Written by Philip M. LoNigro Thursday, 18 June 2009 11:08
It was the fourth straight year the Lady Dalers made it to the state championship tournament. After a semifinals loss in 2006 and losing in the finals in 2007 and 2008, when will it be their turn? No Daler lacrosse team -boys or girls - has ever won the state championship, but they have lost in the finals. The Lady Dalers had to play the West Genesee Wildcats in the semifinals. The Wildcats have defeated the Lady Dalers in the last two finals.
You could tell this would be a tough game. It was almost 10 minutes into the game until the first goal, by the Wildcats on a free position shot at 14:51. The Wildcats were winning the draws, picking up the loose balls and knocking the balls loose from the Lady Dalers sticks. Sloppy passing was also hurting the Lady Dalers. And one thing not in their control was the calls by the referees. It seemed every call was against them. At the end of the first half, the Wildcats held the Lady Dalers’ offense to only three goals. It was 5-3. The Lady Dalers would have to regroup and play better if they wanted to advance to the finals.
The Lady Dalers would score first the second half by Kelly McPartland at 22:40 to inch closer at 5-4. As the Lady Dalers passing was better they were still losing the draws. The Wildcats would score to make it 6-4. Then the Lady Dalers would score two goals in 30 seconds, one by Janine Hillier and one by Melanie Raso for the tie at 6-6. Again, the Wildcats would take the lead 7-6 at 17:30. Then there was 13 minutes of scoreless lacrosse. As the Wildcats did have possession of the ball most of this time, the Lady Dalers’ defense of Brittany Hushion, Regina Bates and Tara Coyle was outstanding. They kept the Wildcats from getting good shots on goal. And when they did, goalie Lauren Maksym would come up with the saves. She even had a few free position saves which would help keep her team in the game.
At 4:13 left in the game the Wildcats would score to make it 8-6. At 2:27 Janine Hillier would spot Melanie Raso cutting to the cage. Hillier would pass to Raso for a goal to make it 8-7. This was an important goal as it quieted down the Wildcats fans and put the Lady Dalers fans into a raw. Raso would score again at 1:44 to tie it at 8-8. And with just 18 seconds left Hillier would score to put the Lady Dalers up 9-8. Now the easy part. Just kill off 18 seconds. Right? But again the Lady Dalers would loose the draw and worse, the Wildcats would score at the buzzer to tie it up 9-9.
Now to overtime. The Lady Dalers’ Janine Hiller would score at 1:38 in the first overtime half to go up 10-9. It was the only goal in that half. The Lady Dalers’ passing was much better, and they were moving the ball well. The Wildcats again could not get great shots off, due to the Lady Dalers’ defense. Again, goalie Lauren Maksym had to make some key saves including on a free position shot, to give her team the ball. With 1:03 on the clock the Lady Dalers moved the ball and found a way to run out the clock to make it to the finals for the third straight year.
Well the comeback kids would have to do it all over again in the finals against Guilderland Lady Dutch. Down 5-4 in the second half, the draws, loose balls and position problems would haunt the Lady Dalers. The calls from the officials were not going their way. To win this game the Lady Dalers would have to deal with these problems.
As Guilderland would score to go up 6-4, the Lady Dalers would score twice. Kelly McPartland and then Janine Hillier to tie it up 6-6. Melanie Raso would also score at 12:17 to up the Lady Dalers up 7-6, but the Lady Dutch would come back with three straight goals and with 6:44 to go, the Lady Dalers found themselves down 9-7. The Lady Dalers would not roll over and die. At 5:23, Melanie Raso would score to make it 9-8. Then, at one minute left in the game, Guilderland would draw a yellow card penalty and the Lady Dalers would have an extra player. With 32 seconds left, Raso would score again to tie the game 9-9. The Lady Dalers would win the next draw and move the ball down field. Kyra Ochwat would be fouled with nine seconds left in the game for a free position shot. Kyra would take her shot, bouncing the ball by the Lady Dutch goalie to score and capturing the New York State Class A Championship.
Congratulations are also extended to Head Coach Shari Campbell, former Head Coach Tracy Wiener, who still helps out with the team, and assistant coaches Nicole Rhodes and Katie Paccione. And all the Lady Dalers on their 17-0 perfect season. Conference I Champs, Nassau County Class A Champs, Long Island Class A Champs and now New York State Class A Champs. The Lady Dalers also just received the #1 ranking in the country for girls’ high school lacrosse. For more photos visit www.elegantphotos4u.com.