Don't be disappointed if you've never heard of some of our Top 25 Stories of 2012. This is not a list of stories with the most hits, or most views, or most comments. Many times a death, an award, a project in progress or recently completed can affect many, many lives without much fanfare in the press. Many of these stories bring fond memories, give us hope for the future, or inspire greatness, many times with a smile or a tear.

A Special Note: Our top story in 2011 was the life saving efforts of Guy Calandra, Jeremy Roberts, Cyndi Kelder, and others when J-D's Dan Cochran collapsed during tryouts for the Central Upstate Risings Team. There will never be a more important story. Unfortunately in athletics, not all stories have such a great ending. In early February the Upstate lacrosse family suffered another loss with the death of Brighton's Tyler Kopp. A death will never compare to the other stories we share with our JustLacrosse visitors every day, so we will keep Tyler in our thoughts this year along with George Boiardi, John Mack, Jeff Milano-Johnson, and Daniel Valenson.

The 2012 Can-Am Finals began began for the visiting Onondaga Redhawks with an exciting see-saw battle against the Newtown Golden Eagles, a game the 'Hawks eventually won 15-14 in overtime. But the best-of-seven series lasted only three more games as the Onondagan's pulled the sweep of the defending champions for their second Can-Am title in three years.

In June we heard that Canada's Bauer Performance Sports, a long-time leader in Ice Hockey equipment and parent company of Maverik Lacrosse since 2010, was purchasing Liverpool based Cascade Helmets.

Founded by Bill Brine in 1986, Cascade went on to revolutionize head protection in lacrosse before expanding into swift water helmets in 1995, and in 2009, working with Mark Messier to produce the M11 hockey helmet featuring their revolutionary Seven Technology.

It was good to hear from Bauer CEO Kevin Davis in an exclusive interview with IL's John Jiloty that the general plan was to let Cascade continue to do its thing, in Liverpool, without major interference or changes.

Below, Justin Coffman from X-Plode Productions tagged along with Inside Lacrosse as they toured the Cascade facility last January. (notice the weather!)

Two notable streaks came to an end in Section 3 this year.

Immaculate Heart Central defeated Carthage 7-4 on April 19th, ending a string of 69 consecutive Frontier League victories for the Comets. It was the first League defeat for Carthage since they lost to IHC on May 2nd, 2006. In 1998 Carthage had a 54-game League win string snapped by, wait for it . . ., Immaculate Heart Central.

And on May 14th, the Baldwinsville Bees brought Cazenovia's 33-game win streak to an end, 15-10, at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. They string included the 2011 NYS Class C Championship.

We love it when life gives you the opportunity to make lemonade from the lemons it serves. The inaugural Empire State Cup is the latest tournament to come after the demise of the Empire State Games.

Generally following the same format as the ESG's (with one important exception - more on that in a minute), the Empire State Cup brought the best players from six regions of NYS to compete in front of over 100 college coaches at a great facility at Central Square High School.

Now for that exception - players were allowed to tryout for more than one region, which probably had something to do with New York City coming away with Tournament Gold, defeating Hudson Valley, 10-8.

Cudos to the Ventiquattro's for making this massive undertaking such a success in its first year.

The making of 'Crooked Arrows' was #7 in our Top Stories of 2011. The World Premiere of 'Crooked Arrows', held at the Crouse Hinds Theater in Syracuse May 9th, comes in at #21 this year.

The Premiere was a grand event, with all the glitz and spectacle of Hollywood. It was a true celebration, both of lacrosse and the Haudenosaunee culture, with most of the Crooked Arrows being Haudenosaunee and life-long lacrosse players morphed into actors instead of the other way around. That was a gamble made by the movie's creators that proved to be pivitol to its success.

The movie, and even more so the participants, brought great pride to the next generation of Native American laxers at the Onondaga Nation school.

You can see a interview with Neal Powless, Syracuse University Assistant Director of Native Studies, where he discusses the importance of support from the Haudenosaunee community during the making of the film, here.

