High school boys lacrosse: Watertown opens sectionals with 12-8 victory over Auburn

May 24—WATERTOWN — Patrick Duah and his Watertown boys lacrosse teammates delivered a complete effort in the team's sectional opener and home finale Wednesday night.

Duah, supported by solid defensive play, made 12 saves and the Cyclones generated balanced scoring to defeat Auburn, 12-8, in a Section 3 Class B quarterfinal on a chilly evening.

Nico Spaziani scored four goals and Jack Clough supplied three to spark third-seeded Watertown (13-3) and will advance to a semifinal for the third consecutive season.

"It feels really good winning a home sectional game, we did it last year, and it always feels good to do it in front of the home crowd," Duah said. "Especially when you know it's going to be your last game here as a senior."

"It feels great," Watertown coach Brian Navarra said. "It's tough earning respect from some of the Syracuse schools, but I think throughout the last several years we're starting to do that little by little. And we're happy with this win and we're out to prove something."

The Cyclones will move on to face second-seeded Fayetteville-Manlius at 5 p.m. Friday at Liverpool High School.

"We're all happy, but the job's not finished yet," Watertown senior Mick O'Donnell said.

"We're very excited," Duah said. "We lost to F-M in the semis, so hopefully we can get the job done this time."

Duah, a senior, made seven of his saves in the first half to support a defense that allowed only three goals through the first two quarters.

"Our defense played really well, our offense picked up, we all played well all around," Duah said.

Offensively, Watertown generated a 4-1 surge in the second quarter to take command, taking a 6-3 lead into halftime.

Clough scored the go-ahead tally with a man-up goal with 6:10 left in the half and Jack Adams, Spaziani and Jack Rathbun each followed with a goal, with Rathbun supplying a shorthanded goal with 1:43 left to complete the run.

"It was a rough start, they held onto the ball for a while," O'Donnell said of Auburn. "We couldn't get the ball and once we got the ball, we just knew that if we kept getting it, it was over."

Kade Loftus contributed a man-up goal in the third quarter for the Cyclones and Spaziani scored back-to-back goals to close the period for a 9-5 lead.

Adams totaled a goal and two assists for the Cyclones and O'Donnell recorded four assists.

Navarra once again praised both Duah and his team's defense, led by senior defender Joe Girardi.

"Pat again was phenomenal," Navarra said. "I mean all of his saves were really good saves and they have some really good shooters. ... And our defense, you have to give them a ton of credit and tonight I thought they were phenomenal as well. And besides Joe Girardi, you've got Noah Fargo and Devin Connell and Owen VanBrocklin — and Bennett Pistner. We've got five guys right there that are playing their tails off and really proving themselves."

"I feel really confident, I mean our defense is playing really well," Spaziani said. "Pat Duah, he's stepping up and making big saves and playing really good games, and our offense is playing good, too."

Rocco Villano and Charlie Cunningham each scored a pair of goals for sixth-seeded Auburn (8-9) and Luke Mizro contributed a goal and three assists.

Watertown, ranked No. 15 in the state in Class B, will now look to break through in the semifinal after coming up short in the same round the past two seasons. Last year, the Cyclones were defeated by Fayetteville-Manlius, 15-3.

"We're out to prove that we're a good program and a good team," Navarra said. "We're excited for that win for our program, but we're looking to try and get some revenge against F-M. ... These boys are fired up and ready to give it their all."

Duah and his teammates are looking forward to in what they consider a long-awaited rematch with the Hornets, ranked No. 16 in the state.

"Again, we're very excited, it's like a revenge game," Duah said. "They're a good team and it will be a good matchup and we're very excited to play them again."

"It's the furthest we've made it in our 13 years of coaching here," Navarra said of again reaching the semifinals. "And it's 'which group is going to help us take that next step?' And we're confident that this group can do it and there's no holding back, we're going to go for it."