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.