May 23, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Amid of week of intense drama and high emotion, the Jordan-Elbridge boys lacrosse team had to win twice, or miss the Section III Class C playoffs. It could only get half the job done.
For the Jordan-Elbridge and Bishop Ludden boys lacrosse teams, post-season fates hinged on a meeting with each other — and what happened in the aftermath.
The head-to-head battle last Tuesday night produced tons of offense on both ends, but the Eagles had more firepower as it beat the Gaelic Knights 20-13.
Leading most of the way, J-E took a 4-2 advantage in the first quarter, then traded goals throughout a wild second period before going to the break nursing a slim 8-7 advantage. And that was just the warm-up act.
With relentless pressure, speed and skill, the Eagles overwhelmed Ludden’s thin defensive corps throughout the second half, gradually pulling away in the process.
Kory Smart and Josh Livingston both picked a good time for career-best efforts, as Smart earned eight goals and two assists, and Livingston poured in six goals, adding one assist.
Joey Poppe wasn’t far behind, finding the net four times, as Brian Belcher dished out five assists and joined Abe Patrick in the one-goal column. Ken Bush had a lot of trouble in the net, but still made 11 saves.
Ludden, in defeat, had Sean Connors score four times, while Brad Kirch (two assists) and Coin Lynch each got three goals. Connor Brown gained two goals and two assists, while Kyle Hotaling had one goal and one assist. Matt Catalano picked up two assists.
At 7-10, the Eagles met Marcellus Thursday, with a post-season berth still uncertain. But events off the field only made things more poignant.
On Tuesday, Aaron Guadagnolo, 21, was killed in a motor-vehicle accident. Aaron was the brother of current J-E sophomore Jeff Guadagnolo as well as Syracuse University lacrosse players Kyle and Tom Guadagnolo.
As a tribute to Aaron, all the J-E and Marcellus players wore “AG” patches on their helmets Thursday night, and the Eagles were determined to win in Aaron’s memory, aside from just wanting to reach the playoffs.
But the Mustangs, out of playoff contention, spoiled J-E’s plans with a second-half rally in deteriorating conditions, beating the Eagles 12-9.
Though the field was wet at the start, it wasn’t raining, and the emotionally charged Eagles pounced. Poppe had a three-goal hat trick in the first quarter to push J-E to a 4-1 lead.
Quickly, Marcellus made that up in the second quarter, then sneaked ahead 6-5 with Sean Conley’s goal just before halftime.
As a heavy rain began to fall in the third quarter, J-E regained the momentum, pouring in four unanswered goals. But after Smart’s tally with 3:41 left in the period, the Eagles would not find the net again, shut down by Mustang goalie Marcus Giarusso, who had 13 saves.
Marcellus cut it to 9-8 early in the fourth quarter, then got goals from Conley and Brain Walter just 21 seconds apart to move ahead for good. Defender C.J. Nye and Sean Connors added insurance goals down the stretch.
Overall, Poppe had five goals to lead both sides, with Smart scoring twice. Livingston and Hohm got the other goals, with Belcher and Patrick earning assists. Conley (four goals) and D.J. Merriman (three goals, two assists) led the Mustangs’ push.
While all this was going on, Ludden dropped a 12-11 decision to Tully, blowing its own 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter despite Shawn Lynch’s 20 saves.
Kirch, with five goals, and Conners, with four goals, accounted for most of Ludden’s offense, with Brown and Colin Lynch getting the other goals. Kevin DeOrdio (four goals) and T.J. Shaw (three goals, one assist) led the Black Knights’ late rally.
J-E, with a mark of 7-11, will see 11 seniors depart, including Poppe, Hohm, Smart, Belcher, Ken Bush, Tyler Bush, Cameron Hemler and Dustin Duger. Ludden finished with a record of 6-12.