May 13, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though it wasn’t the ultimate satisfaction that it could yet attain, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team still felt quite happy about how it turned out in Monday night’s game against West Genesee.
Getting even for an early-season defeat to the Wildcats, the Hornets used a deep, balanced attack, tough defense and plenty of wins by Pat Quinlan in the face-off circle to pull out a 9-6 victory.
“Early in the season, we had so many kids that were just trying to find themselves,” said F-M head coach Chris Kenneally. “Since then, we have come together as a team and have really grown.”
All of the aspects of F-M’s growth, evident since that 10-6 loss to WG in Camillus on April 3, were on display in this game, and it started at the center X, where in that first meeting the Wildcats largely controlled the face-offs and kept the Hornets from possession time.
Back then, Quinlan was just returning to the lacrosse field after a successful wrestling campaign in the winter that included state and national tournament appearances. Now, though, Quinlan had honed his face-off skills and was turning into a critical weapon for F-M.
“I get that attitude from wrestling, that I can beat any person one-on-one,” said Quinlan. “I known I can get the ball.”
Quinlan got that ball enough times to help the Hornets stay on even terms with WG, even when the shots weren’t finding the net. In fact, neither side gained any lead larger than one goal during the first three quarters.
Twice in the opening period, Ryan McDonald scored for the Wildcats, but each time John Cote answered, keeping the game at 2-2. Both teams went in front in the second quarter, but soon surrendered those advantages, and it was 4-4 at halftime, Luke Krizman and Colton Oliver scoring for F-M.
As this was going on, F-M’s defense, anchored by Jake Pulver, Matt Stegemann and Gabe Neils, applied intense man-to-man pressure, never letting WG’s attackers get comfortable, and when they were needed, goalie Matt Charlamb made stops, finishing with eight saves.
F-M’s attack stayed patient, too, overcoming Wildcat goalie Matt Koziol’s 14 saves by continuing to take shots. Goals by Dylan Taylor-Wolford and Casey Greene in the third quarter helped the Hornets overcome two different deficits and again keep it tied, 6-6, with one period left.
Kenneally said that the Hornets draw strength from having a pair of midfield lines. Thus, if a top defender, like WG’s Nick Mellen, takes away the contributions of Jack Wilson (he had just one assist and had two goals disallowed for crease violations), others could step up.
All of the Hornets’ disparate pieces fit together in the fourth quarter. Quinlan managed to win all four face-offs, and as the F-M defense shut the Wildcats down, the Hornets finally took charge.
Cote netted his third goal exactly one minute into the final period. Barely two minutes later, Alex Leuze delivered a goal from the point, and with 5:37 to play, Erik Badger drilled a hard shot past Koziol, establishing F-M’s final margin.
This win likely gives the Hornets the top seed for the Section III Class A playoffs as it looks to end a 21-year championship drought, knowing that, perhaps, it will need to beat West Genesee again.
“We know that, at the end, the road goes through Camillus,” said Kenneally.