May 28, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All the work the Fayetteville-Manlius girls lacrosse team put into its 2010 season reflected itself in the last minutes of a dramatic 10-9 victory over Baldwinsville in Friday’s Section III Class A semifinal at Christian Brothers Academy’s Alibrandi Stadium.
First it was the Hornets’ defense putting up tremendous resistance and shutting out the Bees in the game’s final 9 1/2 minutes, giving F-M time to recover from what been a three-goal deficit early in the second half.
Then it was F-M’s transition game shining once more in Alex Murphy’s game-winning goal with 22.7 seconds to play, coming at the end of a series of passes, the last one thrown by Mollie Caputo.
And finally, it was Caroline Trpcevski in the net, standing her ground and blocking Sam Yaro’s possible tying shot as the clock ran out, sending F-M into Tuesday’s Class A final against defending champion West Genesee at SUNY-Cortland.
All these elements have been put together by first-year head coach Kate Noel to transform the Hornets from uncertain potential to flourishing results.
That process arguably began the first time F-M played B’ville, on April 20 at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. In an exciting, back-and-forth affair, F-M pulled out a 15-14 win, foreshadowing the playoffs to come – but only in the slim margin.
Mostly, what had changed in the ensuing six weeks was the way the Hornets played on the back line in Trpcevski’s protection.
That manifested itself in the rematch after F-M saw four different first-half leads vanish and B’ville streak out in front, 7-4, early in the second half.
Led by seniors Meg Helmer, Chrissy Primo, Kieley O’Connor-Chapman and Jess Lavelle, F-M ran right with B’ville’s deep pool of attackers, never letting them get many open looks. And when the shots were taken, Trpcevski, who had 14 saves, would turn them back.
Meanwhile, the Hornets, frustrated early by a rash of great stops from B’ville goalie Caroline Walker (she had 12 saves), began to unleash its transition game in the late stages as it ate away at the Bees’ margin.
Caputo, frustrated that a possible tying goal got waived off for a crease violation, returned to beat Walker with 3:22 left to tie it, 9-9, setting up the exciting final sequence.
Overall, Caputo had two goals and two assists, leading a well-balanced offense where Kelly Perry, Taylor Robinson and Morgan Same also had two-goal outings. Primo earned the other goal, with Meg Wilson and Sarah Lux adding assists.
Murphy’s game-winner never happens were it not for F-M’s defense forcing a turnover after the Bees could not convert a long possession late in regulation. And Trpcevski’s 14th save, on Yaro, produced a trip to the finals.
Hours later, the F-M boys lacrosse team, with the top seed in Class A, breezed past no. 8 seed Rome Free Academy 17-5 in the quarterfinal round.
Improving to 16-1, the Hornets seized a 5-1 lead by the end of the first quarter and kept steadily expanding that margin the rest of the night, never facing a high stress level.
Ari Waffle, with two goals and four assists, and Brendan Englert, with two goals and three assists, served as the anchors of a deep, well-balanced attack.
Matt Klepper and Ryan Simmons each had three goals, while Taylor Gerhardt and Glen Trachtenberg put up two goals apiece. Mike O’Neil, Tim Beach and Jeff Shields also converted, with Todd Webster and Chris Walsh adding assists.
Now F-M gets a chance for payback in Tuesday’s Class A semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium against no. 4 seed Corcoran. The Cougars gave the Hornets its lone loss of the season, and if F-M avenges it, it will play West Genesee or Liverpool next Friday for a shot at its first sectional title in 17 years.