CORTLAND, N.Y.— As the piled up snow under the scoreboard froze, the seconds on it melted off.
Even though the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team was greeted with bitter cold as they stepped onto the field Saturday for their state Class A semifinal against Jamesville-Dewitt the WIldcats got off to a hot start.
Ashley Borriello corralled a pass in the box from Gianna Cacciola and fired a shot into the lower right corner for the winner just 1:24 into Shoreham-Wading River’s 1-0 win at SUNY Cortland.
“It was really important for us to get that early goal,” Borriello said. “It really set our intensity level and made us more hyped for the rest of the game.”
The Wildcats will play Spencerport of Section V in the final at Cortland Sunday at 1:15 p.m.
Borriello is a part of a senior group that has played together for up to four years on the varsity squad and accomplished their goal of leading the Wildcats to the state final four for the first time in program history.
“These girls have worked so hard and these seniors have won two of the last three county finals,” coach Adrian Gilmore said. “They came out today and set the tone and I just thought they played great soccer.”
After the opening goal the Wildcats controlled play by keeping possession and quickly extinguishing any chances Jamesville-Dewitt had.
In both the Suffolk and Long Island finals the Wildcats fell behind and needed second half rallies to advance. Those games were the only time anyone scored in the first half against Shoreham-Wading River this season, according to Gilmore.
“Our goal was to get one in the first five minutes and then settle down and play our game and hopefully get a few more,” midfielder Elizabeth Shields said. “It was important for us to let them know and assert our dominance early in a sense.”
Shields had a couple of opportunities from long range and helped facilitate play for the Wildcats. She was instrumental all season long for Shoreham-Wading River after not playing with the team last season because of club soccer responsibilities.
“When she came back this year she was a key piece to the puzzle,” Gilmore said. “We talked this year about how we had all the pieces and they work so well together. We knew if we came out here and played our game it would lead to a win.”
Jamesville-Dewitt may have had the experience edge, having been to six straight state semifinals, but the Wildcats knew they had a chance to make their own history.
“Just being here and being the first team in our school’s history to be here is really important,” Borriello said. “Now it’s important to keep our confidence up because we worked hard all season to be here.”