CHITTENANGO Jill Girardi and many of her teammates experienced a thrill last year during Watertowns run to the championship round of the Section 3 playoffs in girls lacrosse.
Now on the strength of a semifinal victory over Frontier League foe Carthage, the Cyclones will be returning to the Carrier Dome and arent just satisfied with another appearance in the title game.
Girardi scored a career-high six goals to equal the Comets offensive output and Olivia Miles totaled six points, including five assists, as a confident Watertown team pulled away to post a 10-6 decision in a Class B semifinal on Friday at Chittenango High School.
Were all pretty excited to be going to the dome for a second time and to get a second shot at CBA, Watertown senior attack and co-captain Taylor Rick said.
Second-seeded Watertown (16-2) which will face top-seeded and reigning state champion Christian Brothers Academy at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, will be joined by fellow league opponent South Jefferson (15-3) at the Dome.
In another all-Frontier League matchup, the third-seeded Spartans edged General Brown, 12-11 in a Class C semifinal in Liverpool and will face top-seeded Skaneateles in the title game at 6 p.m.
Girardi scored four of her goals in the first half, including three successive tallies, to spark the Cyclones.
Honestly, it was our intensity we came out really strong and we wanted it, the freshman said.
Freshman goalie Lauren Girardi made six saves for Watertown, which won consecutive sectional titles in Class B in 2009 and 2010.
We knew it was going to be a really tough game coming into it, said Rick, who as an eighth-grader was on the roster when the Cyclones won the 2010 title. Before we stepped on the field we said whoever is going to win today is the team that is going to work the hardest and put every thing into it, and I definitely think we did that today.
Girardi was an eighth-grader who competed on Watertowns team last spring and played in the final against CBA.
Last year, I was in the eighth grade and I played a lot, Girardi said. ... But I was very timid, but this year I have more confidence and I try and play that way.After a closely contested first half, Carthage drew within 6-5 on Jackie Williams tally with 21 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in regulation.
But the Cyclones responded only 14 seconds later as Rick fired in an unassisted tally for a two-goal lead.
Watertown struck again within a minute as Girardi won the ensuing faceoff, Kira Kolb collected in the ground ball and after taking the pass, Girardi scored an unassisted goal with 19:52 left for an 8-5 lead.
I remember when that happened, thinking we needed to have an answer for that one and we did, said Watertown coach Tim Burr, whose team has won seven straight games. If we dont get one right there and they get another and get some momentum its a different game. So that was a big play.
The Cyclones would extend this surge into a decisive 6-1 run to lead 10-5 as Morgan Girardi finished off a feed from Alyssa Barrett with 7:49 to play and Jill Girardi generated an unassisted goal with 5:02 to play.
Shes a pretty dynamic player, Burr said of Girardi. She does things at both ends of the field and of course today she was big on the draws.
The Cyclones fought off Carthage in the second half with a steady defensive effort as well as its possession game.
I think Watertown offensively wore us down and the draw controls started to go their way, Carthage coach Sue Gallagher said. They played today with a lot more poise and confidence then we did in the second half.
With their fifth goal, the Comets ended a scoreless drought of nearly 13 minutes and wouldnt score again until the final seconds of the game.
Watertown moves on to again face CBA, which routed the Cyclones, 22-4, in last springs Class B final.
Mariana Ames tallied a pair of goals and an assist and Williams scored twice to pace Carthage (12-6), which made its first semifinal appearance in three seasons.
They really did come a long way this season, Gallagher said of her team. I told them we were 4-10 last year and didnt even make it to sectionals and this year to make it to the semifinals with about the same number of kids that last year is really an accomplishment.
SOUTH JEFFERSON 12, GENERAL BROWN 11
Morgan Alexander scored off a free position with 27.5 seconds left in regulation, and the Spartans earned a spot in the Section 3 Class C title game with a come-from-behind win over the Lions (12-7) at Liverpool.
The Spartans trailed 11-9 with under four minutes left when Maddie Knapp scored. Stephanie Green then tied the game with 1:57 to play.
After Alexander, who finished with three goals and one assist, put South Jefferson ahead, General Brown won the draw. But the Spartans defense denied Bryanna Fazio in the final seconds to secure the win.
Clarissa Perry led league champion South Jefferson with four goals. Erin Parks scored four goals and Cayla OConnor tallied three goals for the Lions.