Jun 03, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When is having a top seed and a direct line into a championship game a bad thing?
Perhaps the East Syracuse-Minoa girls lacrosse team could provide an answer after last Tuesday night’s 9-7 defeat to Watertown in the Section III Class B final at SUNY-Cortland.
ESM was one of just three teams to qualify for the sectional playoffs in Class B. And because it had the best league mark, the Spartans garnered the top seed and an automatic bye into the final round.
This meant, though, that ESM would have a 12-day break between games, having finished the regular season May 21 with a loss to Jamesville-DeWitt. Meanwhile, Watertown played — and beat — Fulton in the semifinal round just three days prior to the title game.
Such a long layoff could have two effects. Either it allows a team to refresh itself, get in a lot of practice and come back strong, or it causes rust, forcing them to spend a good amount of time just getting back into a competitive flow.
The way it turned out, ESM met the latter fate, even though Allyson Rossi gave her team a 1-0 lead by scoring just 57 seconds into the final against Watertown.
Burning to win it all after falling in last year’s final to Frontier League rival Carthage (who went to Class C this spring and won the sectional title there), the Cyclones would respond with four unanswered goals in the span of less than seven minutes to take control.
Taylor Nims, the younger sister of Syracuse University lacrosse hero Kenny Nims (she’s going to SU, too), assisted on two of those tallies and scored another. She would finish the night with three goals and two assists.
Trailing 4-1, ESM began its chase of the Cyclones. Forced to play lots of defense, back-line players Emily Rossi, Jessica Hogle and Rachel Kolod kept Watertown frustrated, and goalie Katie Cook made nine saves, many of them point-blank stops.
Rossi and Carissa Ficarro both scored to close the gap to 5-3 by halftime, and Ficarro converted again less than two minutes into the second half, making it 5-4.
They traded goals — Taylor Hughes scoring for Watertown, Gina Campese answering for ESM — and it was 6-5. But Watertown held the ball for long periods of time, picking up ground balls when it couldn’t convert, and ESM spent the better part of 10 minutes on the defensive.
Still, the Spartans stayed within sight, only trailing 8-6 when Campese hit on her second goal with 5:02 left, and she had another chance a minute later to draw the margin to one — but went to the net too aggressively, causing a charge.
When Rachel Schneeberger scored with 1:41 to play, making it 9-6, the Cyclones were safe, even as Campese tacked on a last-second tally to give her a hat trick.
At 12-6 to end its season, ESM will see just three seniors depart — but that includes Campese, Ficarro and starting midfielder Catherine Ruszczyk. Both of the Rossi sisters, plus Cook, Hogle, Kolod, Leah Sweeney, Marlee Vlassis and Lauren Greiner, plan to be back in 2010.