May 30, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Once again, the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team holds the Section III Class C crown – but not by much.
The Brothers had to rally from a two-goal deficit in the second half of Tuesday night’s sectional final against Skaneateles at West Genesee High School, and then hang on for dear life in the waning seconds to edge the Lakers 9-8.
“It wasn’t our best game,” said junior Marisa Romeo, who scored both the tying and go-ahead goals. “But we got by.”
Not until CBA’s defenders stripped Skaneateles’ Emma Ford of the ball amid a charge to the net in the waning seconds was the outcome secure.
Prior to that, the Lakers had three possible game-tying shots. Goalie Courtney Henderson stopped the first. An attempt by Nicole Beatson flew wide. And with 35 seconds left, Carly Davis beat Henderson – but her shot ricocheted off the right post.
In many ways, CBA escaped, and head coach Doug Sedgwick knew it. He said his team never quite got into a rhythm after the game’s start was delayed 75 minutes due to a thunderstorm.
“We just didn’t have it today,” he said. “Our girls were just going through the motions, but somehow we came out on top.”
The Brothers did so through a grit similar to what it showed rallying to beat Skaneateles in last year’s sectional final on the way to a state championship. In no way did the game resemble CBA’s 17-6 rout of the Lakers just 13 days earlier at Alibrandi Stadium.
“That last (meeting) was not an indicator of our team,” said Skaneateles head coach Bridget Marquardt. “We are so much better than that.”
And such a truth was evident in a first half where both teams started slow. CBA eventually built a 6-2 lead, but it threw away many other chances to take total command, squandering them through turnovers or taking shots that Laker goalie Shannon Byrne would snare.
So when Ford converted in the last minute of the half to make it 6-3 at the break, Skaneateles had some momentum – and it carried over as, in the first six minutes of the first half, the Lakers tied it, 6-6, with two goals from freshman Hannah Powers and a tally from Shelby McNeilly.
Even after Sedgwick called a time-out, Skaneateles kept winning draws, and thus were able to play at the slower, relaxed tempo that it needed to take the air out of the Brothers’ potent attack.
When the moments were right, the Lakers would strike. Elizabeth Lane scored to put Skaneateles in front, and when Casey VanSlyke found the net midway through the half, the Brothers were down by two, 8-6.
At that point, said Romeo, her team’s mentality remained the same, drawing upon come-from-behind wins in the past (it trailed Skaneateles 3-0 in the last meeting, for example) to keep calm.
“We had to keep thinking that it was 0-0,” said Romeo. “We knew we could come back from any deficit.”
That knowledge translated into a quick response as Caroline Webster scored just 24 seconds after VanSlyke’s tally, cutting the deficit to 8-7.
Then Romeo took over. Already with a goal and three assists on the night, the junior beat Byrne to tie it, 8-8, with 11:08 left. The Brothers patiently worked the ball around until, with 5:13 to play, Romeo snaked through the defense and converted again to put her team in front – for good, as it turned out.
For the rest, CBA’s defense had step up. Olivia Pitonzo, Alyssa Pitonzo and Alexa Radziewicz, helped by the likes of Michelle Wiese and Taylor Poplawski, blanked the Lakers for the game’s last 12 minutes, 49 seconds, overcoming Webster’s departure for two yellow cards with more resistance as time ran down.
Due to that, the Brothers advanced into the state playoffs, needing two more wins during the week to earn a trip back to SUNY-Cortland for next weekend’s state final four.
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