The top two seeds advanced to the Section 10 Class C Girls Lacrosse Championship Game via contrasting wins in the two semi-final round games staged on Wednesday.
Top-seeded NAC regular season champion Massena Central earned a chance to defend its sectional crown by pulling away to 21-9 decision over Saranac Lake at Mike Nicholas Field while Canton Central, the second seed, needed an overtime rally to turn back Heuvelton 12-9 at Roger Dusharm Field.
The two teams will not get set to face each other in the sectional final this evening at 5 p.m. at the SUNY Canton turf field. The Lady Raiders opened the season with a 12-5 win over Canton on April 10 then surged to a 21-11 decision over the Lady Golden Bears three weeks later to claim a regular season sweep.
Massena 21, Saranac Lake 9: Senior Erin Francis continued her record-setting career in leading the Lady Raiders with eight goals and two assists. Alisha Jacobs (3 assists) and Shannon Casey (1 assist) netted four goals apiece while Carlie Leary tallied two goals and two helpers as Massena raced out to a 15-3 halftime lead.
Dominique Valancius (1 assist), Devin Kelly and Ellen Green connected for the other Lady Raider goals while Abby LaClair and Sophia Rusaw each drew a solo assist.
For the Red Storm (6-8), Kayla Woodruff generated four goals. Bridgit Sullivan broke through for another three while Rita Munn and Elena Beideck each netted singletons.
Felicity Love went the distance in goal for Massena and turned aside four shots backstopping the win while Sheila Decker worked the Saranac Lake crease for two saves.
Erin had a great game. She was always in the right place at the right time and the other players did a good job of getting the ball to her, noted coach Jeffrey Slack as the Lady Raiders improved to 14-3 on the season.
Were just happy to be moving on to the championship game. Were sure its going to be a tough game, he added.
Canton 13, Heuvelton 9 (OT): The host Lady Golden Bears took their first lead of the game when Molly McMasters controlled a face-off then raced down to score her only goal of the game with 3:31 left only to have the Lady Bulldogs pull even in the final seconds and nearly pull out the win in regulation.
Heuvelton has been a spoiler team in the playoffs the last two years and they had us in trouble today. Our girls just never gave up, said coach Sparky Newman after his squad reeled off three unanswered goals over the course of the two three-minute overtime periods to final put away the sixth-seeded Lady Bulldogs. This was just a great game.
The Lady Bears had a much more balanced offensive effort led by Rachael Huntley with four goals while Katie Lapinski (1 assist) and Tess Knight each netted three goals. Lacey Kenny and Alison Noble connected for the other Canton goals while Emily Pinckney and Kali Frank both finished with sol assists.
The duo of Jackie Sovie and Maddie St. Pierre accounted for all the Heuvelton offense with six goals and three goals respectively.
Im very proud with the way our girls played today. I think we ran out of gas a little toward the end,noted coach Becky Kelley. We just didnt finish the way we played the rest of the game.
The teams traded goals in the first five minutes with Sovie opening the scoring 1:59 into the game. The Lady Bulldogs eventually went ahead 5-2 when Sovie struck for her third of the half with 8:16 remaining but the Lady Bears closed with back-to-back goals by Noble and Knight to cut the halftime deficit to 5-4.
Canton then tied the game on a goal by Lapinski 3:15 into the second half but Sovie stepped up to score two straight goals less than four minutes apart to put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 7-5. Another two-goal swing by the Bears tied the game at 7-7 with 14:34 left in regulation. Two minutes later, Sovies final goal gave Heuvelton its final lead with an end—to-end goal but Canton once again fashioned two straight goal, tying the game with 3:45 left on a goal by Kenny then taking the lead on McMasters strong individual effort.
The Lady Bears headed into the final minute with possession but a turnover deep in their zone led to a losse ball at midfield on a long clearing attempt. St. Pierre outraced a Canton player to the rolling ball and went in to score a breakaway goal to tie the game with 36.9 seconds. She was fouled on the play, giving the Lady Bulldogs a possession instead of a face-off and that led to a pair of failed last-second attempts on free plays.
We didnt finish regulation the way we would have liked but hopefully thats something were going to learn from, said Newman.
Canton regained the lead for good when Huntley finished off an assist from Pinckney 37 seconds into the first overtime. The second overtime saw Huntley sandwich a pair of goals around Lapinskis third to seal the win.
Meg Howard turned aside nine shots working the Canton crease for the win while Heather Thompson stood tall posting 13 saves between the pipes for the Lady Bulldogs (4-11).
We did pretty well again as a sixth seed and we have a lot of players hopefully coming back next year that will learn from this game and this season, concluded coach Kelley.