Coach Ed Mulheron has helped the Canandaigua boys lacrosse team win nine Section 5 titles since 1986, with the most recent championship coming last month. While all the teams are different, what makes the 2013 Braves memorable to the coach is how hard they worked as a team to raise the coveted block of wood at the end of the season.
“I think these kids really had to work hard for it — we weren’t necessarily the favorite, not that we’ve been the favorites when we’ve won it before,” Mulheron said. “This group of kids really came together as a group and played as a team. They did everything in that way, and that’s what sticks out in my mind.”
Mulheron is the Daily Messenger’s 2013 Boys Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
Canandaigua went 4-0 to start the season, but followed that beginning with three straight losses to Penfield, Fairport and Pittsford. The Braves won six of their next seven games before dropping the last two games of the season. The 3-1 league record gave Canandaigua a share of the Monroe County Division 2 title.
In the Class B tournament, the Braves steamrolled past Eastridge and Churchville-Chili to make a return to the finals. In last year’s finals, Canandaigua fell to Irondequoit, 11-9.
Canandaigua needed three overtimes to defeat Victor in the championship game, 11-10. The Braves trailed in the first half, but took the lead in the third quarter. The Blue Devils came back to force overtime, and Braves senior Danny LaCrosse won it with 52.6 seconds left in the third overtime period.
“We had to fight for everything we got; the kids kept fighting and fighting,” he said. “With two minutes to go, we had a two-goal lead and then they scored a couple quick ones and we went to overtime. Our kids persevered and fought, and they literally found a way to be successful and win.”
Canandaigua graduated two of its top scorers last year and had several players step up on offense. Junior Brian Feldman led the team in goals with 52 and tacked on eight assists, while classmate Eric Munn led the team in assists with 29 and points with 63. LaCrosse recorded 28 goals and 24 assists, freshman Mitchell Schaefer added 23 goals and 13 assists, and senior Connor Hulme added 27 goals and 8 assists.
Seniors Sean Condon, Zak Bussey and Nate Bellis, junior Joe Eddinger and sophomore Michel McClain anchored the Braves defensively. Senior netminder Michael Cuciti stopped 58.1 percent of the shots he faced in net.
Canandaigua graduated nine seniors, but the team should be strong again next spring with so many key contributors returning.