May 24, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Just as in 2013, the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team finds itself heading to the Carrier Dome, with only Watertown standing in the way of claiming a Section III Class B title.
The top-seeded Brothers got there by topping no. 5 seed Jamesville-DeWitt in last Friday’s Class B semifinal at Chittenango High School, staying remarkably consistent as it won a score of 17-6, the third time this spring it topped the Red Rams by an 11-goal margin.
In some ways, the intrigue was all about who CBA would face in the semifinals, since J-D had to go on the road and play its neighbors from East Syracuse-Minoa in last Tuesday night’s opening round.
Though ESM appeared to have the upper hand for most of the regular season, it was the Red Rams that would post the final word, using terrific defense in the second half as the foundation for a comeback and a 10-8 victory over the Spartans.
These sides had played twice in the regular season, ESM squeaking out a 7-6 win on April 14, but J-D taking the rematch 13-10 on May 8. Each time, the road team had prevailed.
And that pattern continued into the third and most important encounter, even though the Spartans played a terrific first half, battling its way to a 5-3 lead.
What turned it around was a combination of an opportunistic Rams offense that made ESM pay for most of its mistakes, plus a back line that settled down after early jitters and frustrated the Spartans, all the way to the end.
Carly Neugebauer and Jessica Wipper led J-D’s comeback, each scoring three times as Wipper added an assist. Carly Stone managed a goal and three assists, while Caroline Kopp got two goals. Grace Hulslander managed the other goal as Alyssa Phillips contributed an assist.
On ESM’s side, Haley DeVona and Cindy Brownson were the only players to score multiple times, each getting two goals. Katy Steigerwald had a goal and two assists, while Jenna Kenney, Kate McGarrity and Morgan Young found the net, too. Courtnee Notaro had nine save, one less than J-D counterpart Cameron Buck.
But now Buck and his teammates had to try and reverse two regular-season losses to CBA by the exact same margin – 17-6 on April 8 and 18-7 on May 13, a mere nine days before their playoff reunion on the Chittenango turf.
No matter what it tried, though, J-D could not prevent another lopsided affair, in part because found itself unable to get draws from the Brothers’ Alexa Radziewicz, who constantly snared the ball, which led to more possession time and more conversions.
With star sophomore Emily Ehle and Maddie Cook leading the charge, CBA cruised to an 8-2 halftime lead and, improbably, landed on the same 11-goal margin by the time the game was done.
Ehle finished with five goals and two assists, with Cook scoring four times. Rachel Vercillo backed up her pair of goals with three assists as Sam McKenna and Evie Lopoo also scored twice. Radziewicz and Rachel Ziemba had the other goals.
On J-D’s side, only Bess Murad scored twice, as CBA’s defenders worked hard to stop Stone and Kopp, who had one goal apiece as Neugebauer and Meghan Byrnes had the other goals. Hulslander, Amber Hyatt and Lizzie O’Brien had one assist apiece.
The sectional final turned into a 2013 rematch when Watertown, the no. 2 seed, fought past Frontier League rival Carthage 10-6 in the other semifinal, largely on the strength of Jill Girardi’s six goals, the Cyclones earning another shot at upending CBA’s championship dynasty.