Jun 08, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Seven goals down, four players down, the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team still came within an eyelash of a historic comeback in Friday’s state Class C semifinal at SUNY-Cortland.
The Brothers scored six straight goals in the final minutes to charge at Shoreham-Wading River, only to have the Wildcats hang on and prevail 14-13 to end CBA’s dreams of repeating as state champions.
Still, what will always be remembered about this contest was the Brothers’ resolve.
“I’ve never been been prouder of a group of kids,” said head coach Doug Segdwick, adding that this performance almost topped the 2011 state title run because of the odds his team faced.
Marisa Romeo, who notched five consecutive goals in the comeback, only to be denied on a point-blank attempt with 23 seconds left, said her team’s effort never waned.
“We knew we had better athletes, and we knew that we just couldn’t be denied,” she said.
Yet the story came back to the calls. During an evenly-played first half, CBA picked up three yellow cards. Four more cards in the second half left the Brothers at a disadvantage most ordinary teams could not overcome.
“All of those calls made a difference for us,” said Sedgwick. “Yet with those calls, our kids rose to the occassion more, and refused to quit.”
Before the wild ending, it looked like neither team would separate from the other. SWR took advantage of its first two possessions, getting back-to-back goals from Katie Boden and Alyssa Pearce to grab a 2-0 lead, but Caroline Webster got the Brothers on the board at the 6:38 mark, and tied it three minutes later.
After CBA’s defense settled down and made several stops, Romeo used an impressive spin move to find open space in front of the net and put her team in front, 3-2, with 10:33 left in the half. Now it was the Wildcats’ turn for a spurt, as goals from Pearce and Lauren Lustgarten put CBA behind 4-3.
From there, it continued to go back and forth, the Brothers twice pulling even on goals from Taylor Poplawski and Michelle Wiese, SWR twice answering as Jessica Angerman’s goal 1.5 seconds before the half left CBA trailing, 6-5, at the break.
The game turned after another exchange of goals early in the second half. Trailing 7-6, Poplawski picked up her second yellow card with 18:59 left, forcing her out of the game. It was also CBA’s fourth card, meaning it would go the rest of the way at least one player down.
Within four minutes of Poplawski’s departure, the Wildcats had built its lead to 11-6 on goals from Angerman, Alex Fehmel, Shannon Rosati and Paulina Constant.
Pearce and Constant added to CBA’s misery with goals 32 seconds apart that expanded the margin to 13-7, and Wiese drew a fifth yellow card, leaving the Brothers two players down. When Boden converted to make it 14-7 with 9:33 to play, it looked over.
It was not.
Within a span of 3:28, CBA won four consecutive draws and turned it into four consecutive goals – one from Webster, followed by three straight from Romeo. Suddenly, it was 14-11 and, with 5:40 left, SWR had to use a time-out.
On the ensuing draw, the Wildcats grabbed it – and a foul by Racciatti led to a sixth yellow card and a third player out of the game. A seventh card to Alyssa Pitonzo followed, adding to the disparity.
But Romeo still cut it to 14-12 with 2:02 left, and after she won yet another draw, Romeo burst in and, with 1:08 to play, converted to cut SWR’s margin to one. It was Romeo’s seventh goal of the day.
Again, the Brothers won the draw, working the ball around in the final minute. With 23 seconds left, Romeo got one more free position – but goalie Lauren Daly stopped it, and also stopped a shot from Webster in the waning seconds to help SWR hang on.
“We gave everything we had,” said Sedgwick.
Still, it ended, a breathtaking two-year run, and now seniors Webster, Wiese, Racciatti, Meg Hannan, Courtney Henderson, Kara Dell’uomo, Taylor Gait and Ellie Kelley depart. Both Webster and Gait are headed for Syracuse University.
But Romeo is back for 2013, and so is the likes of Poplawski, Alyssa Pitonzo, Olivia Pitonzo, Rachel Perla and Maddie Calkins, so a return to SUNY-Cortland is in the plans again, calls or not.