Several weeks ago I threw out there an early look at what the rest of New York state has to offer. Well, a lot has happened in that time. Many of the top teams in Sections 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 have made their move and are poised to earn their rightful places in the state semifinals and beyond.
With each team’s respective sectional tournaments about to start, I figure it’s high time we look again at potential matchups down the road as we steam toward Paetec Park in Rochester, site of the state championship triple header on June 6.
So, without further adieu, I give you ‘CUSE’s “Best of the Rest” upstate rankings, Part II.
1. West Genesee (16-1): The Wildcats have won 14 straight following a loss to La Salle College High of Pa., back on April 4, including a 9-8 win over long-time Section 3 rival Fayetteville-Manlius on May 14 and a 14-5 win over Baldwinsville on Tuesday. The scariest thing about this year’s West Genny squad, besides the fact that they are trying to uphold a tradition that is the owner of 15 state championships, is the fact that its top five scorers are all underclassmen. Through Monday a pair of junior attackmen, Ike Hopper and Jordan Rogers, lead the way with 58 and 44 points, respectively. After that you have a trio of young middies — juniors Matt McCabe (31 goals, 9 assists) and Jim Marks (26, 12) and sophomore John Glesener (26, 9). While the Wildcats aren’t a lock to get out of Section 3, as evidenced by the tight win over FM and a one-goal win over Corcoran, who at this point is not ready ready to pencil them into the Class A state final? Not this scribe.
2. Niskayuna (18-0): We’ve all heard about the Silver Warriors’ defensive prowess, but this year they have made it into an art form. Nisky has allowed just 39 goals in 18 games, or roughly 2 and change per game. Now on the surface some may say, well, who does Nisky play? The answer is almost entirely a Section 2 schedule. But chew on this: The Silver Warriors have not allowed more than 4 goals in any game and held a very powerful John Jay team to just 2 in a 5-2 win. They also beat high-scoring Guilderland, which dropped 15 on Lakeland/Panas in a win, 15-2 and 6-2. But that’s not all. Nisky has offense, plenty of it. Led by a pair of senior middies, the Silver Warriors have scored 214 goals this season. Through Monday Dan McKinney led the way with 75 points (31, 44) and Jared Franze had a team-high 55 goals. Junior attackman Mark Panneton came next, with 44 points, including 32 goals. I said back in the preseason a Capitol region team was going to win a state title for the first time and I stick by that — as long as Nisky continues to behave as Nisky.
3. Corning East (17-0): The Trojans have played just three close games this season — a 9-8 OT win over Section 4’s Chenango Forks, a 9-6 win over 2008 Class A state semifinalist Canandaigua and an 8-7 win over Section 4 power Ithaca. East also handled John Jay, winning 12-4 back on April 11. Now that Jay is playing much better, it would be intriguing to see these teams meet again in Rochester in June, but that’s so far down the road and so much has to happen, it’s not worth getting into too much. Through Monday Corning East was led by senior attackmen Justin Patterson (39, 39) and Cody Lucas (30, 26) and senior middie Mitch Keefer (29, 20). The Trojans are 1-12 all-time in state finals, with their lone win coming over Yorktown in the 1990 B final.
4. Lafayette (17-0): With all the talk surrounding Hopkins-bound middie John Greeley, the Lancers have proven to be much more than a one-man show. Coming into Monday the 2003 and 2005 Class C state champs were led by Miles Thompson’s 87 points, including 59 goals, Lyle Tompson’s 54 points (27, 27) and Greeley’s 47 points (31, 16). Jeremy Bersevoy comes next with 46 points (25, 21). Lafayette’s closest game this season was a 13-9 win over Skaneateles back on May 2. A Lafayette-Manhasset Class C state final would be a gift from the lacrosse gods.
After these four, there are a bunch of teams that could spring an upset or work their way to Rochester by virtue of not having to deal with Genny, East, Nisky or Lafayette:
5. Orchard Park (16-1): The traditional Buffalo-area power’s lone loss came to Corning East, 12-9 back on May 9. OP’s road goes through West Genny in Class A. Good luck with that.
6. Skaneateles (16-1): Its lone loss came to Lafayette, the same Lafayette it will have to negotiate to get out of the Section 3 Class C tournament.
7. Corcoran (15-2): The Cougars have won eight in a row, including a 10-9 victory over FM on Tuesday. They lost by the same score to West Genny back on April 23.
8. Canandaigua (14-2): The Braves have won 12 straight since a 9-6 loss to Corning East on April 17, including a 6-5 win over Geneva on Tuesday. They have also beaten Penn Yan twice, Yan’s only two losses of the season. Canandaigua dropped to Class B this season and may get another shot Corning East in the state tournament.
9. Penn Yan (14-2): The Mustangs may be Lafayette’s only serious hurdle to the state finals In Class C.
10. Guilderland (16-2): To the teams in our area, keeping an eye on Guilderland is very important. This team has struggled against Nisky, but won’t have to deal with the Warriors in the Section 2 Class A tournament. If Guilderland gets by Shenendehowa, which it beat 11-6 on Tuesday, in sectionals it will face in all likelihood Yorktown in the state quarterfinals. Keep this in mind, if common opponents, scores and margin of victory are your thing, Guilderland beat L/P 15-10 (Yorktown won 11-8) and Mahopac 11-0 (Yorktown won 10-1). Take that as you will, but if anyone thinks a potential Yorktown-Guilderland matchup will be a walk in the park for the ‘Huskers because Nisky isn’t around, think again.
Other upstate teams to watch (Through Monday):
Fairport (12-1, Class A, Section 5); Webster Thomas (12-1, Class A, Section 5); Jamesville-DeWitt (13-3, Class B, Section 3); Hamburg (14-2, Class B, Section 6); Ithaca (13-2, Class A, Section 4); Liverpool (11-5, Class A, Section 3); Irondequoit (11-3, Class B, Section 5); Carthage (13-3, Class B, Section 3); Chenango Forks (12-4, Class B, Section 4); FM (13-4, Class A, Section 3).
I’ll try to do one more update like this before the state tournament begins. Enjoy!
Reach Syracuse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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