Apr 20, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now it’s safe for the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team to utter the phrase it’s been waiting to say for nearly 11 months – bring on Liverpool.
A wet, cold and wind-swept 11-5 victory over Baldwinsville Friday night at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium cleared the last hurdle for the Hornets prior to its reunion Tuesday night with the reigning Section III Class A champion Warriors.
It was Liverpool that ended F-M’s season each of the last two years in lopsided Section III Class A semifinals. And this game at LHS Stadium will be the only time the Hornets (7-0) and Warriors (6-2) meet in the regular season.
Carrying that unbeaten mark and the no. 7 state Class A ranking, F-M was facing the same B’ville side it had beaten at home 10-3 back on April 4, when the sun was out and the sky was blue.
That certainly wasn’t the case for the rematch. A warm late afternoon drastically changed just before face-off, the temperature dipping at least 25 degrees as the wind picked up and, by the second quarter, the rain started falling.
Perhaps sensing that conditions on the Bees’ much-maligned grass field would get worse as the night progressed, F-M, not in any way looking past B’ville toward Liverpool, made its decisive move early – in fact, it would get all the goals it would need in the first quarter.
In the span of less than a minute early in the period, Clay Arnold, Kevin Lux and Ryan DaRin all scored to push F-M to a 3-0 lead. Zach Bulak put the Bees on the board, but Arnold quickly answered with a second goal.
What really created a cushion was another Hornet spurt in the last minute of the first quarter. Klay and Kroy Arnoldwould score 22 seconds apart, and suddenly B’ville was staring at a 6-1 deficit.
The rain’s arrival slowed things down in the second period, and Kyle Akers notched the only goal, cutting F-M’s edge to 6-2, where it stood at halftime.
But as the rain’s volume picked up in the second quarter, F-M blocked all of the Bees’ comeback attempts, mainly through the work of Luke Krizman, who notched three goals after the break, and Jack Wilson, who managed three assists to give him five for the night.
This followed a cruise through last Tuesday’s home game against Central Square, where F-M set a season-high total for goals in a 24-2 romp over the Red Hawks.
Much of that production came in a one-sided first half, where F-M averaged a goal every 80 seconds, leading 8-1 after one period and 18-2 by the time they reached the break.
Even with a running clock throughout the second half, the Hornets managed to see 12 different players notch goals, paced by Lux, who had five goals and three assists, and Clay Arnold, who managed four goals and two assists.
Casey Greene scored twice, adding three assists, with Dan Cahill, Kroy Arnold, Tom LoSecco and Pat Quinlan each getting two goals. Wilson managed a goal and four assists as John Cote, Nick Walsh and Alex Leuze also took turns finding the net.
With the win secure, F-M now could focus on a Liverpool side that, despite its good start, has struggled on the offensive side, not getting to double digits in goals until its eighth game. Both of the Warriors’ defeats (to B’ville on April 9 and Auburn a week later) were at home by a single goal in games where it led at halftime.
Yet Liverpool still possesses that trademark zone defense, anchored by goalie Dominick Madonna, that so frustrated the Hornets in those 2011 and 2012 sectional semifinals. Solving that riddle will key whether F-M gets on top this time.
The trip to Liverpool only begins a tough week for F-M, who will have to visit Auburn on Friday and, a day later, make another road trip, this one to Skaneateles.