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2013 Boys D-II Championship Goes to Waterford

Waterford RavensOn a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon under a spotty sky with B-52’s and B-18’s flying overhead, the Syracuse Titans and the Waterford Ravens took the field to battle it out for D-II supremacy, and the game lived up to the hype.  Both teams played underdog roles this season, upsetting top-seeded teams to advance to the championship and the mentality apparently carried over to this final match-up in a game that saw emotional play, big hard hits, and grind-it-out offensive possessions.  When the final whistle blew, the Ravens rushed the field to celebrate their first championship in seven years, having won in Waterford fashion, 6-4.  
“They battled us from the opening face-off,” said Raven Head Coach Dave Brattin, “but when it came down to crunch time, we were able to hold on and finish them off.”
Waterford got on the board early when Nat Holtman dodged down the alley and was able to sneak a shot past the Titan keeper for the score.  Syracuse then had a long possession, but couldn’t find a way to get it inside for a good look at a shot.  The Ravens were eventually able to wrench the ball away from the Titan O and start a long, minute-devouring possession of their own that ended when middie Sam Schroeder caught and finished off a nice feed from Luke Pyper.  Syracuse won the next face-off and again possessed for minutes on end, but just couldn’t find a way to penetrate a rock-solid Waterford defense, and the quarter ended with the Ravens up 2-0.
An early offsides penalty from Syracuse to start the second quarter gave the Ravens a golden opportunity to increase their lead, but Titan keeper Brayden Stone turned away several Raven shots, including an acrobatic diving save when he was out of the cage on a failed clear.  Another Titan penalty gave the ball back to Waterford again, and the Ravens eventually scored when Pyper swept down to the wing and unleashed a nice rip to score again.  Syracuse snagged the next face-off, but was once again was forced to grind-it-out without success against the Raven D.  Waterford middie Kevin Ekins then executed a nifty question-mark dodge and sent a slow bouncer that the goalie lost and snuck its way into the back of the net.  Down 4-0, the Titans finally woke up and started playing their brand of physical, fast lacrosse.  Syracuse middie Jordan Stark caught the ball on the crease, muscled his way through his defender, and finished to send the Titans into the half on a high note, down 4-1.
The Titans picked up right where they left off to start the third quarter, with Stark netting another goal inside after a nice cut.  The Syracuse brand of play continued with several yard-sales and physical, punishing play.  Titan middie Connor Meyer capitalized on the next Syracuse possession, sending high heat from the top of the box to further close the gap between the two teams, and then middie Logan Chapman swept across and buried a jumpshot bouncer to tie things up, 4-4.  After some more physical play and big hits, Syracuse found itself man-down and this time the Ravens were able to capitalize with attack Matthew West creeping from behind the cage to put the Ravens up by one to end the quarter, 5-4.
The fourth quarter started with both keepers playing very well, causing the clock to move without a change in the score.  Waterford again slowed things down and started to grind out possessions with minutes ticking away.  The Titans eventually regained possession with about four minutes left and Stark got a great look at the cage to tie it up, but the shot pinged off the pipe and the Ravens took it the other way to score on a Nat Holman catch-n-shoot to give the Ravens some breathing room.  On the next face-off with just over two minutes left, the Titans pushed it forward, but Waterford caught up from behind and yard-saled the Titan middie, taking the ball and working it around the run out the clock and secure a taste of the glory, winning 6-4.
“It’s so exciting.  We’ve worked so hard.  From day one, every time we threw them a challenge, they accepted it” stated Coach Brattin, “it was such an incredible season and taxing at times…I’m very proud of my guys, these other teams worked equally as hard as we did, and battled us, and we just happened to have the mettle to finish.”
Both teams should be commended for their hard work all season; Syracuse appeared in their first state championship game and Waterford closes out the season with their first Div. II state championship.

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