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100 Years of Scholastic Lacrosse

BLaxFive.NET will be celebrating the start of scholastic lacrosse in 1922 with the posting of stories starting in January and continuing through the spring season. A current list of stories written for this celebration is available here. To allow readers to reminisce, we will also post stories on our Lax Lines website.

There are only a few places in the country that can match our history in scholastic lacrosse, so with the start of the new year, let’s celebrate.

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Geneva State Champs in 1923?

By William David Moore

As Dr. J.B. Covert of Hobart was facilitating the 1922 birth of lacrosse at Geneva High School, legendary Syracuse University coach Laurie Cox was mentoring the development of the sport at the scholastic level in the larger city to the east. A pair of teams emerged from that mentorship, Syracuse Central and Christian Brothers Academy. Along with Geneva those two schools created the foundation of competitive schoolboy lacrosse in Upstate New York that would last until 1940.

GENEVA LACROSSERS WIN STATE SCHOLASTIC TITLE

Lacrosse Cartoon 1920sSo read one headline following “the roughest game of Lacrosse ever recorded against scholastic players in Central New York.” Geneva had just beaten Syracuse Central for the second time in 1923. The team would complete their undefeated high school season a week later. The 3-1 win followed an earlier 4-2 triumph and avenged the sole blemish on Geneva’s schoolboy lacrosse record to date, the previous year’s 1-1 tie.

The “Scholastic Champions of New York State” claim was quite premature, however, and the Geneva folks were well aware of that. As spelled out in the newspaper story they claimed:

“If the winners of the Lacrosse League of Greater New York are willing to play for the State championship somewhere at New York City, the coach and manager stated that they would play them.”

Geneva and Central, CBA and Syracuse Vocational, East Syracuse and Skaneateles in 1923 were quite latecomers to The Creator’s Game. The high school hotbed of a century and more ago – Brooklyn. As quoted in the 1924 Official Lacrosse Guide, “the three greatest lacrosse schools (were) Manual, Erasmus and Poly,” according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

“Probably the best indication of the popularity” of Brooklyn lacrosse was that “such large crowds turned out . . . that policing problems were encountered.”

Public school Manual Training had dominated league competition, having won thirteen of the fourteen championships contested at the high school level since 1909. Like the upstate teams, the Brooklyn squads often competed with college freshman teams. The league also included a pair of prep school teams, one of which, Polytechnic Country Day School won the league title with a 6-1 record. Poly had a veteran program, dating back to 1905. Unfortunately, a Geneva-Poly “State Championship Game” never occurred.

So, could Geneva rightfully claim a New York state title? They had not lost a high school game while Poly had lost to Manual after topping them earlier in the season. Manual lost only one other game. To Syracuse Central 4-2 while on an Upstate odyssey, also playing and defeating the Cornell and Syracuse freshmen.

And Geneva had beaten Central twice. And decisively, especially the second time per the news report:

“Geneva had things pretty much its own way all through the game. Their men seemed the better runners, better dodgers and were faster in every respect. Central’s defense was too weak for the strong attack of the Genevans . . . (who) made all the goals in the first half . . . (and) played safe in the second . . . only once did . . . Central manage to penetrate the Geneva defense.”

A New York State championship performance? Who gets your vote in the sportswriter’s mythical poll?

Five and a half decades would pass before a formal state title was won on the lacrosse field. In the 18 seasons of the early era of upstate lacrosse that 1923 Central-Manual game was one of a very few between the two regions, even after the Brooklyn version of lacrosse metastasized out onto suburban Long Island to produce powers like Sewanhaka, Manhasset, and Garden City.

The latter two continue to compete for and win state titles in the twenty-first century. Sewanhaka set a state record for most consecutive wins – 91- in the 1950s, a mark matched by upstate’s West Genesee in the 1980s.

Even after the resumption of the high school game in upstate in 1957, the twain rarely met until the advent of an actual state tournament in 1977. And that is in itself an interesting, and in some minor ways, contentious tale.

Geneva team picture 1922-23

A list of more stories in the celebration series is available.

Dave Moore is a long-time lacrosse fan, researcher, coach, and administrator.
Have something to add? Feel free to comment on Lax Lines.

