DeWitt Young, poised and fearless, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team pulled off what no one else had in seven years - namely, beat West Genesee in the Section III Class A playoffs.
Hanna Haven's goal with 38.0 seconds left proved the difference-maker as the Northstars stunned the top-seeded, defending state champion Wildcats 7-6 in Friday's Class A semifinal at CBA's Alibrandi Stadium.
A Northstars roster with just five seniors ended WG's title run, which had included six consecutive sectional titles and a trio of state crowns in that span. Not since 2006 had the Wildcats lost in sectional post-season play.
"We have matured through a lot of adversity," said C-NS head coach Lloyd Hamilton. "The girls have worked tremendously hard to get better and have done a fantastic job."
Against the same WG side it lost to 13-5 back on April 4, C-NS showed just how much it had grown, playing sound defense and staying patient on the offensive end, even after the Wildcats erased the Northstars' 6-4 lead late in regulation.
With 1:13 left, C-NS had the ball and called a time-out. Assistant coach Jim Praino said that his instructions to the team were to remain patient and wait for the right shot.
That moment came when Haven, a sophomore, cut in front of the Wildcats' defense and, taking a pass from freshman Samantha Tortora, took a shot just as she was knocked to the turf that eluded WG goalie Andrea Francisco and found the net.
Still, it wasn't over. A long scramble following the draw found the Wildcats' Cailyn Negus coming up with the ball and drawing a foul. Charging down the field, Negus tried to go to the net, but a trio of C-NS defenders stripped the ball away, allowing the clock to run out.
To some degree, C-NS was helped by the game's unique circumstance. WG, due to its top seed and first-round bye, had not played in 10 days. And both sides had to deal with an odd late-May mix of rain, wind and cold temperatures.