May 28, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
More than 12 months of hard work and determination, mixed in with a healthy amount of talent and wisdom, produced a West Genesee girls lacrosse team that marched onto the Carrier Dome turf Tuesday night with a purpose – and walked off that same turf with the Section III Class A championship firmly back in its grasp.
The fact that the Wildcats beat Cicero-North Syracuse by an emphatic 17-6 margin for that sectional title only made it sweeter, for it was those same Northstars who, a year ago, stunned WG 7-6 in the sectional semifinals.
Senior captain Marissa Hudgins said that her team had focused on reaching this point ever since that defeat, and that the memory of it fueled their mental approach.
“We’ve been preparing for this game for so long,” she said. “We just had to keep up our intensity and push on the accelerator.”
Fittingly, it was the senior captains applying the most heat, from Hannah Elmer piling up seven goals and two assists to Riley Donahue contributing three goals and four assists, to Hudgins scoring twice and hustling everywhere to make plays.
And it was an all-out effort, from start to finish, featuring all of the facets of WG’s game, from a defense that set a physical tone in the early stages to an attack that erupted late in the first half and ultimately put the game far out of C-NS’s reach.
Goals were tough for either side to attain in the early stages, which provided a showcaes for WG’s defense. Liz Bova, Mia DiBello, Maddy Pritchard and the rest of the Wildcats’ back line tailed the Northstars’ attackers everywhere and forced a series of early turnovers.
“We have a great defense that works together so well,” said Elmer.
This gave the Wildcats’ offense time to stay patient and wait for things to break down. WG didn’t take the lead for good until Hudgins’ goal at the 9:49 mark of the first half, which made it 2-1, but only hinted at the rout ahead.
Not until Donahue found the net with 9:50 left in the half did things really start to spin out of the Northstars’ control. Just 34 seconds later, Hudgins fed Donahue for another goal to make it 5-1, forcing C-NS to use a time-out.
But that didn’t help as, 15 seconds after the time-out, Donahue converted again, her third goal of the night. When Elmer joined in for a goal with 8:29 left in the half, the Wildcats had scored four times in a span of less than 90 seconds.
Just to add further emphasis, sophomore Lexie Meager and freshman Mackenzie Baker scored late in the half to help the Wildcats take a 9-3 lead to the break, proving that it wasn’t just an attack where the senior stars carried the whole load.
“We had a lot of players step up tonight,” said Donahue.
Perhaps none of them did so more than Elmer, the daughter of WG head coach Bob Elmer. Making sure that C-NS could not catch up, Elmer notched five goals in the second half, the last of them coming with 2:23 to play. And WG kept at it to the end as Madisyn Kittell and Sinead Guy added last-minute goals.
With full atonement for 2013 attained, the Wildcats can now go after something else – a seventh state championship. WG faces Section IV champion Ithaca in the Class A regional finals Saturday at Ithaca High School, with the winner advancing to the June 6-7 state final four at SUNY-Cortland.