Certainly nothing that happened here in Upstate as a result of Hurricane Sandy can compare to the utter devestation suffered by the Downstate and TriState areas, but the rain-soaked fields resulting from that storm did affect over 1,000 players, parents, college coaches, and vendors as the Bill Hardy and the folks who put on Tully's Cornefield Classic each year had to give in to Mother Nature for the Varsity portion scheduled for November 3rd.

Teams from all across Upstate NY, as well as some from Massachusetts and New Jersey were affected by the cancelled tournament, though a few teams made arrangements to hold a substitute mini-tourney at the SUNY Cortland campus.

Several programs south of the Mason-Dixon Line got great contributions from former Upstaters in 2012.

Our first stop is at the University of North Carolina where Laura Zimmerman (Westhill), Abbey Friend (Canandaigua), and Kara Cannizzaro (Cazenovia) started all 19 games and combined to score 55% of the Tar Heel's goals and 40% of their assists.

One of the biggest stories in all of lacrosse in 2012 was and continues to be the explosion of the sport in Florida. And we're not just talking at the University of Florida, where assistant coach and Skaneateles native Karen LaGrow (CBA-Syracuse), American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Year Nora Barry (Marcellus), and IWLCA, SynapseLacrosse, and Goalie of the Year Mikey Meagher (Liverpool) played significant roles in defeating Northwestern TWICE in 2012 and taking Syracuse to double-overtime in their National Semi-final.

In Jacksonville, Hobart College and WNY Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Famer Guy Van Arsdale is at the helm, with volunteer assistant and former Army Lax captain Adam Silva. Between the lines, Ari Waffle (F-M) scored eight goals, including the OT winner vs. VMI, as well as an OT goal against Michigan. Team captain defender Jake Ziegler (Webster) was named All-MAAC 1st team and earned a place on the USILA national scholar team.

At the University of Tampa, Rory Whipple (Cortland St., Iroquois Nationals, Clarkson, Hartwick) stepped in to begin the Men's program and with seven players with Upstate NY connections, finishing their first year 11-5 overall and tied for the regular season Deep South Conference title (with Mars Hill) at 7-1.

At Florida Southern, who defeated Tampa in the semi-finals of the Deep South Conference Tournament, Head Coach Marty Ward (Corcoran) gave the Mocs their most successful year in 2011, and took them to the DSC Championship Game in 2012. In the off-season FSC hired Upstaters Rob Williams (Fulton/SUNY Binghamton) and Derrick Rose (West Seneca West/Canisius), and they still have four Upstaters on their roster.

Beginning his second year as head coach of the Rollins Tars, RJ Rossi, a walk-on at Syracuse University in 1988, has SUNY Oswego ('88) grad Chris Lewis as his Head Assistant Coach.

On August 3rd the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee made their recommendations known to the public, rule changes the Playing Rules Oversight Panel would need to approve before they became official. A stall clock, stick stringing regulations, quicker restarts, substitution changes, and revised faceoff rules were the major topics addressed by the recommendations.

It seemed that previous to the announcement most everyone seemed to think some changes were necessary, and once the recommendations were revealed, most everyone had an opinion about them - Coaches, Game Officials, US Lacrosse, and even a Tewaaraton Award recipient.

The rule changes proposed and the discussion that followed made it clear that some explanation about the Committee's thought process was requested, and IL's Zach Babo was able to reach NCAA Rules Committee Chair and Hamilton College Athletic Director Jon Hind by phone, resulting in a Q & A that Inside Lacrosse posted on August 3rd.

After a month or so of much debate, the NCAA Rules Committee reconvened for the reconsideration stage of their rules proposal process. IL's Zach Babo once again spoke to Jon Hind, who gave some insight into the committee's revisions to the original recommendations. In short, the moto-grip was reinstated, the stringing restrictions were tweaked, and the stall clock was kept as it was originally proposed.

Finally, on September 24th, the NCAA published the official rule changes as adopted by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

The next battle? Recruiting rules.

Upstate NY swept the major NJCAA Men's Lacrosse Awards for 2012.

