End of an era

By CRAIG HARVEY

OBSERVER Sports Editor

ROCHESTER – As the final seconds ticked off the clock at St. John Fisher on Saturday in the Class C Far West Regionals, Silver Creek’s Zeddie Williams walked off the field and was greeted by coach Bill Brennan.

Brennan gave the nation’s all-time leading scorer a hug and words of encouragement as Williams played his final game as a Black Knight following an 11-7 defeat at the hands of Penn Yan.

With that, Williams finished his prolific career with 444 goals and 729 career points, both national marks.

“I will remember every journey and every year,” Williams said after the game. “Every year I was proud to be part of Silver Creek. I guess it’s time for a new beginning.”

It was the fourth straight time the two teams met on the Far West stage with the Mustangs winning three of the four, but things certainly looked good for the Black Knights early on.

In the first quarter, after Penn Yan’s Andrew Perl opened the scoring, Silver Creek’s Frank Wolf, Williams and Brennan White scored consecutive goals in a five-minute span to take a 3-1 advantage. Perl and Williams traded goals as the Black Knights led 4-2 after the first quarter.

The second quarter was a game of possession. After Williams netted his third goal of the half with 11:12 left, it proved to be the team’s last shot on net the rest of the way, though they won the time of possession battle.

The Mustangs cut the lead, 5-4 by halftime with two transition goals, tallied by Ryan Maciejewski and Bradley Voigt.

Penn Yan could have taken the lead had it not been for the fine goaltending of seventh-grader Chase Scanlan, who made three strong saves on one Penn Yan possession.

With a short bench, the heat took its toll on the Black Knights in the second half as they scored just two goals in the third quarter and were shut out the rest of the way.

“It kind of got away from us,” Williams said. “Their goalie is good and we settled for outside shots. We are too good for that. We should have kept doing what we were doing in the first quarter.”

Brennan agreed.

“We got tired and it set in and it showed at the end. All we had was one guy coming off the bench. We made a lot of shots from outside. We took some poor percentage shots from the outside. He made a lot of good saves. I think they forced us to take some bad shots and we took some bad shots. We tried to do too much as an individual and not enough as a team.”

The Mustangs tied the score at the 8:47 mark of the third quarter as Maciejewski found the back of the net. It was the game’s first tie since 1-1 at 8:43 of the first quarter. Less than two minutes later, Penn Yan’s Sean Emerson scored to give the Section 5 school a 6-5 advantage and it was downhill for Silver Creek the rest of the way.

“The biggest adjustment was we picked up ground balls,” Penn Yan coach Brian Hobart said. “They were getting all of them in the first half.”

“I think we started out and were sold on the zone,” Brennan said of the first half. “They were going to beat us on the outside. It was an aggressive zone. We know how they attack. We decided to pack it in, and it worked well. We just ran out of gas.”

And with that, Williams is moving on in his lacrosse career and will attend the University of Virginia next season on a full NCAA Division I scholarship.

“I just love having him,” Brennan said. “I was blessed to have him for five years. He will have a great career. I told him I was very proud of him. It was an honor to coach him and I love him.”

Williams won 19 of 21 faceoffs in the game and scored four goals. Kaine Kettle, Wolf and White each added a goal for the Black Knights.

“The season was great,” Brennan concluded. “A lot of teams didn’t expect us to beat Akron. Now we came here and played Penn Yan, so mission accomplished. I’m just proud of the boys for giving me 100 percent all season.”