Cicero West Genesee boys lacrosse fans poised for another celebration as overtime started in Wednesday night’s section III Class A final against Liverpool at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium and the Wildcats had the ball on its stick.
Certainly, after rallying to tie the game late in regulation after trailing the Warriors 5-3, the Wildcats would fire the winning shot into the net, and with that deliver an 11th consecutive sectional title, breaking the Warriors’ hearts just as it did in the triple-overtime win in last year’s final.
Even Liverpool partisans, denied a sectional title for 23 years, had to feel that another valiant effort would result in another off-season full of pain and questions about what might have been.
Except in this case, the script changed.
WG turned it over, and with six seconds left in the first OT period, Liverpool’s Kyle DeAngelis, charging from the right side, ripped a low shot past goalie Scott Sidnam, and the Warriors had prevailed, 6-5, bringing the Wildcats’ decade-long reign to an end.
Brutal as this defeat was (the first for WG in any sectional game since 2001), head coach Mike Messere and his Wildcats knew it was foreshadowed by what took place in those four quarters of regulation.
Less than three weeks earlier, WG had routed Liverpool 14-4, relying on a lethal combination of dominance in the face-off circle, tough and effective man-to-man defense and the accurate shots of Ted Glesener, who poured in five goals and added two assists to counter the Warriors’ vaunted zone defense.
Other than the defense on its own side, the playoff rematch offered a complete contrast. Lining up closer to the ball, Liverpool’s Nick Kline snagged most of the face-offs from Glesener and Matt Schattner, allowing the Warriors to maintain possession for a majority of the night.