Jun 07, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Earning back-to-back state Class B championships was an extraordinary accomplishment – but a third consecutive state title proved out of the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team’s reach.
The Red Rams’ quest ended Wednesday night when Irondequoit, the Section V champions, beat them 8-5 in the state Class B semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
What it came down to was a simple question of possession. Irondequoit, by claiming a majority of the face-offs and patiently working the ball around without turnovers, dictated the game’s pace much of the night, a fact that J-D could not overcome.
“You’ve got to cherish your possessions,” said Red Rams head coach Jamie Archer. “We gave it away too many times. Every time we made a mistake, they capitalized on it.”
This was a familiar foe for the Rams. Irondequoit had reached the state semifinals in both 2010 and 2011, and both times J-D beat them en route to the big prize. Archer said those defeats gave the Eagles plenty of motivation.
“They (Irondequoit) were hungry, and played like they were hungry,” he said.
What made the Eagles’ effort more impressive was that J-D did start fast. Mike Engstrom scored 25 seconds into the game, and Lucas Johnson followed with a tally at the 3:07 mark to put the Rams in front 2-0.
And that was J-D’s last goal until McLaren Brady converted in the waning seconds of the third quarter. All told, the Rams were shut out for more than 32 minutes of game time, a drought it had not gone through in a long time.
Much of that could be attributed to Irondequoit gaining the face-offs. Once it did, the Eagles were content to hold the ball for long stretches of time, forcing J-D’s defense to work hard and keeping it away from the Rams’ potent attackers.
Irondequoit tied it, 2-2, early in the second quarter, and used goals by Nick Doktor and Jake Schmidt 1:27 apart late in the period to move ahead for good. In fact, J-D barely had the ball during that period, a big reason why the Rams were down 4-2 at the break.
They stayed that way until a spurt by the Eagles late in the third quarter. Brielle Caples scored to make it 5-2, and 50 seconds later Caples returned to the front of the net, taking a terrific pass from Connor Enright and beating Joe Shapiro, increasing J-D’s deficit to four.
The Rams were still down, 7-3, when it threatened to make it all the way back. Brady hit on a behind-the-back goal with 6:40 left, and less than two minutes later Deke Burns took his turn with a triple-fake shot past Eagles goalie Eric Fischer to make it 7-5.
J-D had a chance to cut the margin to one, but turned the ball over with less than three minutes left. Irondequoit worked the ball around, and Gunnar Miller clinched it with a goal with 1:45 to play.
So the Red Rams’ 16-4 season, full of stiff challenges from tough opposition and injuries to the likes of Brady and Jordan Evans, halted two wins short of a state championship three-peat. Despite this, Evans said he knows how much his departing seniors have accomplished.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of these guys,” he said. “These seniors have made a special run.”