On April 12, 2017, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls’ lacrosse team did something that they had not done in nearly 11 years.
They defeated their bitter rival, West Genesee.
Throughout that night in 2006, the Taylor family made their presence known. Kristen Taylor netted the game-winner as her mother, Kathy, paced up and down the sideline and her sister, Kelly, cheered from the bench.
The family fulfilled the same roles this time around, but, the trio switched positions. Kathy Taylor listened to the echo of her 11-year-old messages from the stands and Kristen and Kelly, whose married name is Tormey, reinforced what their mother instilled in the program.
The sisters said that, leading up to the game, they showed their team the film of that night in 2006 and explained how “F-M was the underdog” and reminded their team that possibilities are endless “when you believe.”
After saying that they “100 percent believe in this group of girls,” the coaches claimed that they want the girls to “believe in themselves as much as we believe in them.”
They added that they emphasized toughness whenever they got the opportunity to and that this F-M team has “stepped up to the challenge” and that has allowed them to find “success against teams that have beat F-M” recently.
As proud as the coaches were to be part of the win, they were more proud of the direction that this victory could take the program in. They think of this as “a total team win” that featured confidence and resilience.
Both of those things were key and rejuvenated the Hornets throughout the remainder of the regular season and were important when they beat Watertown 15-12 on May 30 to clinch the Section III Class B title and a berth in the state tournament, which begins on June 1.
But, for the coaches, the win over West Genesee brought back memories. They said that, after they heard the final buzzer sound, they thought of how proud they were of the girls and then flashed back to the games that their family has been a part of. They said that the moment became more special when they looked up and saw their mother in the stands.
They brought that family mentality to the table and their team bought into it. The coaches said that, throughout the season, the players have moved the ball and have looked to create opportunities for teammates.
Two of F-M’s leading scorers for the game, Kiera and Katie Shanley, had similar comments about the win.
Both Kiera and Katie Shanley pointed to confidence when they discussed what the atmosphere on the sideline was like when F-M fell behind 5-0. They said that the entire team was engaged from start to finish and knew that they would win all along.
They talked about the comfort that they felt throughout the night and said that they weren’t under pressure “at all.” They said that they were extremely comfortable because there was nothing to lose.
The Shanley’s alluded to the energy that was created by everyone on the team and pointed out that Sydney Degirolamo helped them gain confidence by winning a good amount of draws.
Katie Shanley said that Degirolamo’s performance was “key,” because, “without possession, it’s hard to take control of the game.” Her sister added that they knew that they “could win the game” by playing smart.
And they said that, as the game progressed, the energy ramped up more and more, peaking when the buzzer sounded. Katie Shanley said that, when she flashes back to this game in ten years, she will think about the excitement and how their entire team rushed to their goalie when the game was officially over, and Kiera Shanley claimed that the toughness that F-M displayed will be most memorable for her.
Katie Shanley described the emotions they felt at the final buzzer as “unreal” and Kiera Shanley said that the feeling that the win brought her was “amazing.”