West Genesee midfielder Kevin Sheehan (4) was the central figure in the Wildcats’ 15-6 win over Lancaster in last Wednesday’s state Class A semifinal, recording seven assists to go with a lone goal.
Whether basking in one more moment of ultimate glory or not, the coaching odyssey of Mike Messere will conclude like so many of his previous 43 seasons have – with his West Genesee boys lacrosse team playing for a state Class A championship.
The Wildcats reached its 24th state title game on Wednesday night at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium, cruising past Lancaster 15-6 in the semifinal round.
Even that margin didn’t reflect WG’s total domination of this game, as four of the Legends’ goals in the final minutes after the Wildcats’ starters had exited the game.
Lancaster was in the state semifinals for the first time, but it didn’t show any initial nerves, with goalie Ben Mazur making three point-blank stops in the first three minutes.
Even with the swarming work of defenders Griffin Sasso, Mike McGuigan, Tom Baker and Kevin Snow, Lancaster was patient on offense in its early possessions and even tied it, 1-1, on Mitch Forbes’ goal at the 8:33 mark.
That tie lasted less than a minute. Jack Howes and Max Rosa hit on goals 26 seconds apart, and Noah Sabatino converted before the first quarter was done.
By the time they reached the midway point of the second period, it was 8-1, with WG’s forwards attack anchored by Kevin Sheehan, who would eventually dish out a career-best seven assists.
Kevin Sheehan said that he took advantage of the Wildcats sliding its defenders outside and finding several different teammates, including Howes, who had four goals, and Rosa and Ryan Sheehan, who got three goals apiece. Sabatino had two goals and one assist as Ryan Smith got a goal and three assists.
Meanwhile, helped by Pat Stanistreet’s domination in the face-off circle, WG rarely allowed Lancaster to have the ball during the third quarter as it continued to build its margin, eventually getting to 15-2.
Attention quickly turned to Saturday’s state Class A final at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford against Long Island power Ward Melville, who routed Niskayuna 18-2 in the other semifinal. Game time is 12:30.
Six previous times, the Wildcats and Patriots have met in the state final, each side winning three. The most recent was Ward Melville’s 16-4 victory in 2013, a game WG is eager to avenge as it hopes to send Messere and long-time assistant Bob Deegan out with the program’s 16th state championship.