Jun 06, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Everyone on the Christian Brothers Academy boys lacrosse team this spring was determined to take the final step to the program’s first-ever state championship.
That hunger stemmed from the team’s surprising run to the state title game in 2006. Cold Spring Harbor beat CBA 13-5 for that crown, but with a big returning cast in ’07, the Brothers were confident that no one would catch them.
But all of those dreams were thwarted last Tuesday night at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium, where CBA fell behind in the Class C regional final against Corning East and never caught up, falling to the Trojans 10-8.
This abrupt and unhappy ending came at the tail end of a busy stretch for CBA’s players. After knocking off LaFayette for the Section III Class C championship on May 30, the Brothers took a long bus ride to Potsdam to play (and beat) Canton in the first regional playoff game on June 2. A day later, 15 seniors on the team participated in CBA’s graduation ceremony.
Once it got through this combination of competition and commencement, the Brothers had to deal with Corning East, who had reached two of the last three state Class B finals before being moved down to Class C this season.
That change in class did little to sway the Trojans — until it lost on May 21 to Corning West, the first time in 41 years (and 97 meetings) that Corning East had lost to its bitter crosstown rivals. Stung by that experience, the Trojans regrouped and has played with fury ever since — a fury CBA would quickly feel.
In cold and wet conditions better suited to March than June, the Trojans pulled out in front, 2-0, in the opening minutes of play, as Mitch Keefer and Kellen Simmons both sneaked low shots past CBA goalie Zack Palmieri.
All looked to be fine when Craig Lange and Devin Daly answered with goals that tied the game 2-2 midway through the first quarter, but after that flurry, the Brothers would score just once over the next 2 1/2 periods of play, its biggest drought of the season.
Most of that was due to the activity at the center X. There, Corning East midfielder Carter Bloor proved his All-American credentials by winning 14 of the 20 face-offs he took against CBA.
This allowed the Trojans to play at the tempo it wanted. In a complete reversal of what took place in the sectional final, Corning East did to CBA exactly what the Brothers had done to LaFayette — that is, win the draws, then use long possessions to wear down the defense and keep the ball away from CBA’s attack.
Once the Trojans piled up three unanswered goals and took a 5-2 lead, CBA would find itself playing catch-up the rest of the way.
By the end of the third period, the deficit had grown to 8-3, yet despite everything going wrong, the Brothers refused to let its quest end with a whimper.
Jack Harmatuk, bottled up for most of the game, got free and earned a hat trick in less than five minutes, eventually cutting its deficit to 9-6 with 5:39 to play.
Weathering that storm, the Trojans got the ball back and possessed for a while, then clinched it on Bloor’s goal with 2:10 left, his third goal of the day, to go with three assists and all his face-off dominance.
Lange, with two goals and two assists, and Jovan Miller (who also scored twice) backed up Harmatuk, as Palmieri finished with eight saves, exactly half the total of Corning East goalie Tom Holden.
While the Brothers left the stage with a record of 21-2, Section III’s other champions breezed through the regional round at CNS.
Jamesville-DeWitt roared past Corning West 11-3 in the Class B regional finals.
The Red Rams built an 8-0 halftime lead and cruised from there, as Mike Edwards had four goals and Christian Daly added two goals and three assists. J-D’s first-team defense shut out Corning West, as all the Vikings’ goals came late in the fourth quarter.
J-D faces Geneva (Section V) in Thursday’s state semifinal at 3:30 at St. John Fisher College near Rochester, with the winner coming back to CNS for Saturday’s state title game at 11 a.m.
Also, West Genesee continued its run, methodically beating Vestal 14-2 in the Class A regional final.
Aaron Printup (three goals), Ryan Barber, Brian Donahue and Joe Pompo (two goals each) led a deep and balanced attack that eventually put Vestal away.
WG, as the nation’s top-ranked, goes to St. John Fisher Thursday night at 8 p.m. to meet Irondequoit in the state semifinal. The winner is in the state Class A title game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Bragman Stadium.