It's true that the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team made the short drive home from Saturday's 9-2 victory over East Syracuse-Minoa possessing the Hall-Mercer Munze award as champions of the town of Manlius. But that didn't mean it was totally satisfied.
For more than a half, the Hornets sputtered in the face of a relentless Spartan defense, not making its decisive move until deep into the second half, when ESM's lack of depth finally caught up with them.
Even before the start, though, the Spartans were at a disadvantage as Garrett Smith, the team's leading scorer, sat out for the second straight game. Without him, ESM had managed to fend off New Hartford 6-4 two nights earlier, but the Hornets, with all its talent on hand, were a far bigger obstacle.
Things evened out, though, when F-M suffered through a lackluster first half full of low-percentage shots, bad passes and low energy. ESM had something to do with it as Andrew Reichert, Matt Ehde and Cam Diedrickson worked hard on the back line to prevent scoring chances and goalie Alex Krawec was on his way to recording nine saves.
At the half, the Spartans only trailed 2-1, Sean Dooling picking up the goal as Ari Waffle and Kevin Lux had converted for F-M in the first quarter. The Hornets' Alex Ferrara built the margin to 3-1 early in the third period, only to have Dooling answer and slice the margin to one.
ESM held up for a long time - but in a 31-second burst late in the third quarter, Jim Krizman twice made deft passes to set up Hornets goals - one by Ryan Simmons, the other by Waffle. Two minutes after that, Lux converted again, making it 6-2, and suddenly F-M was in control.
Simmons, Waffle and Sawyer Dew each converted in the fourth quarter to stretch out the margin further, and F-M's defense, led by veterans Matt Moro, Cody Barber and Connor Chen, held ESM without a goal for the game's last 17-plus minutes.