Jun 12, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Each of the previous five times the West Genesee girls lacrosse team went to SUNY-Cortland for the state Class A final four, it came home with the big prize.
But the Wildcats’ quest to make it six titles fell short in last Friday’s state Class A semifinal against Farmingdale, who gained a measure of payback by beating WG 10-9 in overtime.
“We were not on top of our game,” Bre Hudgins said. “But we lost to a great team. They (Farmingdale) came ready to play.”
These same two sides had met in the 2008 state final on that same SUNY-Cortland turf, with the Wildcats prevailing 13-12. The rematch would prove just as close — but have a different conclusion.
Neither side scored in the game’s first 10 minutes, the defenses dominating until Morgan Corso converted off a feed from Bre Hudgins.
With the game tied 1-1, Maria DiFato and Karlyn Tupper scored 14 seconds apart, and WG would keep that lead the rest of the first half. Tupper and Hudgins would add tallies, and the Wildcats took a 5-3 advantage to the break.
Farmingdale caught up early in the second half at 6-6. DiFato put the Wildcats back in front, and despite long possessions on both sides, it would stay scoreless for more than 13 minutes, which set up a wild finish.
DiFato broke the long drought with 4:13 left, doubling the Wildcats’ margin to 8-6, and the Dalers called a time-out. From that point forward, Hudgins said, Farmingdale would dominate on the draws, causing much of what followed.
“Usually, we are good on the draws, and that affected the outcome,” she said.
Indeed, Farmingdale would win back-to-back draws, and Melanie Raso would land two goals in a span of 43 seconds, the latter coming with 1:44 to play to tie it 8-8.
The Dalers won the next draw, too, and worked down the clock. Finally, with 18 seconds left, Janine Hillier broke in from the left and fired a shot past Nicole Greco, and Farmingdale had its first lead of the afternoon.
Down 9-8, WG still had time, and gained possession of the ball with 12 seconds left. Hudgins charged to the net and was fouled a moment before converting.
Thus, Hudgens had to score again, and just three seconds showed on the clock. Displaying her poise and power, Hudgens blasted a shot past Lauren Maksym just as regulation time expired, forcing overtime.
Wildcat players and fans were pumped up — maybe too much so, Hudgins said.
“We got too excited, and we thought we had more time to work with than we did,” she said.
In the first of two three-minute OT periods, Farmingdale regained the ball after turnovers on both sides. Hillier returned, and put in her fourth goal 1:22 into the extra period.
Twice more, the Dalers would win draws, and though it didn’t score again, it successfully killed the rest of the first OT, plus all three minutes of the second OT to earn a place in the state finals against Guilderland.
So for the first time since 2006, a season ended without a state title for the Wildcats, who still got this far after seeing 14 seniors from the 2008 championship team graduate.
“People didn’t expect us to be here,” head coach Bob Elmer said. “Overall, I’m proud of them.”
Now 10 seniors depart, including Greco, DiFato, Chelsea Kuss, Jess Shanley, Sarah Brown, Kellyn Savage, Laura Luchessi and Lindsay Vona. The return of Hudgins, Corso, Katey Hart, Mel Murphy, Lauren Michaels and Kara Datellas, among others, plus a newfound hunger to get back to the top in the state, will keep West Genesee tough in 2010.