May 10, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Much of the time, the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team leans on, and showcases, its high-powered attack.
However, that had to change on Thursday night, when the Brothers went to Camillus to face unbeaten, defending state Class A champion West Genesee, always a difficult opponent against which to score goals.
The Wildcats did contain CBA for the most part – but the Brothers’ defense stepped up in response, doing what it needed, especially in the homestretch, to pull out a 7-6 victory.
Never trailing in the game, CBA couldn’t get away, either, a byproduct of WG forcing the Brothers into rushed passes and turnovers, something that head coach Doug Sedgwick expected.
“We got stagnant with the ball and made dumb mistakes,” said Sedgwick. “The tempo forced us into it.”
It was the same kind of tempo the Wildcats had relied on to win many of its 14 straight games this spring, including several close decisions over the likes of Penfield, Pittsford, Canandaigua and Honeoye Falls-Lima.
But the Brothers responded well to it. After Taylor Poplawski scored with 9:08 left to give CBA a 7-5 lead, it did not score again, and Alia Hildebrandt cut the margin to one barely a minute later.
That left CBA nearly eight minutes to hang on to a tiny margin. It did so with the same defense that had worked much of the night, one that relied on shutting down WG’s trademark backdoor cuts before they could develop.
Sedgwick saved particular praise for senior Maddie Calkins and sophomore Alexa Radziewicz, who followed the Wildcats’ assist leader, Hannah Elmer, and broke up several scoring opportunities.
In the last minute of regulation, WG defender Dina Cavallaro intercepted a wayward CBA pass, giving the Wildcats one more chance to force overtime – but they forced Hildebrandt into a charge near the net, causing a turnover, and ran out the remaining clock.
CBA also showed lots of poise after a first half where it controlled possession time by winning draws and out-hustling the Wildcats for ground balls, yet still could not hold on to a 3-1 lead as goals by Riley Donahue and Vicki Graveline forged a 3-3 tie at the break.
Freshman Maddie Cook hit on back-to-back goals 1:18 apart early in the second half, putting the Brothers in front for good at 5-3. Twice, the Wildcats would pull back within one, and twice CBA would respond, getting key late goals from Poplawski and Marisa Romeo.
Back from an arm injury that sidelined her the week before, Romeo frequently faced her usual assortment of double and triple teams from WG’s defenders, but still managed a pair of goals and played the entire 50 minutes. Goalie Alea Bonner finished with three saves.