ROTTERDAM — The Johnstown girls’ lacrosse team faces an uncertain future, but the Lady Bills faced a present against which there was no dispute on Friday.
Bronxville of Section I is ranked No. 1 in New York state in Class D and showed why, sprinting to a 10-0 lead before Johnstown even possessed the ball once on the way to a 19-2 victory in the state regionals at Mohonasen High School.
The game was essentially over early; now the Lady Bills and the rest of Johnstown sports will wait to see whether 2018-19 is the end of the line, in light of a school district budget shortfall that puts a variety of programs, including the championship girls’ lacrosse team, in jeopardy.
No matter what the future holds, the Lady Bills will always have a glorious 16-2 season and Section II title to remember.
“Honestly, no one’s really sure right now,” said sophomore Taryn Ringer, sniffling through a smile. “I just hope we can figure it out, because I don’t want it to end like this, and I don’t want to not be a Lady Bill. I want to play next year and try to defend our championship, and I want to play field hockey, and do skiing. I want to do it all.”
“For a lot of people on our team, it [championship run] was actually a big motivator for them,” senior tri-captain Madison Etherton said. “They wanted to show the Johnstown community what Johnstown sports are made of.”
Johnstown made it to the regional game by beating Holy Names 16-10 in the Section II final, not long after a budget was approved, but not by enough of a majority to override the New York state property tax cap.
A more promising budget was approved Thursday, but still with the prospect of compromises, sacrifices and cuts on the horizon.
“The first game, when we played in the section final, it was all emotion,” Johnstown head coach Denise Benton said. “And this week, we’ve been having more conversations. We’re trying, but there’s nothing definite about what’s going to happen next year. There’s no guarantee. We don’t even know if we’re going to be here next year.
“It’s a budget thing, and something has to go; we’re hoping it isn’t us.”
“School’s been a real weird mood,” Ringer said.
‘Best team we’ve ever had’
The extra motivation from the budget issue wasn’t nearly enough to keep the Lady Bills from being overwhelmed by a team that is used to reaching this level of the postseason and deserves every bit of its No. 1 ranking.
In less than eight minutes, Bronxville (17-3) controlled every faceoff and made it count with a ball in the back of the net, going ahead 10-0 with 17:27 left in the first half, as Anneke Pulkkinen scored four goals.
When Madison Delgado finally scored for Johnstown, the Lady Bills trailed 13-1. Ringer finished with a goal and an assist.
“Yeah, they were unbelievably tough,” Ringer said. “They worked together good. They’re a well-oiled machine. Their transitions, they have two really good drawers and could put the ball wherever they wanted it. We played our hardest, and that’s all that matters.”
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to that team,” Benton said. “They’ve been to the final four the last two years. They’re going for a third. They’re strong, fast … but we knew if we didn’t win the draw, we were going to have a tough time with them. We really tried to switch people up. Their transition game is ridiculously on point, so it hurt is when we didn’t get the draw.
“This is such a proud moment for us. This is the best team we’ve ever had. We were hoping it wouldn’t end here, but everything has to end sometime.”
Johnstown 1 1 — 2
Bronxville 13 6 — 19
Johnstown scoring: Ringer 1-1, Delgado 1-0. Bronxville scoring: Toal 1-0, Finley 0-1, McSherry 0-1, Mullen 0-1, Ircha 1-0, Ruffo 2-0, Bishop 1-1, Tormey 2-0, Jones 1-0, Sondey 2-3, Pulkkinen 4-0, Doukas 2-0.
Goaltenders: Johnstown, Manchester, 5 saves. Bronxville, Mooney, 3; Shinsato 1.
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports