Though far from top form, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team still is in pursuit of its second state Class B championship in three years.
On Thursday night at 8 p.m., the Red Rams go to St. John Fisher College in Pittsford to face Canandaigua (Section V) in the state Class B semifinals. The winner gets Niskayuna or Sayville in Saturday's 4 p.m. final at Marina Auto Stadium (formerly PAETEC Park) in Rochester.
All this followed the Red Rams' uneven effort in Tuesday night'ss Class B regional final at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
Though J-D did beat St. Lawrence 9-3, it was far from artistic. St. Lawrence had just stunned Chenango Forks in the previous regional round on June 6 and had no intention of letting the Rams set a fast tempo.
To that end, the Larries lay back in a zone, taking away J-D's speed and forcing outside shots. Most of the Rams ended up firing into various St. Lawrence defenders, who used their bodies as shields to cause more frustration.
Only Eric DeJohn solved the riddle in the first half, getting three goals as the Rams inched into a 4-2 lead. Connor McCuin, who had 17 saves, added to the excitement in the half by running downfield and firing a shot past Gordie Gehring, a rare case of a goalie scoring.
That would prove to be the Larries' high point, though. J-D began to click on the offensive side in the third quarter, doubling its output and stretching out the lead to 8-3. DeJohn finished with four goals as Mac Keehfus scored twice. Colin Short backed up his single goal with three assists as Jake Bratek got one goal and one assist.
The Rams' defense did the rest, performing as well as it did in the late stages of the sectional final against Carthage. Mike Fiacco, Joe Daddario and Mac Feiner led a physical, imposing back line, and Gehring added nine saves.
J-D now gets Canandaigua, a Class A state semifinalist in 2008 who moved down to Class B this spring and ripped Hamburg 17-3 in its regional final to get this far.