BUFFALO – The Lancaster lacrosse team played in the program’s first ever far west regional on Saturday at All High Stadium against Penfield from section V and despite the historic run you didn’t find any players shaking from nerves, sticks being held too tightly or anyone afraid of the moment.
Saturday’s motto was “house money” for the Legends and they showed they meant it with an 11-7 win.
“Going into this game coach [Dave Mazur] said ‘we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to take.’ We haven’t been here before, we were just going out there and playing our game and having fun,” Lancaster midfielder Brett Beetow said.
Beetow led the Legends (17-2) with four goals and an assist. Also making contributions were Ben Napieralski (3 goals, assist), Alex Reimer (2 goals), Mitch Forbes (goal, assist) and Carlo DiReienzo (goal, assist). In goal, Ben Mazur took the win.
For Penfield (11-6), Michael Mitchell (3 goals) and Max Hoadley (2 goals, 1 assist) led the way.
”It’s a great feeling, our team does a great job, we all know each other, we’ve been playing together since JV, we all know each other well, it just really works,” Beetow said.
Despite having a big lead at the final buzzer, that wasn’t the case early for Lancaster.
In the first quarter, Napieralski opened the score two minutes in but late in the frame Penfield responded. With 3:55 left, Ryan Reynolds tied the game with a run down the center of Lancaster defense and then 46 seconds later, Mitchell’s cut to the front of the Legend net and put Penfield up 2-1.
From there, a back-and-forth battle ensued as Beetow tied the game with 1:05 remaining in the stanza but with nine seconds left, Hoadley gave Penfield the one-goal lead back, 3-2.
Just 1:28 into the second quarter, Napieralski notched the tying goal, but things started to roll Lancaster’s way. Only two more goals found the back of the net in the frame, both for the Legends. The next came 22 seconds after the first as Reimer scored off a Forbes assist to bring the score to 4-3.
With 6:36 remaining in the first half, Beetow fired a shot from distance into the top corner as Lancaster was on a man advantage to bring the score to 5-3 which held until the second half.
Despite having the momentum, Lancaster allowed Penfield back into the contest as Dan Taddeo scored at the 9:22 mark and then another from Mitchell at the 8:11 mark tied the game at five.
Even in that crucial moment, Mazur said his team still remained calm, loose and stuck to the basics.
“We said we have to have that sandpaper, that grit, we have to win groundballs today. We have to have good goalkeeping, we’ve got to communicate. It’s kind of the recipe,” Mazur said.
It worked. Lancaster tallied five-unanswered goals throughout the remainder of the third quarter and into the final quarter. That run was started by Beetow’s third of the game at the 6:38 mark to bring the score to 6-5. Reimer’s second goal with a second left on the clock in the third quarter, off a long pass from behind the Penfield goal from Napieralski to the front of the goal, brought the score to 7-5.
Four more fourth quarter goals from Napieralski, Forbes, Beetow and DiRienzo, put away the Patriots as Penfield could only muster together two more goals in the contest.
Moving forward, Lancaster has another tough test en route to a state title their next opponent is 14-time state champion West Genesee from section III on Wednesday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School at 6:30 p.m. But the Mazur said the plan will remain the same. House money.
“I just told them when we got off the bus, it’s been fun, let’s have fun, but guys, I want to practice on Monday. Let’s go out and practice on Monday and be loose again,” Mazur said.