The Roots Youth Box Lacrosse League (YBLL) Playoffs opened Monday night in Macedon, NY, with all four divisions holding a pair of semifinal games. In the upper age groups, the gold teams reigned supreme as they won back-to-back games to advance to next week’s Finals.
In the U14 contest night, the gold squad knocked off the second-place black team 11-8 in the semifinal showdown between the 2-2 clubs.
“Come playoff time, all the records are thrown out the door, and those guys came with that attitude, and they were able to step up,” said Roots Box Lacrosse League Founder and Program Director Brad Gillies, who coaches the gold team. “We had a strong effort from all of the guys and came out with the win.”
Chace Cogan (4+3), AJ Quagrello (1+4) and Brodie Joyce (three goals) led the way for the gold team, as it erased a three-goal second-half deficit. Cogan sparked the comeback by scoring four times during a 6-0 run, which put his team up 10-7. Joyce netted two of his three goals during that stretch, including the game-tying tally at 9:35 of the second.
Quagrello served as the facilitator, setting up three straight goals. His effort on the go-ahead goal showed his versatility. After dishing to Cogan, he sealed off the defender, which allowed his teammate to rip a shot to the near post to give the gold team an 8-7 advantage at 11:20.
The black team was powered by the league’s leading scorer, Jaxon Leonard, who scored three times and added two assists. James Holbrough also notched five points on two goals and three assists. Leonard scored three consecutive goals in the first half to give the black squad a 6-2 lead with just under six minutes to play in the first half. The gold team, however, chipped away at the deficit with goals from Joyce and Sammy Maaraba.
The gold team then outscored the black squad 7-2 in the second half and held off the high-scoring black squad behind a 27-save effort from goalie John Buck. Next Monday, the gold team will take on the first-place green team, who defeated the white team, 9-4, in the other semifinal.
In the nightcap, the U16 gold team also punched its ticket to the YBLL Finals as it pulled away with a 5-0 run in the second half to earn a 12-6 win.
The late run allowed the gold team to fight off a second offensive surge from the white team, who pulled within one seven minutes into the second frame. The white club opened the final half with goals from Chase Perryman (1+2) and Nate Michel (2+1), who both finished the game with three-point efforts.
But the gold team regrouped to end the contest with five straight tallies. Santino Giachetti scored on a sidearm rip from the outside at 10:38 to make it 8-6. Jackson Monte then buried two of his team’s last three goals to finish the night with a team-high four goals and one assist.
Monte’s other two goals helped give the gold team a 7-4 lead at the half. The white team had tied the game at three by scoring back-to-back goals midway through the opening frame. What would be the theme of the night, the gold team responded with a flurry of goals. Anthony DeMeo scored his third marker of the half to help his team regain the lead at 4-3. Sandwiched between a pair of Monte goals, Mark Henderson scored a pretty diving goal to stake the gold team to a 6-3 advantage.
YBLL veteran goalie Kyle Meagher earned the win with a 23-save effort to set up a Finals matchup against the green team, who knocked off the No. 1 seed to reach the title game. Gillies, who coaches the U16 gold team, now has three teams in the YBLL Finals.
“I think there’s going to be some one-goal games across all the divisions,” said Gillies, who is the bench boss for the U10 green team. “There have been some close games throughout the year. With the high intensity that will come with the championship, there should be some outstanding games.”
Click here for updates and scores from the U10 and U12 division semifinals – https://khawks.co/33LKyPV.