May 23, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
So the West Genesee boys lacrosse team found itself in the same semifinal round of the Section III Class A playoffs, against the same opponent (Baldwinsville), and on the same field (Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium), as it did a season ago.
Back then, a dramatic late-game comeback, capped by Brady Hoose’s goal in the final seconds of regulation, gave the Wildcats a 9-8 victory and, eventually, led to yet another sectional title and yet another state finals appearance.
But on this Thursday evening, WG was content just wanting to get out of this round and get to the Carrier Dome for Saturday’s sectional championship game against top seed Fayetteville-Manlius – and it would do so, not requiring any late heroics as, once more, it eliminated the Bees, this time in a 12-8 decision.
Adding to the drama of a rematch of the 2013 classic was the fact that B’ville’s head coach of 35 years, Peter Fiorini, was retiring at season’s end. The Bees desperately wanted to send him out with a championship, the program’s first since 1992.
And after Tyler Brown scored the game’s first goal at the 3:13 mark, B’ville struck with goals from Sean Barron and Ben Kaminski 28 seconds apart. When Kyle Akers fired a shot past Matt Koziol two minutes later, the Wildcats trailed, 3-1.
But that would be the Bees’ last goal until the third quarter, by which point WG was in full command.
It started, as always, on defense, where Nick Mellen contained B’ville’s leading scorer, Steve Petrelli, and forced his teammates to try and produce. They could not, messing up passes on the hard C-NS Astroturf and turning it over, and even when the Bees held on to the ball and took shots, Koziol scooped them up, earning 18 saves overall.
Early in the second quarter, Brad Howes’ goal tied it and, less than 90 seconds later, Brown hit for the second time, putting WG up for good. Matt Milne and David Procopio added goals to make it 6-3 at halftime, and Milne found the net again early in the third quarter.
Only then did the Bees’ drought end, as goals by Mitch Rein and Connor Chapman cut the margin in half, to 7-5, but B’ville never got as close again.
Howes got his second and third goals to stretch the margin to 9-5, and then, early in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats put the game away as Derek Farrell and Ryan McDonald took turns getting goals before Brown finished off his hat trick with 7:21 left.
The sectional playoff gauntlet had commenced two nights earlier, in Camillus, when WG shook off a slow start, played well in the game’s middle stages and, with a career night from Milne, turned back no. 7 seed Liverpool 14-9 in the opening round.
Twice in April, WG had routed Liverpool, by margins of 16-0 on April 4 at Wildcat Stadium and 18-4 less than three weeks later at LHS Stadium.
But the third encounter saw the Wildcats, who had lost its last two regular-season games (to F-M and Auburn), only lead 2-1 through one quarter.
Any concerns were quickly erased, though, thanks to a big second quarter that led to a 7-2 halftime cushion. By the start of the fourth quarter, it was 11-3, and knowing what lay ahead, the Wildcats rested its starters, leading to a lot of late Liverpool goals.
Milne could not be stopped, setting a career mark with six goals, while Procopio had three goals and one assist. Mike Fletcher scored twice as Brown got one goal and one assist. Mike Geremia and Will Northrop also found the net as McDonald, Mellen and Cunningham earned assists.