Jun 07, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A second state championship in three years is now within the grasp of the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team.
Led again by a potent and diverse attack, the Brothers outscored John Jay-Cross River 17-13 in Friday afternoon’s state Class B semifinal at SUNY-Cortland.
Marisa Romeo finished with six goals, but she was far from alone as CBA used its deep group of attackers to thwart the Indians and earn a chance at another title to match the state crown gained in 2011.
Maddie Cook and Olivia Pitonzo both notched three-goal hat tricks, while Taylor Poplawski and Rachel Perla each scored twice. Emily Ehle piled up four assists to go with her lone tally.
On Saturday at noon, CBA will face Brighton (Section V) in the state finals. The Barons survived a tense 9-8 semifinal with Manhasset, the team that ended Garden City’s seven-year state championship reign earlier in the post-season.
All season long, the Brothers had worked to get back to Cortland and, this time, make it past the state semifinals, where Shoreham-Wading River had beaten them in 2012 when CBA was still in the Class C ranks.
“We didn’t want that feeling again,” said Poplawski.
This time, the foe was John Jay-Cross River, the Section I champions with a 16-4-1 record. But the Indians had none of the state final four experience that CBA possessed.
And it didn’t take long for the Brothers to go in front 2-0, thanks to goals from Cook and Ehle in the first three minutes. Even when Dakota Adamec put JJ-CR on the board, Poplawski converted 10 seconds later, off a feed from Ehle, and the freshman also assisted on Romeo’s first tally to make it 4-1 and force the Indians to use an early time-out.
Romeo, again winning most of the draws, added a second goal, as did Cook, and Romeo tacked on her third goal after Pitonzo’s tally, and CBA had an 8-2 cushion late in the half. Just as quickly, though, the Indians made its own big attack late in the half, going on a 5-1 run as it cut the gap to 9-7.
“We took the ball out of the air too soon,” said CBA head coach Doug Sedgwick. “We came out strong, but John Jay didn’t quit. Their effort was tremendous and they had a lot of heart.”
If any single play was a turning point, it was Poplawski’s superb fast-break goal with 26.7 seconds left in the first half, which gave the Brothers a 10-7 lead going to the break, and crucial momentum.
“I just got the ball, and then one girl slid and I got past her,” said Poplawski “Then I faked a pass, went the other way and shot the ball in.”
Early in the second half, the Brothers regained control. Perla beat a triple team and converted 57 seconds into the second half, and though Hanna Bocklet answered for JJ-CR less than a minute later, Romeo notched her fifth and six goals, with Pitonzo converting in between, to make it 14-8 with 16:44 to play.
The Brothers kept on going, with goals from Cook and Poplawski that pushed the lead to 16-9 and served as a cushion against one more JJ-CR push. The Indians went on a 4-1 run to shrink the gap, but CBA goalie Alea Bonner made a pair of key late stops to secure CBA’s state finals berth.
Sedgwick said that solving Brighton’s stifling defense is the key to gaining the championship, while Romeo said the wisdom she and several of her veteran teammates gained from the 2011 state final will prove valuable.
“The experience we have is huge,” said Romeo. “If we use that experience well, the younger girls will follow suit.”