The Canandaigua girls lacrosse team was certainly tested this year, having played in a lot of close games against quality opponents. More often than not, though, the Braves were victorious in those tight games, winning six of the seven that were decided by one goal.
The team’s penchant for last-minute heroics helped Canandaigua capture a second straight Monroe County League Division II championship. Braves coach Sue Ellis is the Daily Messenger’s 2013 Girls Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
Ellis finished her 15th year as Canandaigua’s coach and it was one of the most experienced teams she’s had with 12 seniors on the roster. The coach said the girls didn’t play for themselves, they played for each other and the program.
“They kept the Canandaigua stride of great lacrosse going,” Ellis said. “Their attitude this year was full throttle. We would say, ‘Don’t back up, don’t back down, dig a little deeper,’ and that’s what they did. They’re competitors.”
Early in the season, the Braves took a spring break trip to Maryland to face some of the top teams in the state. Ellis planned the trip to challenge the girls, and she believes it helped prepare them for tough games later in the season.
The Braves recorded overtime wins over Webster Thomas and Brighton during the regular season. Senior Lauren D’Amore’s goal lifted Canandaigua to a 10-9 triple overtime win over Irondequoit in the Section 5 Class B semifinals. Canandaigua fell to Brighton in the sectional finals to finish with a 13-6 record.
Macy Marafioti, Lauren and Kendall D’Amore, Jordan Johnson and Dakotah Savitcheff led Canandaigua offensively; Janae Guy, Rachel Olson and Dana Garbinski gave the Braves strong defense; and Amanda Yavorek and Rebecca Van Laeken were tough to beat between the pipes.
Canandaigua is going to look different next year after graduating so many girls, but Ellis is optimistic about the new core of players.
“I think it’s going to be a good different,” she said. “We have talented, hungry players. Players who were in the limelight and weren’t able to get in the spotlight. They’ve learned so much from the senior class, and they’re ready to play their roles next season.”