CORTLAND — Twelve minutes of pure excellence helped the Baldwinsville men’s lacrosse team come one step closer to winning the program’s first-ever state championship for the first time in three decades.
The Bees’ total dominance in the second quarter of Wednesday’s Class A semi-final against Fairport at SUNY-Cortland turned a two-goal deficit into a four-goal advantage – and led to a convincing 13-5 victory over the Red Raiders.
Fairport, the Section V champions, were the same team that edged out the Bees in that same state semifinal the last time the state tournament was held in 2019.
Most of the players had changed, but the stakes were the same – a trip to the state title game.
Almost seven minutes passed before a goal, from Kyle Gould of the Red Raiders, was answered by Ryan Quinn just a minute later.
But goals from Gould and Mitchell Monte put Fairport up 3-1 late in the first quarter. Gould’s goal was particularly impressive in that he fell, kept the ball, got back up and, despite strong defending, passed Nick Cary.
All it seemed to do, however, was inspire B’ville to play their best game in the pivotal second period.
It started in the face-off circle, where Jake Czyz won back-to-back draws leading to goals from Colin Doyle and Ryan Hollenbeck. Then Dylan Wirtheim put the Bees in front and Brayden Penafeather-Stevenson used his long stick to assist on Trey Orday’s goal and then converted.
All the while, B’ville’s defense, led by Austin McClintic, Pat Otts and Tucker Macknik, grew more aggressive every time Fairport had the ball, not even allowing shots to reach Cary and forcing a series reversals.
It was yet another Red Raiders turnover that led to a devastating goal 0.9 seconds before half-time, with B’ville taking over and rushing onto the pitch, where Doyle found a tall Hollenbeck open, who beat McLean Ralston just before the horn.
Leading 7-3 at halftime, the Bees remained quiet for most of the third quarter but allowed just one goal, which he responded to in important fashion when Hollenbeck scored his third on a rebound and Ordway converted with 13.4 seconds left.
Cary stepped up early in the final period with a pair of close range saves, Ordway scoring his fourth goal and Doyle converting again with 7:07 to go, virtually stalling the Bees’ trip to the national final.
Aside from Ordway, Hollenbeck finished with three goals and Penafeather-Stevenson had two goals and an assist. Keegan Lynch was held scoreless but dished out three assists as Carson Dyl and Leo Johnson (who had a late goal) also had assists.
Long Island champions Northport await them at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra University, after beating Scarsdale 13-9 in the state’s other semifinal. B’ville hopes to avoid the fate of its only predecessors who came this far in 1992, who lost the state final to another Long Island team, Ward Melville.