May 27, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
True, a younger cast of characters has taken over, but the results for the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team are the same.
The Brothers have now earned four consecutive Section III championships, repeating its Class B title from 2013 when it went to the Carrier Dome Tuesday and pulled away to beat no. 2 seed Watertown 17-10.
What the Cyclones, who lost to CBA in this same sectional final a year ago, found out was that, while the Brothers are not quite the two-player show that Marisa Romeo and Taylor Poplawski put on during last spring’s state title run, a trio of sophomores might end up just as good.
Between them, Maddie Cook, Rachel Vercillo and Emily Ehle methodically used their combination of skills to put Watertown away, scoring 11 combined goals – Vercillo and Ehle four each, Cook with three – and also making deft passes, as Cook had three assists and Vercillo two assists.
“They’ve gone from role players to being the players,” said CBA head coach Doug Sedgwick. “We need them to step up every game in order to go as far as we can.”
For Cook, the satisfaction gained from another sectional title came from silencing doubters who thought the Brothers would step back this season.
“A lot of people didn’t think we would get this far,” said Cook. “But we’re still here.”
It took a while for the Brothers to get comfortable on the big stage of the Dome, even though Vercillo helped push CBA to a 2-0 lead, feeding Ehle for one goal and scoring another.
Watertown shook this off and used goals by Olivia Miles and Lauren Girardi to pull even, 2-2, staying patient on its attack and taking advantage of the Brothers’ turnovers.
During that start, said Sedgwick, “I was anxious to see what would happen to our girls.”
Midway through the first half, CBA started to roll. Tessa Queri’s goal put the Brothers in front, and then, in a span of 1:08, Vercillo hit one goal and assisted on another, by Cook, while freshman Rachel Ziemba also converted.
Vercillo added a third goal late in the half, with Ehle and Sam McKenna also converting, and CBA stretched out its lead to 9-4 going to the break.
Most of the Brothers’ goals came from well-timed passes. Cook said that, early in the season, her team struggled with one-on-one play, so they made adjustments – and flourished.
“Looking for cutters give us our best opportunity to score,” she said.
CBA’s defense also played a big part during those uncertain early stages. Alea Bonner made five point-blank stops in the first half to keep her side in front, while back-line players Hailey Dobbins, Kate Derrenbacker, Lexi Luthringer, Alexa Radziewicz, Amanda Fess and Adirana Fess only allowed one goal in the free flow of play. Three of Watertown’s four first-half tallies came from free-position shots.
All uncertainty went away early in the second half. It took less than 90 seconds for Cook and Queri to score and stretch the lead to 11-4, and after a goal from Taylor Rick, Ehle scored twice 12 seconds apart to give the Brothers a 13-5 margin.
Watertown, led by Olivia Miles’ three-goal hat trick, traded goals the rest of the way, but CBA was well on its way back to the state tournament, where it will face Massena Thursday in the opening round of regional play at Liverpool High School Stadium.
The winner faces Vestal (Section IV) in Saturday’s regional final at Ithaca High School, with a berth in next weekend’s state final four at SUNY-Cortland at stake.