Coach of the Year
Bob Leary, Delhi
Scott D. Livie Memorial Award
Whitesboro Class of 1982
Herkimer CCC Class of 1985
Oneonta State Class of 1987

Offensive Player of the Year
#45 Randy Staats- OCC Attack
- Region 3 player of the year
- National Attackmen of the year
- Led country in points 57 goals 82 assists (missed 4 games with injury)
- Broke Onondaga CC all-time single season scoring record
- Had 3 goals 3 assists in National Championship with a fractured ankle.

Defensive Player of the Year
#5 Gill Conners- OCC Goalie
-Full Scholarship to Quinnipiac
-National Goalie of the year
-Region 3 defensive player of the year
-National All-tournament team
-Region 3 tournament defensive player of the tourney
-3.6 GPA
-Only allowed 30 goals all season (2.6 per game)

In 2011, the New York State Legislature passed the Concussion Management and Awarness Act that laid down strict rules governing the discovery and treatment of possible concussions suffered by scholastic athletes in New York. The Act went into effect July 1, 2012. We believe the concensus at the time was "it's about time!".

There have been hundreds, if not thousands of articles on this subject over the past two years, but we re-run below a primer by Dr. Mike Evans, University of Toronto, that we found in January that is a wonderful illustration for parents and children of what concussions are and why they need immediate and careful treatment.

If you are a parent, or a coach, or a student athlete PLEASE take 5 minutes and 51 seconds out of your day to watch this. On second thought, EVERYONE should whatch this since concussions are not limited to sports.

Click the Act For official guidelines concerning the NYS Concussion Management and Awarness Act from the State Department of Education. You can also read what is required of school districts in order to be in compliance with the Act from the NYSPHSAA here.

Word of his boycott of Warrior Lacrosse products picked up steam quickly throughout the national lacrosse landscape. Jovan Miller, CNY native, lacrosse and football star at CBA-Syracuse, then one of the Syracuse Seven, was offended and alarmed when #NingaPlease began showing up in his Twitter feed, and even more so when he discovered it was part of an advertising campaign by Warrior, a company known for pushing the advertising envelope.

After the story went mainstream, thanks to Charlotte's WCNC, swift responses came from both a Warrior official and Major League Lacrosse commissioner Dave Gross, speaking with Inside Lacrosse. Even US Lacrosse felt the need to issue a Statement on Inclusion in lacrosse.

What was definately the worst part of this whole story were the tweets Jovan was receiving and retweeting while this was happening. Shameful is not strong enough a word to describe them.

Story overview from Matt DaSilva / Lacrosse Magazine

Of the seven player awards handed out Division II men by the United States Intercollegiate Coaching Association for the 2012 season, six went to Upstate high school alums:

Outstanding Player of the Year: Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award
Greg Bensman, Mercyhurst College, West Seneca East HS

Long Pole Midfielder Award
Greg Bensman, Mercyhurst College, West Seneca East HS

Outstanding Attackman: Lt. Col. J.L. (Jack) Turnbull Award
Brian Scheetz, Mercyhurst, Canandaigua Academy

Specialty Player
Jake Ternosky, Limestone College, LaFayette HS

Outstanding Goalie: Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award
Jeff White, LeMoyne College, Canisius HS

Outstanding Defensive Player: William C. Schmeisser Award
Andrew Wagner, Mercyhurst College, Iroquois HS

In early January, and for the second time in three years, Rochester defeated Canada in the Brogden Cup, after winning the right to represent the United States by winning the 2011 Brine National Lacrosse Classic.

Rochester repeated as Brine National Lacrosse Classic champions in 2012, and is in Florida as we go to press defending the Cup against a team from Ontario.

Brogden Cup 2012 Team USA/Rochester Champions Tampa FLA from TradeMarkMedia on Vimeo.

The Onondaga Community College Lazers once again stood at the top of the NJCAA Lacrosse world as both the Men and Women brought National Championships back to Syracuse.

For the women, Morgan Corso (West Genesee) scored to tie the game with just over 2 minutes left, then scored the game-winner with 3 seconds left to upend defending champion Monroe CC. This is the second National Championship for the Lady Lazers, their first coming in 2009 in their very first year of existence. Rochester's Monroe CC took home the crown in 2010 and 2011.

