The Watertown girls lacrosse team is admittedly at its best when it plays an aggressive, high-tempo style.
It was mission accomplished for the Cyclones in their Section 3 playoff opener Tuesday.
Led by seniors Brianne Arthur and Morgan Cadwell, the second-seeded Watertown clicked offensively from the start in defeating seventh-seeded and Frontier League foe Indian River, 14-4 in a Class B quarterfinal at Watertown High School.
We always come out really excited to play, Arthur said. We always play like its our last game ... So when were able to put some in the back of the net, were always excited to get up on a team and just win. Thats what were here for.
Arthur scored four goals and assisted on three others and Cadwell scored three times to pace the Cyclones (15-2), who advance to the semifinal round where theyll face either East Syracuse-Minoa or Fulton at 5 p.m. Thursday at Chittenango.
Were really excited, weve worked really hard for this, Cadwell said.
Watertown was a quick starter in each half, as after racing out to a 5-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the game, it also scored the first six goals of the second half, in a game delayed for one hour and 10 minutes because of severe weather after halftime.
Its always the best to come out strong against a team and be the one that has the most energy, Arthur said. So we have good tempo and even though weve been mostly a second-half team, we started out really strong.
Displaying offensive balance, four different players each scored a goal to open the game for the Cyclones. Arthur and Ashley Flick scored on consecutive shots, and Alyssa Barrett and Cadwell followed with a goal each.
Theyre a very tough team to defend against, Indian River coach Fred Lavancha said. Any team that has multiple scorers is very dangerous in girls lacrosse, and Bri Arthur is a fantastic player. ... When youre trying to stop the scoring threats that they do have, you run out of matchups and run out of ways to do that thats what makes them so dangerous.
Cadwell then scored on a free-position shot to stake Watertown to a 5-0 advantage, which it expanded to a 7-2 lead through the first half. I thought our girls came out and were focused on the task at hand, Watertown coach Tim Burr said. Were trying to play a little more up-tempo style right now and push the ball a little bit more. I think weve got to play that way, and were not afraid of making some mistakes right now.
Arthur tallied the first two goals of the second within a stretch of 2:06, first converting on a free-position attempt and then finishing off a feed from Flick.
I think it all starts in practice, Cadwell said. We had a really upbeat practice and we had some JV girls who moved up to really help us out and they push us, too. When you practice hard, you play hard.
Senior goalie Christina Matthewson made 12 saves to record the win for the Cyclones, allowing only two goals in the first half and just one more the rest of the way.
Shes tough and shes a gamer, Burr said of Matthewson. She just keeps getting better and better. Shes had some huge saves for us all season long.
Matthewson kept the Warriors at bay by turning back two free-position attempts in the first half.
The Cyclones, ranked 19th in the state, reached the semifinal round for the second straight year. Several Watertown seniors played on the 2010 team that won a Section 3 championship and reached the state final four.
Hopefully we win on Thursday, Arthur said. But even just getting there is such an accomplishment. Weve worked so hard this year, going undefeated in the league and losing to two amazing teams (Liverpool and Queensbury) and knowing that weve played really good teams has prepared us for this.
Katie Brierton and Paige Fayette each scored two goals for the Indian River (7-10), which set a program record for wins this season and played in its first sectional game in girls lacrosse in school history.
Although strives were made in the program, more could have been accomplished, Lavancha said. Theres more to be done.