15th Ranked Shoreham Wading River Lady Wildcats Team Preview

As we continue our top 20 preseason rankings heading into the 2023 season, it’s Shoreham Wading River who comes in at No. 15. The Wildcats come into this season feeling really good about themselves after the major strides they took in 2022. They went 12-5 overall and opened the eyes of many with their deep playoff run to the Suffolk Class C County Finals. Although they were defeated by Bayport Blue Point, they got a taste of the postseason which will only help them moving forward. Led by SWR alumni Alex Fehmel who is in her second season as head coach, she is excited about her team this season with the experience of their returning players. “I’m excited about this season because we have a decent amount of experienced returners. We went far last season, and I think the team was unfamiliar with that playoff pressure.”

The experience of their returning players begins with senior midfielder GraceAnn Leonard. The UNC commit is a phenomenal athlete and player, that can takeover games in a multitude of ways. Leonard can control the game as a scorer, on the draw circle, and on the defensive end. Last season she had a stat line of 33 goals and 14 assists to lead the team with 47 points. On the offensive side Leonard is joined by fellow seniors Abby Beran (UConn) and Annie Sheehan (Pace) who combined for 45 points. Without 2022 graduates Catherine Erb and Carlie Cutinella, Beran and Sheehan will be even more significant this year. Shoreham’s 11.3 goals per game was good for the fourth most among Suffolk County teams.

Shifting to the Wildcats’ defense, senior Brooke Meltcher (Wofford) is a key defender that returns to a defensive unit that won’t quite resemble what it looked like last year with the loss of Alexa Constant, and Mia Rosati. The protection in the net will also look different without Maggie Harding who was in the class of 2022. This means that young gun Gianna Ruggero could be tapped as the starting goalie this season. As an eighth grader last year Ruggero found herself on the varsity roster where she saw playing time and made 41 saves. In the LILJ HSWL Ruggero along with sophomore Leigha Serio each got the chance to take the field.

Another factor that led to their 2022 success was that they had young guns on their roster who proved to have a valuable impact. Grayce Kitchen, Charlotte Erb, and Reese Maracrio didn’t shy away from the spotlight and now come into this spring a little more seasoned. The trio of attackers came together to record 38 points and have only continued to increase their level of play throughout the winter.

The season opener is just over a week away which will be a non-league contest against Bellport on March 22nd followed by second non-league game against Smithtown East on the 25th. As for their marquee league matchups against Class C opponents, they will be taking on Westhampton (4/17), Rocky Point (4/19), Sayville (4/25), Bayport (5/1), and Mt. Sinai (5/9).

Coach Fehmel expressed belief that the experience gained from the postseason last year will help the team as they continue to progress and will help them become more confident in the talent that they have. “This year, I am confident that that playoff experience will be able to help us proceed and be confident in our talent because we have so much of it!”


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