SYRACUSE Casey Greene, with one deft move, one well-timed dive and one perfectly-placed shot, helped deliver the Section III Class A championship the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team has waited more than two decades to reclaim.
It took a fourth-quarter comeback, and no small amount of good fortune, too, but Green's goal with 20.1 seconds left in regulation made the difference as the Hornets edged West Genesee 12-11 in Saturday's sectional final at the Carrier Dome.
Not since 1993 had F-M won a sectional title, and it had undergone all kinds of near-misses in the years since, usually falling short at the Wildcats' expense. So when a final WG shot crashed off the goal post and the clock ran out, the emotional release, from players and fans alike, was immense.
"It's euphoria," said Green. "The way we came back and rallied is unreal."
Head coach Chris Kenneally said his team's chemistry was a key to the way it rallied when it trailed by two goals at three different points in the final period.
"This group has a tremendous camaraderie and believe in each other," he said. "This was a team effort."
Green's game-winner, and the sequence leading up to it, symbolized that effort. After John Cote's goal tied the game, 11-11, with 1:53 left, WG had a chance to move in front, but Ryan McDonald's shot slammed off the post to midfield, and F-M raced down the loose ball, calling a time-out.
During that time-out, said Kenneally, he told them to "work for a quality shot and not make a foolish play."
Indeed, the Hornets patiently worked it around until Green, with the ball on the left side, was lined up against WG defender Alex Tripodi.
"I saw the time ticking down, and I had to make a move," said Green.
Using his speed, Green moved past Tripodi, drew a penalty, but still managed to leap just short of the crease and fire a shot past goalie Matt Koziol and into the net.