May 30, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A home field, a motivated opponent playing in its first championship game since 2004, a memory of a close encounter back in mid-April – several different factors could have served as motivation for the West Genesee girls lacrosse team heading into Tuesday night’s Section III Class A final against Liverpool.
Whatever was the inspiration, it sure translated into on-field performance, as the Wildcats excelled in all phases of the game in a 19-5 destruction of the Warriors.
“We came out with a lot of intensity and did not want this to be our last game,” said senior captain Emily Tripodi. “We really prepared well, moved the ball well and our shots went in.”
That was a succinct explanation of a much larger narrative. WG’s sixth consecutive sectional championship contrasted many of the previous five title games and also provided a sharp contrast to the 13-8 game the Wildcats won over the Warriors in mid-April.
“They worked well all over the field,” said head coach Bob Elmer.
It took a grand total of 17 seconds for WG to win the opening draw and watch Alia Hildebrandt charge into Liverpool’s end and fire a shot past Liverpool goalie Marissa Gabriel. Less than a minute later, Kara Datellas converted on a free position to make it 2-0.
And from there the rout quickly materialized. Other than Mallorie O’Brien’s goal 2:23 into the game, the Wildcats’ defense, anchored by Shelby Milne, Dana Anderson, Madison Huegel and Marissa Hudgins, did not allow anything in the decisive first half, forcing a string of turnovers that led to goals on the other end.
In the draw circle, Shannon Hawley and Vicki Graveline took turns grabbing the ball and putting Liverpool in a defensive mode. Once on the attack, the passing from Nicole Bello (three assists), Tripodi (two assists) and their teammates was sharp, too, leading to wide-open shots and lots of conversions.
Hildebrandt and Datellas both had three goals as the Wildcats accumulated a 12-1 lead by halftime, meaning that the entire second half was played with a running clock. Even with the entire roster seeing some sort of game action, the Wildcats kept adding to the margin.
Datellas finished with four goals and one assist. Hawley, Tripodi, Liz LaComb, Erica Geremia and Hannah Elmer each scored twice, with Kerri Taylor and Michaela Ciciarelli also converting. Milne and Mary Maestri each had one assist.
Now the pursuit of a first state title since 2008 hits a higher gear, starting Saturday with the state quarterfinal against Section IV champion Corning – on Corning’s turf, a reversal of the home-field advantage WG enjoyed on this night.
“From here on, every team you face is good,” said Elmer. “They’re all hard games. We have to be ready.”
Tripodi said her team is motivated by the three consecutive close defeats the Wildcats have taken in the state semifinals and don’t want anything short of a state title now.
“It’s a chip on our shoulders,” she said. “We just need to keep working hard, and don’t let up until we reach our main goal.”