RFA girls lacrosse team makes history with first playoff win
The Rome Free Academy girls lacrosse team scored the first five goals in a 12-2 home win against Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the Section III Class A playoffs Tuesday. It not only was the program’s first home playoff game but its first postseason win.
The fourth-seeded Black Knights earned a shot at top-seeded Baldwinsville Thursday. The Bees are the defending state champions.
With the win Tuesday, RFA was “looking at improving in a lot of different areas,” said head coach Kayla Miller. That included ball movement on offense, off-ball movement, better defensive positioning and winning 50-50 balls, she said. “Pleased, but still work to do especially against Baldwinsville.” The Bees are “a powerhouse,” she added.
Drew Kopek scored the game’s first two goals and earned an assist on the third. She had all four of her goals in the game in the first half. “Everyone was buzzing in the locker room” before the game, excited about a home playoff game, she said after the win.
Isibeal McMahon scored RFA’s third goal and sister Fiona tallied the fourth. Kopek’s hat trick goal made it 5-0 with 7:13 left in the first half. After Abigail Delaney got Syracuse on the scoreboard less than a minute later, Alyssa Nardslico followed up with two goals and Danielle D’Aiuto added another to make it 8-1 before Kopek scored with a minute left in the first half.
Nardslico completed her hat trick a few minutes into the second half. Cecilia Witherel got Syrcase’s second goal then Amelia Furbeck made it 11-2 RFA. Alyssa Hawkins capped the scoring with RFA’s final goal with four minutes left.
Hannah Lowder made seven saves in net for RFA in the win. Daylisia Castro Felder had six stops for Syracuse.
The win came four days after RFA concluded its regular season with a 9-2 win at RFA Stadium against Syracuse. The team had already clinched the Tri-Valley League title.
Kopek said Monday felt different than Friday’s win. The team was quick on offense, the defense deflected shots and Lowder was “incredible.”
RFA is now 12-5 and heads to Central Square for a 5 p.m. showdown Thursday against the 12-4 Bees at the neutral site. The teams did not meet in the regular season.
The Bees have a similar approach to RFA, Miller noted, with multiple scoring threats to put pressure on defenses and deny them the option of focusing on one key player. While Brianna Peters has 54 goals this season, the Bees have five players with 19 or more goals each. RFA has seven players with 19 or more goals this season.
To win Thursday, in a game that will be “a lot tougher” against an opponent RFA knows little about, Kopek said, “We have to possess the ball as long as possible and we have to score when we have it.”
“Our defense has to be strong,” Miller said of the semifinal game. “We need to come out like we’re ready to play at sectional game, not scared,” she said. “Ready to compete.”
Spartans fall to J-D
The New Hartford girls lacrosse team got a hat trick from Bella Kolb but lost 12-5 at Jamesville-DeWitt Tuesday, ending its season in the quarterfinals of the Class C playoffs.
Jamesville led 5-2 at the half. Merris Kessler led the way with four goals. Lucy Keib made seven saves in goal for the win.
Leah Hilton and Madison Truax had the Spartans’ other goals. Sophia Campola added an assist.
Emily Picolla made seven saves and allowed 12 goals in 48 minutes and Alannah Nole faced no shots in two minutes of time in relief.
New Hartford was 6-11 this season.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here