No player on the West Genesee boys lacrosse team is used to this situation.
The Wildcats begin 2007 as something other than defending state Class A champions. After a four-year reign at the top, the Wildcats were denied five in a row last June on Long Island when West Islip edged past them, 7-6, in the title game.
Ever since, head coach Mike Messere and his players have prepared to take back that crown. It helped to have a large returning contingent that included most of the team's top scorers, plus goalie John Galloway and defender Chris Aubertine.
After a series of scrimmages in the Daniel Hand Jamboree in Connecticut against top Northeast competition on March 24, the Wildcats came back to Central New York, ready to dominate.
East Syracuse-Minoa was the first foe, on the Henninger turf at Sunnycrest Park last Tuesday night. With a second-half offensive eruption, the Wildcats roared past the Spartans, 20-8.
A hint was offered in the second quarter, moments after Matt Cushing's goal tied it 1-1. Collin Donahue answered with his second goal just 17 seconds later, and within a span of 1:04, Donahue, Joe Pompo and Luke Cometti all had found the net.
Still, ESM hung around, and though Donahue had a hat trick by halftime, WG clung to a modest 5-3 advantage.
All modesty went away in the third quarter. In yet another spurt, Pompo and Aaron Printup combined for three goals in just 36 seconds, igniting a 6-0 run that put the game away.
By night's end, Pompo and Donahue each had four goals, with Cometti adding three tallies. Printup had two goals and two assists, and combined with Tim Desko to win most of the face-offs. Brian Donahue also found the net twice, with Desko, Adam Mazzoni, Mike Fetterly and Matt Evanchak earning one goal apiece.
On Thursday night, WG has its home opener against Skaneaeteles.