Liam Kershis of Shoreham Wading River makes his way around...

Liam Kershis of Shoreham Wading River makes his way around Demetrios Boutis of Mt. Sinai to the net during the Suffolk Class C boys lacrosse final on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook. Credit: Dawn McCormick

This moment never felt out of reach for the Shoreham-Wading River lacrosse team.

The No. 3 Wildcats didn’t expect all their losses this spring. But those lows led to a Suffolk Class C title, the school’s first since 2019, in a 10-7 win over No. 1 and previously undefeated Mount Sinai at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Tuesday.

“Just to come back and still win it. It means the world to me and my team and all these seniors that are here,” Wildcats attack Alec Gregorek said.

Gregorek scored twice in the first half, and Shoreham-Wading River (14-5) grabbed a 6-2 lead at halftime. Liam Kershis led the Wildcats, finishing with five goals, and goaltender Jaden Galfano stopped 15 shots.

Brayden Wilcken made 10 saves to keep Mount Sinai (17-1) in the game, and Nick Carretta scored three goals for the Mustangs, who scored five goals in the fourth quarter.

Carretta’s third made the score 9-7 with 2:48 left before Kershis netted his fifth with 16 seconds to play.

“It feels good to get one, to be honest,” Kershis said with a smile. “Nothing but respect to [Mount Sinai].”

The Wildcats lost to Mount Sinai in last year’s Suffolk Class C championship and lost to the Mustangs in early May this season.

The most recent loss to Mount Sinai was the last in a skid of four losses in five games. The Wildcats averaged 17 goals per game through their first six wins of the spring, then struggled midway through the season.

“Those losses were where we really found our true identity,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Mike Taylor said. “I think we needed to realize that you can stop anybody, but it’s hard to stop a team.”

“It was really about finding ourselves,” Kershis added. “We had to stop worrying about other teams and start playing offense together, start playing defense together.”

The Wildcats brought that togetherness with them into the Suffolk Class C playoffs, first beating No. 2 Bayport-Blue Point after losing to the Phantoms earlier this spring, then downing top-seeded Mount Sinai, which hadn’t allowed more than eight goals in a game all season.

“It just gave a fire to the entire team that we almost didn’t have because we weren’t as humble as we should’ve been coming into the season,” Gregorek said. “Those losses humbled us, and everyone on the team wanted it way more after that.”

“I believed in us and we believed in each other,” Galfano added. “We stayed humble and hungry, and we proved people wrong.”

Taylor, who before the season said this Wildcats team reminds him of the group that won the county, then state title in 2019, dedicated the win to his friend Matt LoNigro, an icon in the Suffolk sports community who recently passed away.

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