Jun 01, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Down by six goals late in the second half of last Saturday’s Section III Class A semifinal at Marcellus High School, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls lacrosse team had a choice — accept its sad fate against West Genesee, or battle to the end.
By choosing the latter, the Hornets put a supreme scare into the two-time defending state Class A champion Wildcats before finally exiting the stage with an 11-9 defeat that was both disappointing and exhilarating at the same time.
In both of their regular-season meetings (on April 7 and May 18), F-M had scared WG a bit, only to see the Wildcats pull away in the end. What made the third game different was that it was the Hornets who would make the late push.
The start proved costly, though. WG raced out to a 4-0 lead, thwarting F-M’s attempts to slow down the game’s tempo as Maria DiFato’s pair of goals launched that early run.
Meg Keleher got the Hornets on the board at the 11:17 mark, and gradually the Hornets began to assert its own game, getting goals from Mollie Caputo and Morgan Axenfeld to close the gap to 5-3 late in the half.
Then came a crucial sequence. Taylor Robinson got open in front of the net with a shot to pull F-M within one — but Nicole Greco made a superb save. Less than a minute later, WG’s Karlyn Tupper scored, and the Hornets instead went to the break down 6-3.
Bre Hudgins made it worse with back-to-back goals early in the second half, and by the time Tupper landed her third goal with 9:58 left, F-M was down 11-5, and perhaps the Wildcats started thinking ahead to the sectional final.
If so, F-M made them pay for that presumption. Kelly Perry scored shortly after Tupper’s tally, and Sarah Lux hit on a goal with 5:49 left, making it 11-7.
Refusing to surrender, the Hornets kept attacking. With 1:17 left, Caputo’s second goal cut the margin to 11-8, and with 51 seconds to play, Axenfeld hit again, and the margin was two.
One more goal could make it quite exciting at the end, and F-M got a possession — but defender Lindsay Vona forced a turnover, and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
Lux finished with two goals and two assists as Axenfeld and Perry joined Caputo with their own two-goal outings. Tupper and Hudgins (two goals, three assists) led WG’s attack as F-M goalie Caroline Trpcevski matched Greco with 10 saves.
Just getting to meet West Genesee was enough of a chore. F-M hosted no. 5 seed Cicero-North Syracuse in last Thursday’s Class A quarterfinal, a team it had beaten twice in the regular season.
It would turn out the same this time, too, as the Hornets, with its depth and fast pace, wore down the Northstars and won by a score of 16-11.
At one point early in the game, F-M trailed, 5-2, but it didn’t panic. Instead, it started winning draws and finished the first half with five unanswered goals to seize a 7-5 lead.
From that point forward, the Hornets kept attacking, gradually pulling clear as six different players put up multiple goals.
Caputo, with four goals and two assists, led the way, as Mary Hartzheim gained three goals and one assist. Robinson had two goals and two assists, with Lux, Perry and Axenfeld each getting two goals and one assist. Jackie Keleher added a goal, too. Trpcevski had 10 saves to negate the three-goal hat tricks of CNS teammates Alyssa Cristaldi and Rachel Geruso.
F-M finished its season at 12-9, having played one of the country’s toughest schedules. Axenfeld, Keleher, Hartzheim and Carolyn Trespasz graduate, but a big returning cast that includes Lux, Perry, Caputo, Trpcevski, Robinson and defenders Jess Lavelle and Kiely O’Connor-Chapman should make the Hornets quite tough in 2010.