They are defending state champions and it showed.
The Shoreham/Wading River boys lacrosse team is a perennial powerhouse both in Suffolk County and statewide, winning the New York State Class C Championship last year, the third in the program’s history. And their superior skills were evident as the Wildcats downed visiting Westhampton Beach, 15-9, in the Division II opener for both teams on March 27.
The meeting will be the only one of the season for the Canes and Wildcats as the squads are in two different classifications during the postseason. Westhampton Beach is a Class B school and Shoreham/Wading River is a Class C program.
“They are one of the better programs on the island year in and year out,” Westhampton Beach head coach Drew Peters said. “Every year they graduate great players but they replenish with more great players.”
He continued, “Obviously it’s not the ideal team to start the season with. They play a lot of high quality teams before the regular season even starts so they are always ready to play, ready to go. But I don’t get to make those decisions so we just have to go out and play the game.”
The Wildcats wasted no time exerting their dominance, scoring six unanswered goals during the first quarter. Hunter Hayes opened the scoring for the home team less than three minutes into the game followed two minutes later by a score from Anthony Visintin. Hayes scored again less than a minute later and Troy Miller scored twice and Tim Rotanz netted one to give their team a 6-0 advantage after the first quarter.
“That was a tough start; it really put us in a hole,” Peters said. “We were having a hard time stopping them on defense and then on the offensive side, we had a couple opportunities that didn’t go our way. We had some chances that we should have capitalized on.”
Scoring was minimal in the second quarter as Rotanz scored the home team’s only goal and the Hurricanes finally put points on the board. Westhampton Beach’s Casey Hickey scored on an assist from Evan Gagne with 10:33 to go in the half and teammate Brian Corrigan, who came out of the goal temporarily, made it 7-2—assisted by Jack Murphy—at the half with a goal with 2:55 on the clock.
The Wildcats built their lead to seven goals with just more than three minutes to go in the third quarter, taking an 11-4 advantage, but then a flurry of back-to-back-to-back scores from the Canes cut the lead to its closest margin since the opening minutes.
As Shoreham/Wading River built its lead on two goals from Rotanz and one from Visintin and Dan Malave, Hickey and Zach Moore both scored for the Canes. Then came three goals in 53 seconds from the visitors, two from Gagne and one from Hickey, to make it 11-7.
That’s as close as the team in black would come. Hayes scored with 37 seconds in the quarter and then the Wildcats outscored Westhampton Beach in the fourth quarter, 3-2, for a 15-9 final. Murphy and Gagne scored for the Canes in the fourth.
In the cage for Westhampton Beach, Corrigan allowed 10 goals while making seven saves and Patrick Dean had four saves and allowed two scores.
“We see what it takes to play at a high level,” Peters said of the game. “They are always one of the better teams in Division II and it was good for us to see that caliber of play. We have some senior experience but we also have some guys who haven’t played much varsity so they now see what it takes to play at that level.”ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 4/2, at Bayport/Blue Point, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 4/4, vs. Comsewogue, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 4/8, at East Hampton, 4:30 p.m.