Chuck Wilbur's men claimed their fourth consecutive National Championship by downing Nassau CC 15-6. The win gave the Lazers a 19-0 record for 2012, and was their 52nd straight victory.

Apologies first since we must be leaving many great performances out of this list. Feel free to send them in and we'll add them here.

Canton native Sam Bradman finished his amazing career playing for Jim Berkman (Watertown) at Salisbury by being named Capitol Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second time. He scored 6 goals and added 1 assist to earn the Outstanding Player of the D-III National Championship Game award, and was named National D-III Player of the Year.

Syracuse University' Michele Tumolo was named National Attacker of the Year by the IWLCA. In December Tumolo was named to the US National Training Team.

Liverpool alum and current Florida Gator Mikey Meagher was named D-I Goalie of the Year by the IWLCA,, and Meagher, a consensus First Team All-American, finished the season leading the nation in both save percentage (.537) and goals-against average (7.04), becoming just the third player to do so since the NCAA began tracking statistics in 1996. She was also named to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team in October's Stars and Stripes Tournament.

Katey Ferris (Carthage) is on pace to absolutely shatter all records at UMass. After an amazing freshman year in 2011, her sophomore season started with a 7-goal, 10 point effort against Holy Cross, and ended with UMass single-season records for goals (59), assists (39), and points (98). She was also named Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year.

No foolin', Le Moyne senior Brittany Brigandi (CBA-Syracuse) scored 7 goals as the #1 Dolphins downed #8 Bentley on April 1st (watch them here). Brigandi also set a Le Moyne records for career goals (182), was the NE-10 Player of the Year, and was named D-II Midfielder of the Year.

SUNY Cortland's Lindsay Abbott scored 6 goals twice, had 10 points twice, but it's her career-ending totals that we feature here. Abbott finished as Cortland's career leader with 256 goals, 185 assists and 441 total points. She is ranked third in NCAA Div. III history in points scored. Oh, by the way, she was named SUNYAC Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Staying at Cortland, Mike Tota capped off a terrific career by setting a new school mark for goals in a carrer (174), and is second in career points (247). He was also named to the National Academic All-America First Team, and also earned the NCAA Div. III Men's Lacrosse "Elite 89" Award. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 89 championships across three divisions.

Fredonia's Katie Kleine (Cazenovia) is the SUNYAC Rookie of the Year. She led Fredonia with 82 points on 53 goals and a team high 29 assists. Her points and assists have set a new single-season school record. She has totaled 43 groundballs, 23 draw controls and caused 27 turnovers.

Utica College junior Ben Winkler tied Head Coach Mike Parnell's single-game school record with eight goals vs. Cazenovia March 10th, with his first seven coming in the first half.

It's worth mentioning again - Jacksonville's Ari Waffle scored 8 goals against VMI, the last coming in OT.

Other Conference Players of the Year
Greg Wright - Irondequoit/SUNY Cortland - SUNYAC
Jake Ternowsky - LaFayette/Limestone - Conference Carolinas

Conference Rookies of the Year
Matt Donovan - Cornell - Ivy
Nora Barry - Marcellus/Florida - American Lacrosse Conference
Tim Edwards - Jamesville-DeWitt/Canisius - MAAC

Again, apologies, for leaving out notable career achievements we've undoubtably overlooked. Feel free to send them in and we'll add them here.

Jim Berkman - Watertown/St. Lawrence: On the road to another D-III National Championship, Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman secured his 400th coaching victory at SU in the NCAA semi-final against Cabrini. Berkman also coached basketball at St. Lawrence, and women's soccer at Salisbury.

Richie Moran - Cornell: The Tewaaraton Foundation named former Cornell University men's lacrosse coach Richie Moran as the recipient of the 2012 Spirit of Tewaaraton Award.

"Coach Moran exemplifies the true spirit of the game, both on and off the playing field. His lifelong dedication to his players extends beyond the field and beyond their years at Cornell. He played an instrumental role in the early years of the Tewaaraton Award and is a worthy selection as the sixth recipient of the Spirit of Tewaaraton Award,” said Jeff Harvey, chairman of The Tewaaraton Foundation.

