Aug 04, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As is traditional in each edition of the Wildcat Invitational, two West Genesee lacrosse teams took part – the varsity side, and the junior varsity side.
And this time around, the JV Wildcats trumped their older compatriots, going 3-0-1 for third place overall as part of the annual John Pepper Lacrosse Tournament weekend.
In all, 16 high school teams took part in the invitational. Local sides from Jamesville-DeWitt, Fayetteville-Manlius, Baldwinsville, Liverpool, LaFayette, Carthage and Watertown IHC joined the two Wildcats sides.
Top Tier, from North Carolina, and an Atlanta squad from Georgia joined the fun, too, as did Buffalo-area power Timon/St. Jude, Penfield, Canandaigua, Webster Thomas and Penn Yan. Each of them would play four games, with two 23-minute halves and no overtime.
Part of the tournament’s attraction was a large presence of college coaches. Organizers say more than 90 coaches from Division I, II and III of the NCAA ranks took part.
Thus, when the West Genesee JV side was deadlocked with Watertown IHC 9-9 in the opener, the tie wasn’t broken. Unfazed, the JV went on to edge Carthage 6-5 two hours later to appear in the win column for the first time.
During the afternoon session, the JV Wildcats won again, doubling up Canandaigua 8-4, and it completed play with another impressive defensive effort as it defeated Webster Thomas 6-3.
As for WG’s varsity, things started well in the morning with an 11-5 romp over Penn Yan, but the Wildcats could only manage a 7-7 tie with Top Tier. Then it ran into two of the better teams of the weekend, losing 10-3 to Timon/St. Jude and 11-5 to Atlanta.
Only two sides did better than the JV Wildcats. Timon/St. Jude dominated its four opponents (WG’s varsity, Atlanta, Liverpool and Penfield) by a combined 47-16 margin, while J-D clinched a perfect mark by edging past Fayetteville-Manlius 11-10 in a stirring final game for both sides.
Other local lacrosse players, including Nick Nye (Marcellus) and Zach Wagner (Jordan-Elbridge), took part with Central’s team in the Empire State Cup at Onondaga Community College.
Started in 2012, the Empire State Cup was designed to provide a tournament similar to that seen in the Empire State Games, which last took place in 2010. So Central, Western, Hudson Valley, Adirondack, Long Island and New York City squads came to OCC, with New York City the defending champions from the inaugural event.
Starting fast, Central beat Adirondack 13-1 on Thursday morning as Cazenovia state championship hero Ryan Cook gathered up three goals and one assist. Later that day, with Cook improving his total to four goals and two assists, Central won again, 14-7, over Hudson Valley,using a 7-2 run early in the second half to break the game open as Mann contributed key face-off wins.
Things began to turn on Friday. Central scored all 10 of its goals in the first half against Western, Cook getting half of them. But a second-half shutout forced Central to hang on for a 10-9 victory, an ominous sign of second-half struggles ahead.
Sure enough, in the fourth game Central took its first loss, 8-3, to Long Island, again unable to find the net in the second half after only trailing 4-3 at the break. Then Central had a 4-1 halftime lead against New York City, but again went into a second-half slump and lost, 6-5, costing it a chance to improve its position for Saturday’s playoff round.
Earning a semifinal spot, Central got a second victory over Adirondack, 10-4. Here, Cook served as a distributor, dishing out four assists to go with his lone goal.
In the semifinals, though, Central dropped a 10-6 decision to Long Island. This time around, a slow start, not a poor finish, doomed Central as it fell behind 8-2 halftime and could not make it all up, despite Cook contributing four goals to give him 12 for the tournament, tops among all individuals.