Now just one victory separates the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team from the first state championship in the program's history.
Two big runs - one early in the first half, the other early in the second half - made the difference as the Brothers defeated Section V champion Marcus Whitman by a score of 13-9 Friday afternoon at SUNY-Cortland.
Now CBA will face Mount Sinai, a Section XI school from Long Island, in the championship game Saturday at noon, also at SUNY-Cortland. Mount Sinai defeated Pearl River (Section I) in the other state semifinal.
Perhaps the most important part of CBA's effort was that it showed no initial jitters. Instead, it bolted out to a quick lead on Whitman and would not trail for one second the entire afternoon.
Meg Hannan and Caroline Webster got it started with goals 18 seconds apart, and Sophie Racciatti followed up to make it 3-0 before the game was six minutes old. After the Panthers got on the board, Marisa Romeo struck for the first two of her four goals, expanding the margin to 5-1 and forcing Whitman to take a time-out.
After the Panthers closed the gap to 5-2, Michelle Wiese scored, and Racciatti landed her second goal, making it 7-2. What kept CBA from complacency was seeing Whitman convert twice late in the half, making it 7-4 as the teams went to the break.
Romeo and Racciatti both got goals early in the second half, but the real turning point came when, down 9-5, Whitman attacked and put a shot off the post. Seconds later, Wiese converted on the other end, and CBA had newfound momentum.
Romeo and Taylor Poplawski followed with goals as the Brothers' lead expanded to 12-5, essentially putting the game out of reach.
Aside from Romeo, who had three assists to go with her four goals, Racciatti, with three goals, was the main threat as Wiese and Webster each scored twice. Courtney Henderson made nine saves as, for Whitman, Megan Robson (four goals, two assists) and Hannah Barnett (three goals, one assist) accounted for most of the offense.