With only nine miles of separation down Route 25A, Shoreham-Wading River and Mount Sinai athletics often find themselves in the middle of rivalries.
“I think them being right down the road, it’s a big rivalry,” Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer coach Adrian Gilmore said. “It seems to be they knock us, then we beat them.”
But this season, neither has been able to best the other as the two schools played to a scoreless girls soccer tie Tuesday at Shoreham-Wading River High School in Suffolk VI. The two teams also tied, 2-2, on Sept. 8.
In a game with a playoff atmosphere, Shoreham-Wading River had two goals called off for offside in a five-minute span. Giana Cacciola fielded a through ball and beat the Mount Sinai goalkeeper before the offside whistle 20 minutes into the game. Nicky Constant did the same five minutes later.
“I thought the girls played tough,” Gilmore said. “There were just things we didn’t get lucky on.”
Gilmore credited her back-line play of Samantha Higgins, Caitlin Kelly, Alaina Cacace, Rikkimarie Alessi and Kaliegh Kirkpatrick in the shutout. Higgins, the starting sweeper who Gilmore called one of the best players on the team, was forced to leave the game with a foot injury. That’s when Alessi took over at sweeper, showing her versatility.
Lydia Kessel, a junior in her third season as the starting goalkeeper, had what Gilmore called the “Best game I think since I’ve seen her play since the Long Island Championship [in 2014].” Kessel made five saves, including multiple acrobatic plays and dictated the defense in the game.
“She controls the whole back line,” Gilmore said. “She’s the voice in the back — telling people to fly, mark up, and kids respond to her. She has that fight in her and she sees what her teammates can do. I always say it’s really like having another coach on the field.”
Caiya Schuster had 10 saves in a strong performance for Mount Sinai, as both teams move to 4-1-2 in Suffolk VI.
It’s the last time they are scheduled to meet in the regular season, but that certainly doesn’t guarantee they won’t see each other again this year. And playing these close games with each other have prepared them for postseason action, rather than one-sided matchups.
“When you have games that are 5 or 6 nothing,” Gilmore said, “they don’t get you ready for the playoffs the way these games do.”