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High school lacrosse: Watertown settles for split in Section 3 playoff opener

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WATERTOWN — It was a tale of two lacrosse teams for Watertown High School in first-round play in the Section 3 playoffs on Tuesday night.

While the Cyclones girls team breezed to a 20-7 triumph over Auburn in a Class B sectional game on Tuesday, the school’s boys lacrosse squad wasn’t as fortunate as it was upended by Auburn, 13-10, at Watertown High School.

Alyssa Barrett sparked Watertown’s girls team by scoring five goals, including a pair of scores in the first half, and Jill Girardi totaled six points, including three goals.

“We’re very excited, this is a good way to start off,” Barrett said.

The second-seeded Cyclones (15-2) advance to a Class B semifinal where they’ll play Frontier League foe Carthage at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Chittenango High.

Olivia Miles scored three goals and assisted on two others, and Courtney Gebo scored three goals for Watertown, which generated a season-high offensive output.

“Our passing was good and we got the ball moving,” Barrett said. “We’re playing good as a team and it’s all about moving the ball well, which is what we’re doing.”

Barrett, a junior attack, has emerged as one of the leaders on a primarily young Watertown team.

She also has plenty of postseason experience to draw on as last year she scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Watertown edged East Syracuse-Minoa, 14-13, in a Class B semifinal. The Cyclones went on to play in the Class B title game at the Carrier Dome.

“It’s good to feed off her experience,” Miles said of Barrett.

“She’s capable of producing for us every night,” Watertown head coach Tim Burr said of Barrett. “She’s one of those players where if you give her opportunities around the goal, she can make plays.”

Watertown wasted little time in taking charge against Auburn (5-11) by scoring three goals within the first one minute and 24 seconds, sparked by a tally from Miles 43 seconds into the game.

Miranda Gilbert and Gebo each scored within a span of 22 seconds to build a 3-0 lead, with both goalies assisted by Girardi.

Auburn would close within 3-1 and 4-2, but after Watertown won a faceoff, Gebo moved in alone and provided the Cyclones with a 5-2 advantage with 17 minutes, 54 seconds left in the first half.

The score would spark a six-goal run by the Cyclones, who in all outscored the Maroons 9-1 for the remainder of the first half to lead 13-3.

“We didn’t really know much about them, but we definitely came out and started out strong and never gave up,” Miles said. “We definitely played our best.”

Barrett would go on to tally three more goals in the second half as the closest Auburn would get was a nine-goal deficit.

“We were pleased with the opportunity to play today,” Burr said. “I think we’ve got some things that we really need to get better at. Our transition defense was not very good and I thought we executed some things very well offensively. But overall it was a good game for us.”

Freshman goalie Lauren Girardi made six saves to gain the win for Watertown.

The Cyclones will face the third-seeded Comets (12-5), who defeated Oswego, 14-8 on Tuesday. Watertown has won both meetings with the Comets this season.

“We’re pretty familiar with each other and I have a ton of respect for their program and what they’ve done,” Burr said. “Any time you’ve got to play a team three times a year, it’s scary. They’re a very explosive group and they’re relentless; they make it hard for us to play the way we want to play. So it’s going to be a fun challenge.”

BOYS

NEW HARTFORD 13, WATERTOWN 10

Jesse Ondrako scored five goals and the fifth-seeded Spartans went on to stun the fourth-seeded Cyclones in a Class B semifinal on the Watertown turf.

Trailing 8-7 at halftime, Watertown managed to generate only three goals in the second half as New Hartford took over the possession game.

The Cyclones (13-4) tied the game at eight on Noah Taylor’s goal 4:17 into the third quarter, but the Spartans would tally the last three goals of the period to lead 11-8, including two scores from Ondrako.

“This definitely isn’t the way we pictured our season ending,” said Watertown senior Brad McKinney, who was selected as an All-American and is headed to Syracuse University in the fall. “This wasn’t the way I wanted to go out — it’s tough right now.”

Watertown pulled within two at 11-9 on McKinney’s goal with 9:48 remaining in regulation, but New Hartford responded with three consecutive goals for a 13-9 lead with 8:14 left.

“The out-worked us and they had good possession,” McKinney said. “We really hurt ourselves tonight because we really didn’t play our game and we got caught up in theirs. We made some crucial mistakes and they went down and capitalized on them.”

New Hartford goalie Mike Cuchiarale made nine saves, including a stop on a point-blank drive by Anthony Donato with 4:15 left in the game. The Spartans (12-6) advance to face top-seeded Jamesville-DeWitt in a semifinal Thursday.

Nick Cooke contributed three goals and an assist for the Spartans, and Joey Ondrako and Mike Sellars each scored twice.

“We knew their three top kids were going to be tough,” New Hartford coach Dan Pope said. “We’ve played them four times now in the sectional tournament and with their offensive capabilities, we thought this might be an old-fashioned shootout. But it was all about possession and that was really the difference. We got better in that area as the game went along.”

Taylor paced Watertown with four goals and an assist, McKinney finished with three goals, and Donato tallied a pair of goals.

The Cyclones, who finished second to Carthage in the Frontier League’s “A” Division this season, had reached the semifinal round in each of the previous three years.

“As a group, we’re highly disappointed,” Watertown coach Brian Navarra said. “We just got out-worked. We knew we had to out-work them and beat them on ground balls, but it was the opposite tonight. It seemed like Ryan Erickson was winning just about every (draw), but they were fighting harder than us to get the ground balls and gain possession.”







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