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The Fathers of Irondequoit Lacrosse

The first twenty years of the Irondequoit lacrosse history were led by two coaches, Vern Babcock, sometimes called the “father of Irondequoit lacrosse” and Ernie Lisi who is also called the “father of Irondequoit Lacrosse” and who, in his sixteen years, put Irondequoit on the local and national map.

Verb BabcockVern Babcock conducted an intramural lacrosse program at Irondequoit for two years before becoming the first Head Coach in 1957. The Hobart College alumnus led a squad of thirty-six players to a 5-1 season in the first year and a 5-0 record in their second year. He finished his tenure in 1960 with a 25-4 record before giving up coaching to become the high school Vice Principal. He did, however, remain as Secretary-Treasurer of the Upstate Interscholastic Lacrosse League, which he formed in 1960 with five teams (Irondequoit, Geneva, West Genesee, Baldwinsville and Watertown.) The first championship, in 1960,  was won by Babcock’s team. Both Baldwinsville and Irondequoit had 7-2 records, but Irondequoit won the playoff game with a score of 5-4.


Ernie Lisi then took over in 1961 and compiled a career record of 211-22 when he finished in 1977 and turned the reins over to John Pratt (1978-2005). In his first season he won 10 straight games and then continued with thirty more straight wins until his first loss (to Lafayette) in 1965.

Enrie LisiIn his first season, Lisi took the team to his hometown of Geneva to play against the Panthers. The Democrat and Chronicle reported that Irondequoit scored three quick goals at the start of the game and won 5-3. They reported that 250 spectators witnessed the game. “Outstanding for the winners was [Andy] Warner, easily the star of the game with his drive and brilliant passing. Perhaps leading the Geneva [effort was defenseman] Johnny Pratt, who prevented a number of Irondequoit shots from being made.” Of course, John Pratt would eventually take over the Irondequoit program from Lisi some sixteen years later.

At Geneva High School, Lisi was captain of both the football and track teams. He was also the senior class President in 1950. After four years in the Marine Corps which included a tour of Korea, he moved on to Hobart College where he was a standout in football and as a midfielder in lacrosse. He once played against Jim Brown, playing for Syracuse. Hobart coach Babe Kraus, was said to have told Lisi, “Let him run if he gets the ball. There is no way to stop him without injuring yourself.”

Graduating from Hobart with a degree in mathematics, Lisi spent two years in the private sector before deciding to teach. His whole teaching career was at West Irondequoit.

In a 1971 D&C article which acknowledged his first ten years at Irondequoit, Lisi stated, “Lacrosse is growing rapidly in colleges and high school. It has the added advantage that a game can be played in almost any kind of weather, including snow and rain.”

Over his sixteen years as Head Coach he earned many accolades and honors including:

  • 22 Championships/titles including two Section V Championships
  • 13 High School All-Americans
  • 3 times Coach of the Year by USLCA
  • Man of the Year by NILL (1984)
  • Rochester Chapter US Lacrosse Hall of Fame (1992)
  • Geneva Sports Hall of Fame (1992)
  • Hobart College Hall of Fame (2014)

Ernie Lisi

One exciting game Lisi coached was the 1973 Upstate League Championship which saw Irondequoit down five goals with 9:13 left to play, returned with seven straight goals to capture a 10-8 win, the 150th of his career.

In the third period the Trojans were up 8-3. With the clock showing 9:13 left in the game, Bill Duford score for the Indians. After another goal was waved off by official Frank Shields, Irondequoit fired up. They dominated in faceoffs and in a fifty second span, scored three goals, taking them to within one. Jeff Long scored the tying goal while the Indians were one man down and the Trojans were two men down. Dale Bartram scored the game winner with 2:05 left and Bill Duford added an insurance goal at 1:59 for the win.

Lisi would later say that it was the most exciting game of his career. Coaching for Corning was another Geneva alumnus, Joe Corcoran, who had a long and distinguished career. Playing in the game was one of Joe’s sons, Terry Corcoran, who scored three goals and three assists. Terry is the current Head Coach at McQuaid.

His final coaching stint was for the University of Rochester, where he was Head Coach from 1979-1981.