Moran has been inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Manhasset, Long Island Hall of Fame, the Upstate New York Hall of Fame and the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.

Pat Genovese - William Smith College: The only head coach William Smith has ever known, Pat Genovese retired after 39 seasons, posting a 385-158-1 (.709) record including 29 winning seasons, 16 NCAA tournament bids, 11 trips to the national semifinals, and five NCAA Championship game appearances. She has coached 94 All-Americans, including seven National Players of the Year at their position.

Dave Urick - West Seneca/Cortland St./Hobart: Born and raised in Western NY, Dave Urick was captain of the football and lacrosse teams at Cortland St. After serving as assistant lacrosse coach at Hobart for 8 years, Urick moved up to the top spot and won 10 consecutive National Championships with an overall record of 122-30. He then moved to Georgetown to coach for the next 23 seasons, winning 223 of 322 games and finishing with 21 of 23 winning seasons.

Urick is a member of four Halls of Fame - the Potomac Chapter of the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame, National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the Hobart College Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Upstate New York Lacrosse Foundation Chapter Hall of Fame.

The eyes of the lacrosse world will be focused on Syracuse and Buffalo during September of 2015. The Haudenosaunee Nation has been named as host for the 2015 Federation of International Lacrosse World Indoor Championships, with Pool Play and quarterfinals to be played at the Onondaga Nation Arena, and semifinals and finals being held at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

Opening ceremonies will be held on Friday, September 18th at Onondaga Nation Arena. Round robin games will take place through Tuesday, September 22nd, with the Quarterfinals held on Wednesday, September 23rd at Onondaga Nation Arena. The Semifinals, Gold, Bronze, 5th and 7th Place Games will be held at First Niagara Center on September 25th and 26th. The schedule is based on eight teams and is subject to change.

A priority list is already being generated for people wanting to purchase tickets for the games. The Onondaga Nation Arena holds 3,000 fans, while the First Niagara Center holds 19,000.

The Syracuse University Women completed their finest season to date, defeating #1 Florida in double-OT in the National semi-final after being down 7 goals at one point, only to lose in the National Championship Game to perrenial power Northwestern, using a slow, methodical game plan.

It shook the lacrosse world, and brought great pride to Native Americans everywhere. The U-19 Iroquois Nationals defeated Team USA 15-13 at the World Championships in Turku, Finland, becoming the first Iroquois team ever to defeat the US in International field lacrosse. The Haudenosaunee team members announced in June were Frank Brown, Hank Delisle, Orris Edwards, Seth Oakes, Ky Tarbell, Anthony Patterson, Johnny Powless, Zed Williams, Quinn Powless, Randy Staats, Brendan Bomberry, Jake Bomberry, Wenster Green, Zach Miller, Lyle Thompson, Chris George, Kyle Isaacs, Jesse Jimerson, Tyler LaFonte, Korin Sunday, Oakley Thomas, Trey Adams, Warren Hill, Vaughn Harris, Dalston Day, and Tyson Bomberry.

The victory was voted Upset of the Year by voters for the 2012 Laxie awards, and the team was recognized by the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Our Top 25 series looks to the recent past, but this story more than any other gets us thinking about the future. Specifically, the 2014 World Championships.

For context, we'll begin at the end: Shoreham-Wading River wins the NYS Class C Championship.

So, now we've established that CBA-Syracuse was playing against a pretty good team in their NYS Class C semi-final June 8th at SUNY Cortland. Down 14-8 on the scoreboard, and down two players on the field as a result of an accumulation of yellow cards for over-aggressive play, Marisa Romano scored three consecutive goals to make it 14-11.

CBA then lost two more players to yellow cards. Now down 4 players, playing 3 attackers against seven defenders plus the goalie, Romano scored two more goals, bringing CBA to within one. She got her chance with 28 seconds remaining, a free position attempt saved by S-WR goalie Lauren Daly.

The final score, 14-13.

