May 29, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With one strong move and one accurate shot, Dan Ginestro delivered more glory for the West Genesee boys lacrosse team – and more heartache for Fayetteville-Manlius.
Ginestro’s goal at the 2:32 mark of the second overtime period gave the Wildcats a 6-5 victory over the Hornets in Tuesday night’s Section III Class A championship game at the Carrier Dome.
The moment Ginestro’s shot found the net, twin scenes of happiness and despair played out. WG’s players piled on top of Ginestro, while F-M’s players slumped to that same Dome turf in shock, many of them unable to fight back the tears as the Wildcats accepted its sectional awards.
After a one-year hiatus, WG returned to the sectional throne it has enjoyed so many times before, earning its 18th title in 20 years, while F-M, who was undefeated and no. 3 in the state Class A rankings, remains without a sectional championship since 1993.
Wildcats head coach Mike Messere said that this title may mean a bit more because of how much his players struggled early in the season and searched for consistency.
“They were very frustrated, but they came through,” he said. “They came from so far back. To get to this level is pretty good.”
F-M head coach Chris Kenneally said his team had no excuses for the outcome.
“We had our chances and didn’t get that last goal,” he said. “It was a great game. West Genesee deserves everything they got tonight. We left it all on the field.”
Twice, F-M erased two-goal Wildcat leads, and literally came within inches of winning it in a wild sequence at the end of regulation.
WG had a man-up situation with 1:10 left after Clay Arnold, frustrated with turning the ball over on an F-M possession, committed a pushing foul. But the Wildcats could not convert, as Hornets goalie stuffed Ryan St. Croix’s point-blank attempt.
As the final seconds of regulation ticked down, F-M charged down the field. Ryan DaRin caught the ball in stride, sprinted to the net, fired and beat WG goalie Matt Koziol – but the shot crashed off the pipe, and the sectional final went to overtime for the third year in a row.
F-M’s Dan Cahill won the face-off in both of the OT periods, only to fling a possible game-winning shot wide in the first extra frame and watch as the Hornets turned it over in the second OT.
That led to the game-winner. Ginestro beat his defender behind the net and, taking a feed from St. Croix on the left side, drew Bedell out and flung the shot past him.
“I saw the ball coming, took the extra step and finished it,” said Ginestro.
Long before that, Ted Glesener had set the Wildcats’ confident tone for the evening when he scored just 21 seconds into the game. St. Croix added a goal, fed by Ginestro, that made it 2-0 midway through the first quarter.
As that went on, WG’s defense, anchored by Garrett Waldron, Jimmy Cunningham and Nick Mellen, frustrated the Hornets’ potent attackers in a way they hadn’t done in two regular-season losses to F-M. Waldron, in particular, stood out as he kept the Hornets’ all-time leading goal-scorer, Kevin Lux, off the board in the first half.
“We took it upon ourselves to step up, and we did,” said Waldron.
Despite this great defense, F-M broke through with goals from Arnold and Jack Wilson to pull even, 2-2, by halftime, and took its only lead of the night on Cahill’s tally 4:20 into the third quarter, only to have WG’s Brady Hoose tie it at 3-3 a minute later and Tyler Brown convert on a man-up situation late in the period to put the Wildcats back in front.
When St. Croix notched his second goal with exactly 10 minutes to play, WG held a 5-3 lead. Again, the Hornets fought back, Lux finally getting on the board with 8:35 left and Wilson following up with the tying goal on a similar charge from the left side just 29 seconds later.
For the last eight-plus minutes of regulation, both sides looked to move in front. F-M could not convert on its only man-up situation, and WG missed two man-up chances, and also didn’t get a shot off despite having the ball at the end of the first OT.
Ginestro didn’t miss his chance in the second OT, though, and now the Wildcats make its way back to the state Class A tournament, where it will face Section IV champion Ithaca Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Union-Endicott High School.
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