May 29, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Just to make a return to the Section III Class B finals, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team had to establish its neighborhood supremacy over East Syracuse-Minoa one more time.
But like the previous two meetings this spring, the Red Rams figured out the formula, bolting out of the gate and never letting the Spartans catch up in a 16-13 decision in last Saturday’s Class B semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
This advanced the Rams to Wednesday night’s Class B final, also at CNS, where it will face Cortland at 7:30. The Purple Tigers ripped Carthage 20-9 in the other semifinal.
ESM vowed that it could solve J-D in a way it couldn’t pull off in a pair of regular-season defeats, on April 19 and May 10.
Nothing was solved, though, in the game’s early going — other than the fact that J-D, when left alone on offense, can be extremely potent.
For much of the first 14 minutes of the game, the Rams possessed the ball. More alarmingly for the Spartans, J-D got wide-open looks, too, leading to an elaborate pitch-and-catch game around the net where the ball often found the net.
With Jim Marshall and Mike Edwards at the helm of this machine, J-D went up 5-1 by the end of the first quarter, then scored three times in a span of 90 seconds early in the second period to make it 8-1.
Here, the Rams started to relax — and all that did was let ESM back into the contest.
Furious at the way it had started, the Spartans reeled off four unanswered goal to erase most of the wide margin, and a new chase got underway.
Every time the Spartans would pull near, to within three or four goals, J-D would come to life and get a goal to make the margin more comfortable. This remained the pattern the rest of the way, with ESM never getting closer than that three-goal winning margin.
Marshall, with five goals, led the Rams’ push to victory and negating a fine effort from ESM goalie Justin Roth, who had 16 saves. John Albanese had his best game of the season for the Spartans, matching Marshall’s five-goal output.
Each side advanced to this showdown with relative ease. ESM took out no. 5 seed Watertown 16-8 in one Class B quarterfinal last Wednesday night, while J-D routed no. 8 seed Nottingham one night later.
Patiently, the Spartans established its edge on Watertown, then tore down the Cyclones with 13 total goals in the second and third periods, building a 16-3 lead before resting all of its starters in the fourth quarter.
Cody Young, with four goals and three assists, led a lethal ESM attack. Matt Cushing also scored four times, adding an assist, while Adam Vlassis earned three goals and one assist. Albanese found the net twice, as Alex Donlick, Jaime Conway and Nick Kolod all earned single goals.
J-D took its turn Thursday night against no. 8 seed Nottingham and had a double-digit lead by halftime of its 16-8 win over the Bulldogs.
Against the team current J-D head coach Jamie Archer once led, the Rams relied on Nick Marshall, who poured home seven goals as the Rams built an 11-1 edge by halftime and breezed through the rest of the night.
Jake Bratek offered the help, scoring three times and adding an assist. Bratek and Nick Marshall helped J-D’s main players relax a bit, as Daly, Mike Edwards, Jim Marshall, Mike Centra, Mike Colabeli and Kevin Kopp each notched single goals, with Edwards adding three assists.
After beating ESM, the Rams could focus on Cortland. They played two memorable regular-season games, each side prevailing once on the road — J-D on April 5 in frigid conditions at SUNY-Cortland, the Purple Tigers in a rematch on May 1. Cortland has not won a sectional championship since 1988.