She finished that game with 7 goals. The Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer checked in with Marisa as she took shots at an empty net at CBA after two days of reflection. It's an interesting look at an amazing athlete.

Our Honorable Mention comeback entry was also a Class C semi-final, but on the boy's side and during the Section 3 Playoffs. State-ranked #1 Cazenovia went down 10-5 to LaFayette with 7:12 left in the game, but managed to score the next 6 goals, including the OT winner to move on to the finals. It was an amazing game to see.

He sits at #5 on the NYS Career Wins list. Bob Streeten was ready to get the ball rolling on his 32nd year as boy's varsity head coach in Corning. But two years after the Corning East and West teams were combined, discontent with the program, and a certain coaching styles, came to the surface after losing to Binghamton in the Section 4 playoffs.

But just a week later Streeten told the Corning Leader he would remove his name from consideration for the Corning coaching position for the 2012-2013 school year. “I certainly could have stayed and done the whole interview process, but I would much rather be the controller of my destiny,” Streeten said. “I think that this is probably the fairest to the program and to the kids."

Bob Streeten remains active in lacrosse, however, helping young men prepare for the riggers of the college recruiting process, specifically with the Gaffer Lacrosse U-15 travel team, a team that went 3-0 in their first tourney in November.

Another high school coach made the headlines in 2012. West Genesee head coach Mike Messere became the winningest high school coach in the nation in April with a 7-3 win over visiting Oswego. Most thought it was inevitable, but with only a 3-2 lead at the half, it looked like it might be delayed.

Dozens of former players and a large crowd in the stands watch as Coach Messere's current players gained control of the game, slowly building a lead to secure the win, 7-3, for Coach's 748th win.

Along with the wins, Coach Messere, Wildcat coach for 36 years, has 15 NYS Championships, 29 Section 3 titles, has produced over 50 scholastic All-Americans, and has over 15 former players coaching at the college level.

West Genesee coach parlays no-nonsense approach into national record for lacrosse wins

About West Genesse Boys Lacrosse

Heading into the 2011 NCAA Tournament Rob Pannell was the frontrunner for the Tewaaraton Award, and was named the USILA D-I Player of the Year just a week before the Tewaaraton Awards Banquet. But a great run by Steele Stanwick and the Virginia Caviliers seemed to be the reason most given as why the balance tipped in Stanwick's favor.

Full Disclosure: With three of the five finalists (Joel White - Cortland, John Galloway - West Genesee, and Jeremy Boltus - Baldwinsville) from Section 3, plus Cornell's Rob Pannell, having the Award go to Stanwick was hard to take.

So, heading into 2012 just about everyone was excited to compare and contrast the seasons of Stanwick and Pannell. It would have made for dozens of articles, highlight clips, and staff debates on the national lacrosse websites. But in a game against Army in early March, after having already scored once and added 5 assists, Rob Pannell collapsed with a lower leg injury that turned out to be a broken foot . . . and a broken dream of the 2012 Tewaaraton for the senior.

The was hope for several weeks that he might be able to return, but that did not happen.

What DID happen was a long process of applying to the Ivy League for a fifth season, finally being approved, and beginning play again by participating at Lake Placid. We're looking forward to including Rob Pannell in the Top Stories of 2013.

The heartbreak Upstate felt for Rob Pannell at the loss of his 2012 season and what looked to be his last chance for the Tewaaraton Award was offset, in part, by the actual winner of the 2012 Tewaaraton. Colgate's Peter Baum moved from being an Honorable Mention AA at attack in 2011, to lead the nation in goals (64) and points (93), setting Colgate and Patriot League records in both categories, and being named the 2012 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. His 93 points were the most in NCAA Division I play since 2008, when Tewaaraton Award finalist Zack Greer recorded 95.

Though not playing during the last week in May, Baum, the Portland, Oregon, native was named the Division I Outstanding Player of the Year by the USILA, and then the Tewaaraton Award.

By car, less than 70 miles separates the campuses of Cornell and Colgate. It sure looks like that stretch of road leads to the 2013 Tewaaraton Award winner.