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Massena girls capture third straight Section 10 Class C lax title

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CANTON - A one-goal halftime deficit to Canton Central spoke volumes to the Massena Central girls lacrosse team on Thursday in the Section 10 Class C Championship Game.

“Canton came out on fire. They really looked like they wanted it more,” said coach Jeffrey Slack after the Lady Raiders reeled off nine unanswered second-half goals to claim a hard-fought 15-7 over the Lady Golden Bears at the SUNY Canton turf field.

“We really didn’t have to say too much to the girls at halftime. They knew Canton was beating us to the loose balls and that we were getting outhustled. We didn’t change anything in terms of our game plan. We just had to pick up our intensity and that’s just what the girls did in the second half,” Slack added.

The Lady Raiders captured their third straight Class C title with the win and improved to 15-3 heading into the New York State playoffs where they will head south to Vestal High School to take on the Section 4 champion in a first-round matchup slated for next Wednesday at 4 p.m.

In the win over Canton, the senior duo of Alisha Jacobs and Erin Francis, who was announced as the NAC MVP for 2013, combined to produce the majority of the offense for the Lady Raiders with Jacobs netting six goals following by Francis with five. They each tallied three assists as well.

“The two of them work so well together,” noted Slack. “It just took them a while to get things going today.”

Dominique Valancius chipped in a goal and two assists toward the winning effort while Shannon Casey, Carlie Leary and Devin Kelly broke through for the other goals.

Katie Lapinski and Kali Frank anchored the Canton offense with two goals and an assist each. Rachael Huntley (1 assist), Molly McMasters and Makaylee Boak all netted singletons as the Lady Bears, who entered sectionals as the second seed, finished at 10-5 in the final season for 13-year coach Sparky Newman.

“I’m very happy with the way we played today. We were leading at the half but Massena is a great team and we knew they would tough to beat,” he noted. “Our girls left it all on the field and that’s all you want to see as a coach.”

Francis finished off a pass from Jacobs just 24 seconds into the game but the Lady Bears countered just eight seconds later when McMasters relayed a face-off win into a breakaway goal. The teams traded momentum swings throughout the first half which saw Massena build a 6-4 lead on a goal by Leary with 10:51 remaining before Canton reeled off the final three goals, taking a 7-6 lead with 2:01 left when Boak was awarded a free shot on an empty net after a foul called against Massena netminder Felicity Love.

Jacobs tied the game 2:57 into the second game assisted by Francis. The two switched roles on what would hold up as the game-winner with 18:49 left in regulation and the Lady Raiders went on to average a goal every two minutes for a 14-minute span as they gradually pulled away for the win.

Love had an outstanding effort between the pipes for the Lady Raiders, keeping the game close in the first half where she recorded 10 of her 12 saves. Meg Howard turned aside 15 shots working the Canton crease.

“Both goaltenders were outstanding,” Slack noted. “Felicity made some great saves in the first half but the Howard girl came up with a lot of big saves the whole game.”

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