SHIRLEY, NY -- As the Shoreham-Wading River girls rushed the field to celebrate, their sticks were tossed high, like caps on graduation day. Why not? The Wildcats were, once again, head of the class.
After a one-year stint in Class B last season, Shoreham-Wading River returned to Class C and Sunday reclaimed its throne with a 13-10 win over North Shore in the girls lacrosse Long Island Championship at the Dowling Sports Complex.
"We came in really confident," said Alex Fehmel, who led the Wildcats with three goals and an assist. "We had a mentality like, 'This is our field; this is our game. We got this!'"
They've gotten it six times in the last seven years. After falling in the Suffolk Class B final last year, Shoreham-Wading River will make the familiar trip upstate for a state Class C semifinal on Friday at SUNY-Cortland.
Paulina Constant scored three goals and Shannon Rosati, Katie Boden and Jessica Angerman each scored twice. Lauren Lustgarten had two assists and Lauren Daly made 11 saves. Alyssa Fleming sparked a defense that held the Vikings' explosive offense in check.
Shoreham-Wading River (15-3) had built a sizable lead and a Fehmel goal had them up 9-3 with 22:28 remaining. But the opponent was North Shore, the team that pulled off improbable late comebacks in the Nassau semifinals and final last week. Surely, the Wildcats would be tested.
Amanda Johansen (five goals) pulled the Vikings within 11-9 with 7:26 left, but Rosati wriggled her way inside the arc and scored 31 seconds later for Shoreham-Wading River.
"I've never had the experience of being a Long Island champion," the sophomore said, "and I wasn't going to let this game slip away."
The Vikings' Alexis Greene made a slick save of a line drive with about 6:30 left that could have swung momentum for North Shore (16-4).
But Lustgarten chased down the goalie as she attempted to clear, forced and recovered a groundball, then flipped a pass to Alyssa Pearce, who scored to make it 13-9 with 6:02 left. Boden forced a turnover near midfield with 4:40 remaining and the Wildcats' stall offense drained the clock.
Shoreham-Wading River had done its homework, coach Mary Bergmann said. "On offense, we were prepared for their defensive shifting and we've got several talented girls up top who can counter that and score," she said. "We also knew they're a team that can come back, so it was up to us to remain composed and play smart."
Like Long Island's Class C valedictorians.