IRONDEQUOIT COACHING HISTORY

  • Aaron Bottazzo 2020-
  • Terry Coholan 2016-2019
  • Mark Lovett 2014-2015
  • Craig Whipple 2007-(2014 – first 4 games)
  • John Van Etten 2006
  • John Pratt 1978-2005
  • Ernie Lisi 1961-1977
  • Vern Babcock 1957-1960

 

This story was first published On Lax Lines on November 7, 2018. 
Have something to add? Feel free to comment on Lax Lines.

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Officials Needed for 2022 - Free Training

OfficialsThe Genesee Valley Lacrosse Officials Association is once again providing training for people who would like to learn how to help conduct the boys game and earn some money in the process. The new official’s orientation classes will start soon. It is great opportunity for someone who is thinking about staying involved in the game and wants to learn what it takes to be a “certified” NYS HS Lacrosse Official.

"With the continued growth of lacrosse in Section V at all levels, officials are needed for the 2022 spring season. The Genesee Valley Lacrosse Officials Association services Section V High Schools Men's Lacrosse at the Modified, Junior Varsity and Varsity levels. There also has been a continued growth in youth lacrosse programs which also requires trained officials. We are currently looking for Individuals who are interested in becoming officials for the upcoming season. Candidates need no prior experience in officiating any sport and need not have had to played lacrosse."

More information is available on their website.

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Two-Time All-Americans

[Ed Note: As we celebrate 100 Years, we will be looking at players and coaches throughout the time period. Today, lets look at some special players (from the 1970's through 2020's.)]

uslca_usalacrosseThe first National Interscholastic Lacrosse Association All-Americans in Section V were awarded in 1971 when Andrew Gallina* from Irondequoit and Jim Darcangelo from Corning East were the recipients.  Gallina led the league is points his senior year and continued his career at Brown. Darcangelo went on to play at Towson, where he was a three-time All-American, two-time “Player of the Year” and was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1990.

As of this writing, there have been 208 All-American awards from 1971 to 2021. The formula for the number of awards has changed over the fifty years and the one constant in the process is that the coaches in the section have selected the winners.

Fifteen players have had the great distinction of being selected in both their junior and senior years.

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Coach Joe Corcoran – Geneva and Corning

Many readers might not know that Corning East (and West) lacrosse teams both played in Section V before moving back to Section IV where they are today. From 1976 and through the 1983 season, Corning East was a top contender in Section V. Geneva alumnus, Coach Corcoran started the Corning program in 1967 and they played in Section IV or the Upstate League until 1975.

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Coach Jack McDonald – Journeyman Lax Man

When Joe Corcoran restarted the Geneva lacrosse program in 1957, freshman Jack McDonald made the team. He had three coaches in his first three years as Joe Kraus (son of the well-known “Babe” Kraus) coached his sophomore year and then Bob Manners started his long run which continued until Jack replaced him in 1970. In his senior year, Jack won the Covert Trophy for the most valuable player. Those four years was the beginning of a life-long love of the sport.

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Jim Loman - Native Son - Builder of Men

By William David Moore

"For more than a quarter of a century Jim Loman taught good sportsmanship, as attested by the number of banners that hang from our walls." - Geneva Superintendent of Schools Lynn Housman, 1949

The infant Geneva High School lacrosse program and native son Jim Loman first intersected in the summer of 1923. The two would be intimately linked for 17 years.

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Stickball In the Street: A Players’ Game

By William David Moore

Some of the most interesting lacrosse games played in Geneva are staged on the asphalt pavement on the south end of Exchange Street. - Geneva Daily Times June 4, 1921

In a LAX LINES piece on SportFive.Net, “New Sport for School,” Coach Paul Wilson introduced Geneva as the pioneering scholastic program in Section Five nearly a century ago. What was the source of the idea and where did the impetus for the sport’s first adoption come from? The Daily Times’ “Sports Notes” author continues:

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New Sport for School - Geneva

“New Sport for School” was the headline of the story on page 19 of the Democrat & Chronicle that announced that Geneva High School would play their first scholastic game on Wednesday, April 19th, 1922. With that announcement, scholastic lacrosse was underway in Section Five. 

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Teams Timeline from 1922

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle documented, on April 19th, 1922, the first scholastic lacrosse game for the Geneva High School boys. That first game was against “cross-town” Hobart College freshman and the Panthers won 3-1. At the time “Central High” (Syracuse) also played.

This was the start of high school lacrosse in the area we now call Section V.

