May 31, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Kyle DeAngelis delivered the goal for which everyone associated with the Liverpool boys lacrosse team – players, coaches and fans alike- had waited 23 years to see.
When DeAngelis scored near the end of the first overtime period, he pushed the Warriors past West Genesee 6-5 in Wednesday night’s Section III Class A championship game at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
Two different streaks ended with that single goal. Not only did it deliver Liverpool’s first sectional title since 1989, it also ended the Wildcats’ 10-year championship run. Ironically, the Warriors were the last team to beat WG in a sectional game, way back in the 2001 semifinals.
This game meant a lot more, as signified the wild celebration on the field among the players, and in the stands among the Liverpool partisans, after DeAngelis made his historic conversion.
“It was a dream come true,” said DeAngelis.
His coach, Mike Felice, concurred. “It’s just hard to put into words what this means to us,” he said. “We worked so hard for this.”
The hard work culminated after the Wildcats, who controlled the ball for most of the OT period, turned it over on a bad pass. After a Liverpool time-out, DeAngelis took the ball at the point and watched the clock run down, just as he had done at the end of regulation before taking a shot stopped by WG goalie Scott Sidnam.
Then, less than six seconds before the period ended, DeAngelis worked past WG’s man-to-man defense, found an open lane to the net, and fired it past Sidnam for the championship-winning goal.
“I just took it to the rack and put it in,” said DeAngelis.
It was on that very same C-NS turf 12 months ago that those very same Warriors felt despair and dejection after West Genesee beat them 7-6 in an epic sectional final that wasn’t decided until the third overtime.
“If we didn’t have that (bad) feeling, we wouldn’t have made it back here,” said DeAngelis, adding that the team’s extra effort and preparation in the ensuing year created a chance at redemption.
Just as important, though, was the lessons learned from a 14-4 defeat to WG on May 10, a game where the Wildcats dominated in the face-off circle, took a big early lead and never got threatened.
Nick Kline, responsible for most of the Warriors’ face-offs, took away a simple lesson. “My coaches told me about getting closer to the ball,” he said.
The adjustment worked, as Kline won all five face-offs he took in the first quarter and continued to dominate against WG’s tandem of Matt Schattner and Ted Glesener as the night wore on. Kline also scored both of his team’s goals in the first half.
Rewards for Kline’s work did not appear right away, though, as Liverpool trailed 3-2 at the half. But that deficit was erased in the third quarter as DeAngelis tied it and Scott Kershner’s goal pushed Liverpool in front.
Just 41 seconds into the fourth quarter, Matt Glowacki converted, and Liverpool led 5-3. But the Wildcats hadn’t won 10 consecutive sectional championships by flinching in clutch situations.
WG held the ball throughout the latter stages, which tested the Warriors’ concentration. Then Glesener, who had five goals and two assists in that regular-season rout, beat Dominick Madonna with 2:59 to play, cutting it to 5-4.
An offsides call gave the Wildcats another chance, and Ryan St. Croix, from the right side, put in the tying goal with 1:04 left. Though many felt that, again, WG was about to keep the crown away from the Warriors in agonizing fashion, Felice said his players did not panic.
“It’s a game of runs,” he said. “Our boys weathered the storm and took care of it.”
First, though, it had to watch Sidnam stop a potential game-winning shot from DeAngelis at the end of regulation. Then it had to see the Wildcats claim the overtime face-off and pass it around the zone for three-plus minutes.
But unlike so many other times, it was West Genesee making the crucial mistake with an errant pass. Moments later, DeAngelis delivered, arguably, the biggest goal in Liverpool lacrosse history.
The story doesn’t end here, though, for Liverpool comes back to Bragman Stadium Saturday for the Class A regional final against Section IV champion Ithaca, which starts at 3:30.