24. Sean Payton and Jackson Redmond came through with several clutch goals and Zach Maligres has been an absolute menace in the face-off circle, winning crucial possessions time and time again. The team defense led by Binghamton University commit Danny Healy has been electric.  Sophomore goaltender Dillon Zaleski saved 118 shots over the course of the season. Riverhead beat No. 11 Commack in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.

SHOREHAM-WADING RIVER BOYS LACROSSE (10-4 Division II, 10-6 overall)

Shoreham-Wading River didn’t close out the regular season the way they wanted to with two straight losses, but the playoffs open up an opportunity for a fresh start. Their 10-4 record in Division II earned them the No. 2 seed in the Suffolk County Class C playoffs. 

“While losing our last two games wasn’t ideal, it does provide us with a clear picture of what we need to improve upon in preparation for the next game,” head coach Mike Taylor said. “It’s important to acknowledge that we’re fortunate to make it to the playoffs. Now, it’s a reset. Everything we do well needs to be done better and any weaknesses must be quickly resolved. Preparation becomes super important as we tighten up our defense, maintain possession and execute our game plan consistently to make a deep run.”

They face off against No. 3 Kings Park on Friday at Shoreham-Wading River High School with game time slated for 5 p.m. The Wildcats defeated Kings Park, 10-9 during the regular season. 

“Our last game against Kings Park was intense and tightly contested,” Taylor said. “To replicate that success we need to continue our disciplined defense, capitalize on offensive opportunities and maintain composure in pressure situations. It’s about elevating our game to the next level and executing with precision.”

Notable regular season stats:

Liam Kershis: 35 goals, 44 assists
Liam Gregorek: 29 goals, 12 assists
Andrew Cimino: 29 goals, 7 assists
Alex Kershis: 22 goals, 11 assists
Ryan Wilson: 19 goals, 15 assists
Jaden Galfano: 136 saves


(Bill Landon photo)

The Wildcats regained their dominance from years past and put together a season that placed them in a tie for first place in the league. Their only blemish was a season sweep by Bayport-Blue Point. The Wildcats almost beat every other team in the division without dropping a game. Christian Cox was an absolute force from the plate all season long, hitting to an absurd .639 batting average. The shortstop only struck out five times the entire season. Gordon Votruba, Joseph Leo, Kyle Stella and Aiden Reilly all hit over .400. Votruba led the team in RBIs and was also the ace on the pitching staff. He threw a no-hitter in his last pitching performance of the season against John Glenn and posted a 1.629 ERA over seven starts. The Suffolk County brackets have yet to be posted but the Wildcats figure to be a high seed with a home game in round one.