Weekly Feature



2018-06-07 / Sports

Lancaster boys top Orchard Park for first-ever Section VI Title

TAYLOR NIGRELLI
Sports Reporter


A group of Lancaster boys lacrosse players celebrate after winning the Section VI Class A Title for the first time ever Wednesday at Williamsville North High School. 
Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com A group of Lancaster boys lacrosse players celebrate after winning the Section VI Class A Title for the first time ever Wednesday at Williamsville North High School. Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com When the Lancaster boys lacrosse team fell behind 7-2 to Orchard Park in the second quarter of the Section VI Class A Championship, Dave Mazur had a message for his team: don’t quit on each other. The team, mostly made up of guys who have been playing together since the age of eight, responded in a significant way.

The Legends scored seven straight goals to take the lead and outscored Orchard Park 10-2 overall the final 31 minutes of the game to win their first-ever sectional title. They’re only the third team in the past 28 years to best Orchard Park for the title.

“I guess the third time's the charm,” Mazur said. “We’ve been here two other times. We took our lumps two years ago, last year we lost twice to them by two goals. We knew this year, if we put a little time and effort in, we knew we could catch them. This group has been together for a long time. I started coaching them in summer ball when they were about eight years old. They really came to play.”

It was a win years in the making for Lancaster. The Legends have had a program for 23 years, but only appeared in their first final in 2016, getting blown out by Orchard Park. They made it back again last year and came within two goals of winning. This year, they defeated the Quakers in the regular season for the first time ever. It was time, it was their year.

“The kids played a hell of a game. Even when they were down, they stuck together. We had a timeout and we said ‘guys, don’t quit on each other. Keep playing hard. There are no three-point shots in lacrosse. It’s one at a time, let’s get it back.’ They worked their butts off.”


Lancaster’s Alex Reimer carries the ball during the Legends 12-9 victory over Orchard Park in the Section VI Class A Final last Wednesday at Williamsville North High School. 
Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Lancaster’s Alex Reimer carries the ball during the Legends 12-9 victory over Orchard Park in the Section VI Class A Final last Wednesday at Williamsville North High School. Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Lancaster actually opened the scoring in Wednesday’s Final at Williamsville North as Reimer made it 1-0 just about three minutes in. But Caden Collins and Max Carbaugh answered in quick succession to make it 2-1 Orchard Park. Trevor Stevens would tie it up at two with four minutes left in the first quarter.

Then the Quakers took over. Jacobs scored twice in a row before Andrew Relosky put one in to make it 5-2 Orchard Park heading to the second quarter.

They kept up the pressure after the break when Jacobs and Ryan Niles each got one to make it 7-2. It was around that time when the officials called a water timeout due to the oppressive heat. Then the deficit began to fall.

Alex Reimer with 7:24 left in the second quarter and then again with 5:36 left. Mitchell Forbes at 3:50. Shawn Davis less than a minute before half. All of a sudden, it was a one-goal game at the break.

“A lot of the kids played football two years ago when they had that miraculous comeback in Orchard Park,” Mazur said “It’s something that’s in them. I don’t know if it’s installed from their parents, but we said ‘guys just don’t quit.’”

Halftime did nothing to slow the Lancaster onslaught. The Legends were dominant at both ends, slowly demoralizing the Quakers with goal after goal. Ben Napieralski scored one minute into the half off of a feed by Reimer to tie things up. Brett Beetow and Davis both scored with the next three minutes to make it 9-7 Lancaster.

Orchard Park stopped the bleeding somewhat with 4:59 left in the quarter when Jacobs scored the team’s first in 15 minutes of game time. Beetow made it 10-8 immediately off the faceoff with a goal of his own.

Archie Bartolotti got the Quakers to back within one just 29 seconds into the fourth quarter. But Orchard Park would not score again, as goals by Beetow and Stevens sealed their fate.

“We didn’t really change what we were doing and we started executing more,” Orchard Park coach Larry Catalano said.” We got in penalty trouble and that really didn’t help. I think that was the big swing. I think we took six in a row. We had two man ups to their eight. They cashed in half of those. That’s four goals in a three-goal game, that’s a big difference.”

While the Quakers have been able to deal with every threat that emerged over the past quarter-century, they were not going to hold off Lancaster forever. The Legends already nearly dethroned them last year, and brought back almost all of their key contributors.

“They’re a senior-laden team with a lot of really good players,” Catalano said. “You go down their roster and it’s not like they have a lot of weak spots. We knew this was going to be a tough game. The first game of the season we played was pretty similar. It was really hard to hold off a team like that.”

Meanwhile, the Legends flocked onto the field in celebration of achieving a goal years in the making.

“It’s unbelievable,” Beetow said. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet. Maybe later we’ll realize that we’ve made history today.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Reimer said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was on JV. It’s an unreal feeling right now. We lost the past two years, but we’re back this year and we’re playing as good as ever.”

However, the fun would not end there. Lancaster played Penfield Saturday at All-High Stadium in a Far West Regional Game. Section VI teams traditionally struggle against Section V, rarely advancing beyond this round.

But the Legends bucked historical trends once again and came away with an 11-7 win. They defeated the zone defense with some sharpshooting from Beetow (four goals), Napieralski (three) and Reimer (two). Meanwhile, Bryce Benham and Andrew Hersey came up huge on defense to shut down the Penfield offense, while Mazur was solid in net.

“We had some long nights doing some film watching and breaking down some stuff with my coaching staff,” Mazur said. “Dan Vogl and John Cleary should get most of the credit, they work on the game plan with me.

“We thought they would come out in a zone and they did. I don’t think they respected our outside shooters. I could tell we were going to do pretty well against them, especially in the shooting situation. Some guys were really banging the corners really good. Ben, Brett and Alex were hitting the corners really nicely. We just had to follow the game plan, we possessed the ball, we got away from taking bad shots, we played very unselfish lacrosse.”

The team will now move onto the state semifinal round, where they will take on West Genesee at Cicero North Syracuse High School at 6:30 p.m. The team is coached by the legendary Mike Messere, who has 840 wins, more than 30 sectional titles and 15 state titles.

“I’m just honored to be on the sidelines against him one time,” Mazur said. “They really don’t have any weak spots. They’re just a machine out there. We’re going to break down some film over the next couple of days and put a game plan in tomorrow and see what we can do.”

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