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Wayne Post
  • Penfield's season comes to end with loss to West Genesee

  • The Penfield boys lacrosse team fought until the end, but came up two wins shy of a New York state title, falling to perennial Section 3 powerhouse West Genesee 11-6 at St. John Fisher College in a Class A state semifinal.

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  • The Penfield boys lacrosse team fought until the end, but came up two wins shy of a New York state title, falling to perennial Section 3 powerhouse West Genesee 11-6 at St. John Fisher College in a Class A state semifinal.

    The Patriots trailed 10-3 late in the third before a three-goal run brought them within three early in the fourth quarter. But West Genesee burned clock and limited Penfield’s scoring opportunities the rest of the way, holding on for the win and a chance for the 16th state championship in program history.

    Penfield coach John Schembri lauded his team’s effort in the loss.

    “I’m so proud of my kids,” he said. “They were down 10-3 and they fought. A couple of those shots fall, we get a couple fast breaks off the faceoffs, it might be a different game. I’ve just never been so proud of a team.”

    West Genesee scored twice before Brian Wall got Penfield on the board late in the first quarter, but Ryan St. Croix scored twice in the last two minutes of the first to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.

    The teams traded a pair of goals in the second before Dan Ginestro’s goal with 6 seconds left in the half put West Genesee up 7-3.

    St. Croix reeled off three straight in the third to increase the Wildcats’ lead to 10-3 before Connor Russell and Jonathan Spaan each found the net for Penfield.

    Mitch Standera brought the Patriots within four 36 seconds into the fourth quarter, but that’s when West Genesee tightened its defense and went into clock-control mode.

    St. Croix’s sixth goal sealed the deal with 1:44 remaining. Ginestro and Teddy Glesener scored twice and Tom Pritchard added one for the Wildcats (15-5), who will play Section 11 champion Ward Melville (21-0), the top-ranked team in the country, in Saturday’s state final at St. John Fisher.

    “They’ve got a lot of championships for a reason,” Schembri said of West Genesee. “They’re well coached, they’re disciplined and they hustle.”

    Six different players – Wall, Russell, Standera, Spaan, Andrew Schoeneck and Anthony Mitchell – scored for Penfield (13-8), which rallied from an 0-5 start this season to reach the state semifinals for the third time in program history.

    Schembri said it was a remarkable run for his team, which won the Section 5 Class A tournament as the No. 4 seed by knocking off No. 5 Hilton, No. 1 Fairport and No. 2 Webster Thomas before topping Section 6 champion Orchard Park in overtime Saturday in a state quarterfinal.
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    “This group will always have a special place in my heart,” Schembri said. “As a head coach, they’re my first Section 5 championship team.

    “When you’re playing against the big dogs all the time, it gets you good, and the team that comes out of here is well prepared for the state tournament,” he continued. “We were fortunate enough to play hard enough to get out and get past Orchard Park, but tonight wasn’t our night.”

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