Camillus Baldwinsville girls lacrosse coach Doug Rowe would have preferred that his team’s Class A regional final matchup Saturday night at West Genesee High School went the way of the Class B and C games before it.
In those games, Section III powerhouses Skaneateles and Christian Brothers Academy each put up 21 goals as they cruised past Massena and Vestal, respectively, to their respective state semifinals.
But the Bees had to grind out a 10-8 victory over Section IV champion Corning-Painted Post to keep alive the chance at its first state championship in 13 years. They will face Section 1 champion Suffern at SUNY Cortland in the semifinals on Friday at 9:30 a.m, with the winner going to the state title game on that same Cortland turf exactly 24 hours later.
Taylor Gebhardt and Corning’s Nenna Merola went toe to toe, scoring five goals apiece to pace their teams. Coming out of halftime with a 6-5 score in favor of B'ville, Gebhardt and Merola traded goals until the Bees held a 9-7 advantage with 14:31 to go.
Sarah Klaben’s free position goal with 7:06 left broke seven minutes of scoreless play, which included a pair of huge saves by Bees’ goalie Nicole Burrows to preserve the lead. Burrows came up big again with a save on Merola less than a minute after Klaben’s goal.
Haley Lukefahr’s free position goal with 5:42 cut B'ville's lead to two, but the Bees won the ensuing face-off and ran four minutes off the clock before Marjorie Dehm turned the ball over with 1:48 to play.
Despite these mistakes, Burrows made her seventh and final save with 52 seconds to play, sealing B'ville’s spot in the state semifinals.
Though the Section III Class A champions never trailed, it also never led by more than one in the first half and two in the second until Klaben’s final goal.
The two teams traded scores all the way through the first half, though Klaben recorded the all-important first goal just 16 seconds after the initial draw. Frink tallied the Bees’ second and third goals, Gebhardt the fourth and fifth, and Amari Pollard put in the sixth and final goal of the half on a long solo run from midfield.
As in its previous two playoff games (sectional wins over Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse), once the Bees got in front, it stayed there, something that it hopes to repeat two more times at Cortland.