Jun 11, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All the growing tension, the constant momentum shifts, the passion and heart and energy shown in two hours of constant drama — and in the end, profound disappointment and frustration.
When the West Genesee girls lacrosse team played Lakeland-Panas in Friday’s state Class A semifinal at Tompkins-Cortland Community College, it figured on a tough battle, but expected to pull through so it could pursue its sixth state title a day later.
Instead, it got the same ending as 2009 — an overtime defeat, the Section I champion Rebels prevailing 12-11 when Kristin Pappalardo put in the decisive goal 19 seconds into the sudden-victory period.
WG took more shots, had more possession time thanks to winning a majority of the draws, and had several opportunities to win before Pappalardo’s tie-breaking shot.
“We had the looks, and we just didn’t capitalize on those opportunities,” head coach Bob Elmer said.
Part of that could be attributed to L-P goalie Alex Fitzpatrick, who constantly denied the Wildcats on point-blank scoring chances as she recorded 17 saves — eight in the first half, eight in the second half and one in the OT sessions.
Bre Hudgins, who had five goals in another star turn, said her team’s own inability to get the right shots had as much to do with it as Fitzpatrick’s play.
“She (Alex) was really good,” Hudgins said. “But we just didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
Remarkably, WG only led twice in this tight affair, including 1-0 after Karlyn Tupper’s goal 1:56 into the game. L-P countered with five goals from five different players, bolting to a 5-2 lead that forced the Wildcats to replace Sarah Elmer in goal with Libby Byrne — just as it had done in the sectional final against Fayetteville-Manlius.
WG’s defense settled down, and after Shannon Hawley cut it to 5-3, Mel Murphy and Hudgins scored 10 seconds apart late in the half to tie it, 5-5. Every Wildcat fan now expected the favorites to take charge.
But the Rebels proved tough, and from that point until deep into the second half, it became an exchange. Five times, L-P took the lead. Every time, the Wildcats answered as the game eventually would feature eight ties and Sarah Elmer re-entered the game.
Hudgins evened it again at 10-10 with 9:56 left, but neither side would score again in regulation. Sarah Elmer made a key save with two minutes left, and the Wildcats held the ball from there, trying to get the game-winner. But Hudgins was double-teamed, and the Rebels’ defenders kept anyone else from getting open.
So it went to a pair of three-minute overtime periods. Hudgins again came through in the first OT, winning the draw, then converting on a free-position shot 1:08 into that period. Both Fitzpatrick and Sarah Elmer would make close-up saves.
When Hudgins claimed the draw in the second OT, WG at first tried to run out the clock. But it turned the ball over, L-P charged again — and Anna Jesczek scored with 1:10 left to make it 11-11.
Since they were still even, it now went to sudden victory. Bridget McGovern beat Hudgins for the draw, and seconds later a foul gave Pappalardo the free-position that she would convert, sending the Rebels to the state final against Farmingdale.
WG, who was the state’s top-ranked Class A team entering the game, went 20-2, and both losses were by a single goal.
So a sixth state title would have to wait for 2011, but if it happens, it will be without departing seniors like
Hudgens, Elmer, Tupper, Corso, Lauren Michaels, Liz Powell and Bridget Alberts. A large cast is back, though, including Byrne, Hawley, Murphy, Katey Hart, Emily Tripodi, Natalie Anderson, Kara Datellas, Erica Geremia and Julie Dussing.