The Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team has a group chat.
Xavier Arline said he created it a few weeks before the start of the season, a spot for him and his teammates to talk, chat strategy, even blow off some steam after a tough game. It was also a reminder, because Arline gave the chat a specific name – Prove People Wrong.
Arline said the Wildcats had one goal this spring, to silence their doubters and make history. They did both as the team defeated Jamesville-DeWitt, 12-7, on June 8 at St. John Fisher College in the Class C state final, capturing the program’s first title since 2012.
“That’s been our motto,” said Arline, who finished with five goals and two assists in the state championship. “Everyone doubted us, so I said, ‘That’s what it’s going to be. Prove people wrong.’ Everyone was all in.”
Shoreham-Wading River’s group chat was a microcosm of the team’s chemistry all season. The Wildcats were young, with more than a dozen underclassmen, but they never doubted what they’d be able to accomplish and thrived on every challenge they faced.
“I said to the program at the beginning, we’re not going to set a bar because I think our bar is something we can keep pushing forward,” coach Mike Taylor said. “I think the sky is the limit for this team.”
The Wildcats always had their sights set on a deep postseason run, but first Shoreham-Wading River had to get off Long Island.
Anthony Cimino scored the winning goal, off an assist from Arline, to lift the Wildcats to a 14-13 overtime victory over Mount Sinai in the Suffolk final. The Wildcats followed with a 13-12 victory over Cold Spring Harbor in the Long Island Championship, sparked by Gavin Gregorek’s four-goal day.
They were difficult games, but, according to Gregorek, they also gave Shoreham the confidence it needed to keep pushing forward.
“I thought it came together when it had to,” Gregorek said. “Those were huge games for us. After we got over that, we still had work to do, but it was a huge relief.”
Shoreham-Wading River didn’t slow down, settling into the kind of fast-paced offense the Wildcats thrived on all season. In their final two games, they outscored Rye and Jamesville-DeWitt, 25-13.
Arline led the way in the title game, but five other players added points and Liam Daly made seven saves, including a handful of point-blank looks. It was a performance Taylor said he was proud of and a moment he hopes will inspire future Shoreham teams.
“We always believed,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t ever about our opponent, it was always about ourselves. The guys were willing to put in the work, top to bottom.”
The group chat hasn’t been silenced yet. Shoreham-Wading River returns most of its roster next year and the squad is already starting to make plans, looking for back-to-back titles and something else to talk about.
“Everyone knows what it takes to get there because we’ve been there, but it doesn’t mean we can stop,” Arline said. “I’m excited to get out there with these guys and I know it just ended, but I’m ready for it to start again.”
WILDCATS' ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
vs. Bayport-Blue Point, 18-9
vs. Mt. Sinai, 14-13
LONG ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP
vs. Cold Spring Harbor, 13-2
vs. Rye, 13-6
vs. Jamesville-DeWitt, 12-7
It’s Shoreham-Wading River’s first championship since 2012 and the fourth in program history.