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Livonia-Avon Needs Games

LakersThe Livonia-Avon lacrosse team is looking for varsity games for the upcoming season. The Lakers were 13-5 last year under coach John Sciera and are expected to return a number of starters.

Contact John Sciera at sciera5@aol.com or Mark Kress AD at Livonia mkress@livoniacsd.org.

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2021 Hall of Fame Dinner

 SPORTSFIVE REPORT:  The Greater Rochester Chapter of USA Lacrosse held their twenty-seventh Hall of Fame dinner Friday night at the RIT Inn and Conference Center in Henrietta.Hall of Fame

With about one hundred and twenty-five in attendance, teammates, friends and family along with many members of the Hall of Fame, gathered to induct four individuals, and one team into the Greater Rochester Lacrosse Hall of Fame Class of 2021. They were welcomed by Chapter President Scott Schwind.

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Next Up for Terry Corcoran: Aquinas

The new Head Coach at Aquinas is the former Head Coach at McQuaid Jesuit. Terry Corcoran has taken over the L'il Irish team from Pat Olbrich who led the team from 2018. 

Terry CorcoranAquinas was 8-7 last season, losing to Haverling 15-5 in the Class D quarterfinals.

Coach Corcoran led the Black Knights for three years with a record of 32-16. He was the GRALL Coach of the Year in both 2018 and 2019. A three-time All-American at Hobart, he helped Hobart win NCAA Championships in 1976 and 1977. He coached at Washington College, Penn, Skidmore and Elizabethtown where he was one of the winningest coaches in Division III history with 273 career wins. He is a member of several Hall Fames include the Rochester Chapter of USA Lacrosse.

Although Aquinas graduated eight seniors in 2021, including leading scorer Joey Sciortino (35g-11a, take-away specialist Alexander Kelsey and goalie Gavin Conlan (57%), Coach Corcoran had lots of key players returning including, assist leader Ryan Firmstone (24g-20a) and Angelo Palumbo (27g-14a) who also won 117 draws (60%).

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Schroeder Needs JV Coach

AquinasWebster Schroeder lacrosse is looking for a new JV Head Coach for the 2022 season.

Those interested should check out the information at https://www.applitrack.com/websterschools/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Athletics%2fActivities

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15 Rule Changes for 2022

The National Federation of State High School Associations in association with USA Lacrosse has announced fifteen rules changes for the 2022 scholastic season. 

NFHS LogoThere are significant changes to the faceoff procedures, which eliminate the "motorcycle grip" and require that players start with two feet on the ground (no kneeling). Faceoff specialists must play the ball first before playing the man, and wing players cannot check faceoff combatants until they are no longer crouching.

There are new rules for the "mercy rule" which now, in the second half, once there is a twelve-goal differential, the clock goes to running time, and continues as running time for the rest of the game, even if the differential is less than twelve goals.
Protective cups or pelvic protection is now required (not recommended) for all players.

For the complete rule changes see the Federation release.

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What Happened to Bath

Haverling RamsIf you are looking for information about Bath, you will need to look a little farther. As the school district created their new brand, they are now asking everyone to use Haverling instead of Bath.

The use of the name honors an early resident farmer, Adam Haverling, who gave up much of his farmland to insure a "truly superior school that would serve all the people of the community".

In order to make the changes, the SportsFive team change over 6,800 records in the various databases.

[Note:] If you find one that we missed, let us know.

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2021 Season Wrap Up

The East United-Eastridge team, which was joined in 2020 was able to play their first games this season. Bishop Kearney scheduled six games but elected to not play in the tournaments at the end of the season. Midlakes joined with Red Jacket and so there remained thirty-five teams in the section. There were 885 players on the final rosters, down almost 250 players from 2019. Penfield carried the largest roster with thirty-eight players and Spencerport had the smallest with fifteen. 

Fairport ChampsThere were four classes for the sectional tournaments. Two of the four top seeded won their championships. Fairport (#1) beat Pittsford (#3) 6-5 in overtime in Class A. In Class B, Thomas (#3) defeated Canandaigua (#1) 6-5 and in Class C, HF-L (#3) defeated Livonia-Avon (#1) 19-10. In Class D, Penn Yan (#1) won their twenty-fifth sectional title with a 16-2 win against Pal-Mac (#3).

