Fayetteville-Manlius was down a goal and had the ball with about a minute left and had put itself in prime position to win this ball game, but after Baldwinsville stuck to its aggressive, gritty style of defense, the possession quickly died down and turned into the goal that sealed the deal on this 11-9 F-M loss.
This loss is really frustrating for the Hornets (2-5, 1-4), who have now fallen short in three straight games, but the sting that this one leaves behind roots from the closeness of some of their losses. They lost to Baldwinsville (9-1, 6-0) on April 11 by a goal, and then suffered an one-goal overtime loss to Liverpool two days after.
But it is undeniable that the most important aspect of this game for F-M was the return of the face-off master, Zak Van Valkenburg. Van Valkenburg, who won 18 of 22 face-offs and scored a goal in his season debut, missed the first half of the season recovering from an injury.
The senior tried to explain the emotions that scoring that goal brought upon him. “It was the best feeling ever,” he said, “I couldn’t describe how happy I was after I saw it hit the net.”
He took us through the moment that they announced his name over the loudspeakers and said he that he had been looking forward to that moment for a long time and that he expected himself to be as focused and as motivated as he appeared to be and just wanted to make the most of those few emotional seconds.
“As I heard my name, I knew it was time for me to show what I can do.” Van Valkenburg said, “all the hard work and dedication I put in during therapy was going to pay off.”
And, in more ways than one, his teammates shared that sense of accomplishment, whether it was from the lacrosse standpoint or the personal level. It was a prime example of how, naturally, as human beings, when we see somebody suffering, we automatically put ourselves in their shoes and go on the journey with them.
As discouraging as the losing streak has been, the coaching staff has been optimistic about what the future holds for this team. Head coach Doug Madden has been saying that the goal should be to get better every game so that the team is playing its best heading into the playoffs.
Despite the fact that they lost the game, the Hornets made major strides toward that goal. Although the coaches said that they committed too many, they decreased the number of turnovers they had, which is a great sign.
Throughout the season, Madden has valued the importance of not turning the ball over, but it has continuously been a struggle for his team. It has had a game with 21 turnovers, two others with 19, nevertheless it only had 11 in this one.
If they can continue to reduce those turnovers, the Hornets can turn their season around. Their next four games, which are against Christian Brothers Academy, Westhill, Liverpool, and Cicero-North Syracuse, are very winnable and will dictate the fate of this team.