Jun 04, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Try as he could to deflect credit from himself to his compatriots, Jack Wilson could not escape the praise he deserved for leading the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team to the brink of its first-ever state championship.
Wilson poured in six goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to carry the Hornets past Fairport 10-9 in Wednesday’s state Class A semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
“For me, it came down to getting into a nice groove,” said Wilson. “But we worked together as a team.”
Indeed, it took all of F-M’s talent and character to erase deficits of 3-0 (in the first half) and 7-3 (in the second half) to earn a trip to Hofstra University on Long Island to face Massapequa in Saturday’s state title game.
“Our kids don’t quit,” said Hornets head coach Chris Kenneally. “They are very resilient.”
At the ultimate pressure point, though, it was Wilson with the ball on his stick. Already with four goals to his credit, he changed up from his normal position at the back of the net, and working from the left point, fired home the tying goal with 50.8 seconds left in regulation.
Then, in a tense OT period where both teams had chances to win but could not convert, Wilson picked up the ball on the left side, sprinted to the net and, with 11.4 seconds left, flicked a close-up shot past Fairport goalie Joey Scalise.
Essentially, the first half split into two parts – the early portion where Fairport bolted out in front, and the latter portion where F-M caught up, only to see the Red Raiders reclaim the lead just before the break.
Accurate shots from Dan McAvoy, Justin Kesselring and Nick Orisni led to goals and pushed Fairport to a 3-0 lead before the game was eight minutes old, which caused Kenneally to use a time-out.
“We had turnovers right off the bat, and we were anxious,” he said.
The time-out allowed the Hornets to regroup, settle down on the defensive end, and then get on the board with Dylan Taylor-Wolford’s goal with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
F-M cut down on turnovers in the second period, got some big stops from goalie Brian Charlamb and applied constant pressure, knocking several shots off posts.
Wilson did connect, twice, and his man-up goal, fed by Luke Krizman, tied it 3-3. But when McAvoy, holding the ball until the last possible moment, beat Charlamb from the left point just 0.7 seconds before the horn, Fairport had a 4-3 lead.
What followed, in the third period, was a replica of the first half, but in compressed form. Again Fairport put in three straight goals, all in a span of 2:17, to build its largest lead a 7-3. Again F-M answered, as Erik Badger scored twice and Alex Leuze also converted.
And when Wilson found the net for a third time with 29.9 seconds left in the period, F-M had caught up, 7-7, going to the fourth quarter, where Wilson promptly delivered a fourth goal with 10:55 left that gave the Hornets its first lead all afternoon.
Now it was Fairport’s turn to rally. After a long defensive stop, the Red Raiders reclaimed possession and pulled back even, 8-8, on McAvoy’s third goal with 4:52 to play. Then Fairport won the ensuing face-off and worked it to Kacin Welch, whose goal with 2:44 to play left F-M with yet another deficit.
Needing a face-off, F-M saw Pat Quinlan win the draw, leading to Wilson’s tying goal. For the Hornets, everything clicked down the stretch, from Charlamb making point-blank stops in the last second of regulation and in the OT to defenders Jake Pulver, Gabe Neils and Matt Stegemann frustrating F-M’s forwards to, finally, Wilson striking the game-winner.
That leads the Hornets to Long Island, and to the title-game showdown with Massapequa, who routed Niskayuna 23-9 in the other state semifinal.
“We are on cloud nine,” said Wilson. “But we have another one to finish.”
Kenneally agreed. “When you finish the job, you feel good,” he said. “We can’t change who we are. Our mantra is to finish the job.”