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F-M lax beats West Genny in grass field farewell

Let the record show that the last bit of athletic activity on the grass field at Fayetteville-Manlius Stadium involved boys lacrosse senior Ari Waffle taking a pass from Jim Krizman and firing a shot into the net past West Genesee goalie Tim Birchler.

That goal, 2:38 into overtime, gave the Hornets a 7-6 victory over the Wildcats in Tuesday night's regular-season finale - which doubled as the final game before the 47-year-old turf was removed, starting on Wednesday, in favor of a new, community-funded artificial turf that will open for play in mid-September.

Head coach Chris Kenneally noted that it was the first time F-M had ever beaten its long-time nemesis on this field. Other wins over West Genesee have taken place in other venues - even in Camillus - but not here, at least until this night.

To get it, F-M had to overcome a 6-4 deficit in the fourth quarter. It was Waffle igniting the comeback as he made a charge from the right side and, just before entering the crease, diving and beating Birchler to make it 6-5. Prior to that, Waffle, who had 36 goals entering the game, had not recorded a point, bottled up by John Sabert, one of WG's top defenders.

"I had to step up," Waffle said. "(Before then), I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do for the team."

F-M maintained the pressure as regulation time wound down. Just after using its last time-out, the Hornets found another opening and, with 1:30 left on a delayed penalty, Chris Anklin put in the tying goal.

Anklin won the ensuing face-off and F-M had the last shot of regulation, but could not convert. WG then got the first chance in overtime, only to see Stefan Basile block Matt Schattner's long shot from the point, setting up one more possession - and Waffle's game-winner, the only time the Hornets would lead all night.

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