Jun 03, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What looked, for a few moments, to be one of the biggest wins in the history of Baldwinsville’s girls lacrosse program turned, instead, into one of its most painful defeats.
When West Genesee, the two-time defending state champions, rallied to beat the Bees 9-8 in overtime of Tuesday’s Section III Class A final at SUNY-Cortland, it reinforced the Wildcats’ supremacy –and at the same time, provided total heartache for everyone clad in red.
At one point in the second half, B’ville led 8-4. Even when the Wildcats came back to tie it, 8-8, the Bees had a shot to win it at the end of regulation. And even down by one, it had a chance to force sudden death at the end of the OT periods.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” head coach Doug Rowe said. “Our shots could have been a bit better.”
So ended a memorable trilogy between the top two-ranked teams in both the state and the country.
It began April 9, at Henninger’s Sunnycrest Field, when B’ville snapped WG’s 52-game win streak, and continued when the Wildcats won the rematch May 19 in Camillus — a game that would prove fateful for reasons other than the 10-7 outcome.
That was when Erika Bulken, an offensive anchor and lethal in the draw circle (she won about 75 percent of them, according to Rowe), went down for the season with a torn ACL.
Bulken was the only key player on either side to be on the sidelines for the championship game, and B’ville fans will always wonder if the outcome would have been different had Bulken been out there.
As it were, the sides were still evenly matched, and so familiar with each other that they went without a goal for nearly 12 minutes at one point in the first half. B’ville played with energy and fire, and didn’t get too discouraged when WG’s Maria DiFato scored 2:11 before halftime, giving her side a 4-3 halftime edge.
Just 1:17 into the second half, Kara Moschetti tied it, 4-4, and the Bees proceeded to run over the Wildcats in the next seven minutes during a 4-0 run.
On one end, defenders Meagan Rowe, Megan Collins and Caitlin Yaro were forcing WG’s attackers into mistakes. On the other end, Moschetti, Quincey Spagnoletti and Jen Fabian were taking turns getting goals, igniting both the bench and the large B’ville fan contingent.
No one could have dreamed that, when Mackenzie Kjerstad converted on a free-position goal with 17:41 left to make it 8-4, that the Bees would not score again.
WG never panicked, instead spreading out its defense to get to the Bees before its could set up its attack. Also, the Wildcats centered its offense around Bre Hudgins, who would ignite her team’s rally.
Hudgins scored two of her team’s next three goals in a four-minute span where Katey Hart also converted. B’ville still led, 8-7, but Morgan Corso intercepted a clearing pass deep in Bees territory and beat Casey Chiesa for the tying goal with 5:13 left.
They stayed 8-8 through the rest of regulation, the Bees catching a break when Karlyn Tupper’s possible go-ahead goal was nullified by a dangerous follow-through. And Chiesa stopped Sarah Brown point-blank with 1:35 to play.
Only six seconds showed on the clock when Spagnoletti earned a free-position shot. Everyone expected her to shoot — but she passed to Moschetti, whose shot was off target as time ran out.
They went on to the pair of three-minute OT periods, where the Wildcats, thanks to Hudgins, would win each of the three draws. Hudgins scored 1:45 into the first OT, and that goal would hold up, the Bees again unable to convert a free-position chance before the clock hit zero.
So many things went right for the Bees this spring. It went 19-2, rose to the top of the state and national rankings at one point, and ignited so much interest that hundreds traveled to games, including the sectional final.
Yet it ended in a painful way, and now B’ville must see 11 seniors depart, including Bulken, Chiesa, Moschetti, Spagnoletti, Fabian, Yaro, Katie VanDeValk and Meagan Rowe. Kjerstad, Collins, Lauren Roberts and Becky Guzzo lead the returning cast in 2010, determined to get the Bees all the way to the top.