Five minutes or so before halftime, Nick Papa was going in on goal and thought about taking the easy shot, but flipped it behind his head to a cutting Jack Shanley for a goal, giving Fayetteville-Manlius a temporary 4-3 lead that eventually turned into an 8-6 win over Pittsford.
Still, soon after that connection, it was a tie game again, as Pittsford rushed down the field and contacted the back of the net. And then, the two suburban boys lacrosse teams would exchange goals one more time before the Hornets (7-5, 3-4) locked down and scored the two straight goals that secured their fifth straight victory.
F-M, which has seemed to put the early-season struggles behind it, would allow Pittsford to creep within a goal with 10:36 left, but Chris Lubrino’s second goal of the day re-assured it that it was going to go back home with a great overall win.
The defense was as good as its been throughout the year. After having to scramble over the past few games, assistant and defensive coach Brian Concannon was able to field his top options in Zak Conley, Ben Welling, and Sam Stratton, who had an illness that kept him off the field against Liverpool and prevented him from starting at Cicero-North Syracuse.
They had just one penalty that forced them to be down a man and stood tall during that minute, not allowing a goal, which complemented that clutch offense.
Papa and Lubrino had big games, even if you discount that great assist from Papa in the second quarter. Overall, Papa had three goals and two assists, Shanley scored three goals, and Lubrino had two and one.
For Shanley, this was the fourth straight game of a hot streak that has made the Hornets much better and more dangerous. His hat trick makes it 15 points, nine goals and six assists, in that stretch.
He spoke about the terror he’s on. “I think what has allowed me to catch fire is the fact that we had a rough start to the season and I know my team needs me,” Shanley said. “The rough losses have left a little bit of a chip on, not only my shoulder, but I think the rest of the team’s as well.”
The junior, who is committed to Manhattan College, said that F-M can’t take anything for granted. “We need to compete to capitalize and come out on top,” he said, “the wins, now, mean more than ever.”
The Hornets will look to continue their win streak on Tuesday at Syracuse.