Seeing is believing. What the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats saw through the raindrops on Saturday made them true believers — in themselves.
If the Wildcats were suffering from lagging self-confidence, they certainly received a significant boost that may be worth even more than the power-rating points they earned with their 11-7 victory over Mattituck/Greenport/Southold in a girls lacrosse game at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in Shoreham.
“We needed this,” Shoreham coach Brittany Davis said. “I think the girls needed this so badly to show them what they’re capable of.”
Shoreham (2-1, 2-1 Suffolk County Division II) showed mental toughness, twice bouncing back from deficits and persevering in the elements. Rain fell the entire game, with heavy downpours at times, but it didn’t seem to bother the Wildcats.
“The good thing about today is that it looked like the same game they would have played on a sunny Saturday,” said Davis.
As might have been expected of a showdown between eighth-seeded Mattituck (2-2, 1-2) and 10th-seeded Shoreham, it was a tight, competitive affair between two determined sides.
After Samantha Higgins tied the score at 5-5 for Shoreham early in the second half, teammate Mikayla Dwyer pumped in two goals to put the Wildcats ahead to stay.
Katie Hoeg and Audrey Hoeg both struck to pull Mattituck within a goal at 7-6 and 8-7, but Higgins, Jesse Arline and Sophia Triandafils sealed it for Shoreham with goals in the final 1 minute 45 seconds.
“I think reaching our potential was the best part about today,” said Higgins, who finished with three goals, three assists and six ground balls. “We really proved ourselves on the field and showed that we can compete with the good teams.”
Shoreham was also fortified with two goals apiece from Campbell Brant and Erin Triandafils. Its goalie, Gabby Cacciola, made six saves.
Katie Hoeg led Mattituck with three goals to go with an assist and five ground balls. Mackenzie Hoeg added two goals and one assist, and Alex Talbot made 15 saves.
The Tuckers played with midfielder Jane DiGregorio sitting at the scorer’s table. DiGregorio said she suffered a concussion while banging heads with Katie Hoeg in practice and expects to be able to return to practice on Thursday.
For Mattituck the game marked the conclusion of perhaps the most demanding three-game spell in team history. In their previous two games, the Tuckers defeated Babylon, 10-8, and lost to Mount Sinai, 10-4. Like Mattituck, both of those teams and Shoreham are all Class C teams that could meet in the playoffs.
“For us to make that next level, you got to play better teams,” Mattituck coach Matt Maloney said. “I think we struggled a little bit, missing a player, but every team has injuries, so you have to overcome that.”
The Wildcats showed they have the stick skills and the dodging ability to hang with Mattituck.
“I think it really proved to ourselves that we’re capable of winning and overcoming a hard team,” Erin Triandafils said. “Everyone says we’re the underdogs, but it’s a good position to be in because we can just prove everyone wrong one game at a time.”
Photo caption: Erin Triandafils, who scored twice for Shoreham-Wading River against Mattituck/Greenport/Southold, leads a charge upfield. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)