It’s been a long journey the Lancaster High School boys lacrosse team’s 12-man senior class. Starting as a young team struggling to compete with the big boys and then on to back-to-back championship game defeats, the Legends paid their dues in search of history.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lancaster finally got there.
The Legends claimed the first Section VI championship in program history, dethroning six-time defending champion Orchard Park with a come-from-behind 12-9 win in the Class A title game at Williamsville North High School.
“It feels amazing,” senior midfielder CJ DiRienzo said. “We’ve been going after it forever and to finally be able to do it for everybody and do it for the team, it’s just great.”
This was the third straight Class A championship that saw the Legends face the Quakers. Orchard Park rolled to a 15-4 win in 2016 and then held off a much bigger challenge last season, escaping with a 15-13 win.
The Legends posted a rare regular season win over OP earlier in the year and were the top-seed heading into Wednesday’s game. But since the Lancaster program was founded in 1995, Orchard Park lacrosse winning the sectional title has practically been a foregone conclusion.
Not this year.
“It’s a big monkey off our backs,” senior Brett Beetow said. “The seniors, we’ve been in this game three times and the third time is a charm, I guess. It’s the best feeling. These guys are my brothers; I’ve been with them since I was a little guy. It’s truly a remarkable feeling to do this with them.”
The Quakers had won 25 of the last 27 championships in boys lacrosse. Lancaster joined Sweet Home (1994) and Clarence (2011) as the only teams to beat Orchard Park in the sectional championship game.
“It says a lot about their program that they’re always so strong,” Lancaster senior goalie Ben Mazur said. “But it says a lot about our program, too, that we were able to beat them one year, anyway.”
In the early going, it seemed like the 2018 championship game was going to look a lot like most of the ones seen over the last three decades. Orchard Park jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead and seemed to be well on its way to a seven-peat.
But the Legends had other ideas – scoring the game’s next seven goals. Lancaster closed to within one by halftime and then tied it on a goal by Ben Napieralski early in the third. Beetow put Lancaster ahead to stay less than a minute later, sophomore Shawn Davis added another and the Legends were on their way.
“Give the credit to these kids, they never quit,” Lancaster coach Dave Mazur said. “Down 7-2, they kept working. We said, ‘There’s no 3-point shot, one at a time, crawl back into it slowly.”
Beetow and junior Andrew Reimer scored three goals apiece, sophomores Davis and Trevor Stevens added two goals each and Napieralski and Mitch Forbes also scored for the Legends (16-2).
Lancaster will play Section V champion Penfield at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at All-High Stadium in the Far West Regional title game.
Orchard Park (12-6) got four goals from Coleman Jacobs.
Lancaster wins the Class A boys championship, 12-9 over Orchard Park pic.twitter.com/qQPOBjFxAD
— Mike Pidanick (@mkpidanick) May 30, 2018
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