May 15, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even with a bit of the excitement taken out by what had taken place earlier in the week, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team’s showdown with Fayetteville-Manlius Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium still carried lots of meaning.
In fact, it nearly sent the Wildcats’ note-perfect run toward yet another set of Section III and state Class A championships off the rails.
Up by a big margin at halftime on the Hornets, the Wildcats saw that lead disappear, a rare sight that only got alleviated when John Glesener rescued a 9-8 victory in the final minute of regulation.
WG had not scored in the second half when Glesener picked up the ball with less than a minute left. Finding a small opening on the left side, the junior ripped a shot past F-M goalie Stefan Basile just inside the left post with 29.5 seconds to play. It was Glesener’s third goal of the night.
F-M would scramble to win the ensuing face-off. Yet even though it had a time-out, the Hornets chose not to use it — and WG pressured the ball and forced a turnover with 9.3 seconds left, allowing the Wildcats to escape.
Any kind of escape seemed unthinkable in the first half. Despite losing a majority of the face-offs, the Wildcats compensated with aggressive defense. Jack Conboy, Joe Fazio, Joe Fletcher and the rest of the back line produced a string of Hornet turnovers — and created chances on the other end.
With steady precision, WG worked its way to an 8-2 edge by halftime. Seven different players — Glesener, Jim Marks, Ike Hopper, Ryan McConnell, Matt McCabe, Conor Regin and Jordan Rogers — scored, with Tyler Brown contributing an assist.
Most teams, when faced with that kind of deficit against the Wildcats, would never recover, but F-M (who lost to WG 10-2 in their first meeting April 11 at Central Square) answered by dominating the second half.
Not only did the Hornets continue to win face-offs, it got more patient on the attack. Mike O’Neil, Matt Taylor, Mike Poppleton and Ari Waffle all took turns scoring, while its defense got more physical and Basile (who had eight saves) made several key stops.
When Taylor ripped a shot past Steve Mahle with 3:53 left, F-M had tied it, 8-8, and it had chances to take the lead, but couldn’t capitalize, setting the stage for Glesener’s rescue.
F-M’s 11-game win streak had been halted two nights earlier by Cicero-North Syracuse (coached by one of Messere’s former players, Bill Aldrich) in an 8-7 overtime decision where Mike DeBottis got the game-winner.
As this was going on, WG, having taken care of Messere’s 700th career win on May 8 against Liverpool, gained no. 701 at Rome Free Academy in a routine 15-3 victory.
By the time the first quarter was done, the Wildcats were already up 6-0, toying with the Black Knights as the margin grew to 13-1 in the third period.
McCabe, with three goals, and Hopper, with a goal and three assists, led a well-balanced attack where Rogers, Regin and Jaron Davie each had two goals and one assist. Marks also scored twice. McConnell, P.J. Hart and Casey Schattner earned single goals.
With its no. 1 state Class A ranking, the Wildcats would go to Baldwinsville Tuesday and host CNS on Senior Night Friday as a prelude to the Section III Class A playoffs.