The first game of the shortened season was played on April 29th, when Penn Yan defeated Livonia-Avon 15-5. The last regular season game was played when Canandaigua beat the Mustangs 9-3 on June 5th. The 247 regular season games were played and helped to determine the league championships. In Monroe County-D-1 it was Victor (5-0). In MC-2, Thomas (5-0) took the championship and in MC-3 Spencerport (5-0) was on top. Penn Yan (10-0) won the Finger Lakes title and the GRALL was inactive with some teams included in Finger Lakes schedule (but not in championships or awards).

Thomas ChampsAt the end of the year, the Section V Head Coaches selected the post-season award winners including  their All-League players. Then, after reviews of over twenty-two nominations, they selected six USA Lacrosse All-Americans and six All-Academics. Named All-Americans were Sam Bennett (Canandaigua), Logan Callahan (Victor), Cal Lambert (Victor), Ayden Mowry (Penn Yan), Eric Platten (Canandaigua), and Ethan Ruller (Webster Thomas). Named USA Lacrosse All-Academics were Harrison Cross (Pittsford), Max Ettinghausen (McQuaid Jesuit), Tyler Griffin (Penn Yan), Connor Mesh (Spencerport), Jackson Nieman (Canandaigua), and Connor Winters (McQuaid Jesuit). Spencerport Head Coach Bill Buttaro was named Coach of the Year from Section V and the Bob Scott Award winner was Zahmir JonesHF-L Champs from East United-Eastridge.

The Monroe County Division 1 Player of the Year was Logan Callahan. Ethan Ruller was the Division 2 Player of the Year and Connor Mesh was Division 3 Player of the Year. Nominees for the Bob Scott Award were Jackson Nieman (Canandaigua) and Zahmir Jones (East-United-Eastridge).

The Section V and USA Lacrosse Bob Scott Award winner was Zahmir Jones (East-United-Eastridge).

The Monroe County Coaches of the Year were Dan Stone (Victor - MC1), Rob Ruller (Thomas) and JJ Schembri (Penfield) in MC2, and Bill Buttaro (Spencerport) who was also named USA Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

London Booker (East United-Eastridge) was named MC-d3 Man of the Year.

 

Penn Yan ChampsThe Finger Lakes Players of the Year were midfielder Mekhi Mahan (Penn Yan), defenseman Tyler Griffin (Penn Yan), goalie Jack Acker (Wayne) and attackman Ayden Mowry (Penn Yan) who was also selected as the Finger Lakes Player of the Year.

Because of the short season and the many quick decisions that had to be made within days, the GRALL teams did not play league games. The lack of a league of their own, left many players with truly extraordinary performances without recognition or awards. In an effort to bring some small recognition to some of these players, we put together, with the help of some coaches, a "SportsFive Independent All-Star Team".

East United-Eastridge (Class A), Gates Chili (Class B), Batavia (Class C) and Penn Yan (Class D) were awarded the Steve Morgan Sportsmanship Awards by the Genesee Valley Lacrosse Officials Association.

After the regular season, the Section V tournaments were conducted at the higher seeded team home sites. Fairport(Class A), Thomas (Class B), HF-L (Class C) and Penn Yan (Class D) were the Sectional Champions in 2021.

POWs

There were no All-Tournament Teams this year (at the request of Section V) but there were MVPs for each class. Selected for classes A, B, C and D were Jackson Monte (Fairport), Ethan Ruller (Thomas), Colt Green (HF-L) and Max Brodmann (Penn Yan).

The SportsFive Players of the Year were faceoff specialist Logan Callahan (Victor) in offense and Ethan Ruller (Thomas) in defense. The Sportsman of the Year was Will Hand (Penfield).

The final games of the year are usually the New York State Tournament but for the second year in a row, the NYSPHSAA chose not to run the tournaments.

At the end of the season forty-one seniors have made college commitments. They will join the over three hundred players from Section V who are currently playing at all college levels.

 

    Section V Tournament
Section Five Brackets
Mon - Out brackets Wed - Quarters
Fri - C/D Semis Sat - A/B Semis
Mon - Class C Finals Mon - Class D Finals
Tue - Class B Finals Tues - Class A Finals
    Year End Awards
All Americans/Academics Monroe County
Finger Lakes Players of the Year
Team Sportsmanship

Independent All Stars

Players of the Week

 

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