West Genesee’s girls lacrosse team with the state Class A championship trophy in front of the high school after beating Penfield, 9-5, to win the program’s sixth state title, but first since 2008. The Wildcats had lost in the state semifinals each of the last three years.
Again, WG's defense swarmed over an opponent. The senior trio of Huegel, Dana Anderson and Shelby Milne, playing for the last time together, joined sophomore Marissa Hudgins as they harassed the Patriots into all sorts of rushed passes and turnovers.
Despite all this, Penfield hung in there, because its own defense started to clamp down and make it more difficult for WG to operate, which slowed the tempo down. Sheila Nesselbush cut it to 4-2 late in the half, and that's where it stood at the break.
Remembering that Penfield had erased a 3-0 deficit the day before in the semifinal with Shaker, the Wildcats continued its strong defense early in the second half, making a stop. Then, at the 3:30 mark, Datellas found Shannon Hawley, whose bounce shot found the net and extended the lead to 5-2.
But Nesselbush brought Penfield closer, hitting on back-to-back goals in a span of 1:03 that slashed the margin to 5-4 and caused the Wildcats to use a time-out. Right after that, Nesselbush had a great chance to tie it on a free-position shot, but hit the left post.
Vacanti didn't miss, though, when her shot found the left side of the net with 11:49 left. Penfield had pulled even, 5-5, and that elusive sixth state championship was now very much in question.
At that point, said Geremia, "we told ourselves that we had to finish it now", to not let it get as close as the previous two playoff games, both of them one-goal decisions.
Tripodi led the decisive charge. From the right side, the senior slipped an odd-angle shot past a stunned Pascuzzi with 9:58 to play, pushing WG back in front 6-5.
"I just went up and face-dodged", said Tripodi. "She (Pascuzzi) was off the pipe, so I tried to sneak it in."