Jun 01, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Hungry for its first-ever championship, the Marcellus girls lacrosse team took the plunge into the Section III Class C playoffs, never imagining that a familiar narrative would resurface as the most inopportune time.
Up by three late in last Saturday’s Class C semifinal against Skaneateles at West Genesee High School, the Mustangs could not hold on and dropped an 11-10 decision to the Lakers.
This game fell two days short of one year after the bitter disappointment of the 2008 Class C final, where Marcellus seemed to have the championship in hand — only to have the Lakers rally to beat them 12-11.
It was supposed to be different this time. Marcellus had just beaten Skaneateles 12 days earlier, on the Lakers’ home field, and roared into this semifinal off strong wins over Watertown IHC and Jordan-Elbridge in the first two rounds.
They traded goals for much of the first half — Skaneateles converting and Marcellus answering — until Erin Walter’s tally at the 14:04 mark pushed the Mustangs in front for the first time at 4-3. Nearly seven minutes later, Nora Barry converted to make it 5-3.
But in the last minute of the half, Skaneateles used back-to-back goals by Maddy Morrissey and Aly Davis to tie it, 5-5, and carried that momentum into the second half, seizing a 7-5 lead.
Led by Kelsey Madden, Erin Rohe and Caitrin Hickey, Marcellus would regroup on the defensive side, blanking the Lakers for nearly 12 minutes, more than enough time for the Mustangs to make what it thought would be a decisive move.
Barry, the Mustangs’ talented sophomore attacker, led the charge, getting three of her five goals to push Marcellus into a 9-7 lead. And when Stephanie O’Rourke pushed in her second goal with 9:57 left to make it 10-7, the Lakers had to use a time-out.
All of a sudden, the ghosts of the 2008 final returned. Within a span of less than 90 seconds, Aly and Carly Davis scored, making it 10-9, and Lindsay Angelillo hit the tying goal with 4:08 left to even it once more at 10-10.
So it remained, the two sides nearly headed for overtime. Then Morrissey, whose goals tied, then won the sectional final a year ago, made a charge from midfield through the Mustangs’ defense and, with 11 seconds left, beat Renee Poulott for the go-ahead goal.
Though little time remained, Marcellus still made a charge to the net, and Gosson got off a shot — but Skaneateles goalie Heather Mullen stopped it as the horn sounded.
Given the no. 3 seed, the Mustangs began play against no. 14 seed Watertown IHC in last Wednesday’s opening round and beat the Cavaliers 20-7.
For a while, IHC tried to hang around, only trailing 8-3 at the break, but Marcellus picked up the tempo in the second half and made it lopsided.
Barry, pouring in five goals and one assist, and Meghan Connors, with three goals and four assists, led the way. Leea Sinay scored four times, with Walter getting three goals and Gosson adding two goals and three assists. Denise Johns had a goal and two assists, with Stephanie O’Rourke and Andi Burrows also converting.
The difficulty level increased when, 24 hours later, Marcellus hosted no. 6 seed Jordan-Elbridge in the Class C quarterfinals, the Eagles having crushed Chittenango 18-5 in its opening-round game.
Though it did get challenged, Marcellus prevailed 13-9, building most of its margin in the first half as it fought its way to an 8-5 lead. Any time J-E wanted to get closer, the Mustangs answered, and Renee Poulott made 12 saves to keep her team in front.
Barry had four goals, with Connors producing two goals and two assists. Walter also found the net twice as Gosson got a goal and two assists. Johns, O’Rourke, Sinay and Kelly Welch scored to add further depth. J-E’s Carrie Farrugia led her side with three goals and two assists.
The painful loss to Skaneateles meant that the Mustangs would finish at 16-5. Seven seniors depart, including Gosson, Rohe, Madden, O’Rourke and Johns. Barry, Connors, Walter, Welch, Sinay and Poulott lead a deep returning cast for 2010.