WG girls battle past Skaneatles, 11-7

In the most technical of terms, the West Genesee girls lacrosse team's 2007 season got started last Tuesday night, when the Wildcats put a 19-3 beating on Rush-Henrietta.

But it really started on May 31, 2006 -- the day the Wildcats, undefeated and atop the state rankings, was victimized by a late Fayetteville-Manlius comeback and could not snag the Section III Class A title.

Ever since then, WG, knowing it was bringing all but a handful of players back, have pointed toward this season -- and finishing the job.

First, though, the team had to get started. And an encounter last Thursday with two-time defending state Class C champion Skaneateles would offer a proper examination.

Overcoming a sluggish start and playing its best defense down the stretch, WG would get past the Lakers in an 11-7 decision.

If the Wildcats had any illusion to the challenge of this contest, it was shattered when, in the game' s first five minutes, Libby Johnson and Jenna Lotkowictz both had goals to give Skaneateles a 2-0 advantage.

Gradually, the home team began to assert itself on both ends. Four different players -- Sarah Kuonen, Chrissie Hanley, Bekah Elmer and Kiersten Tupper -- scored to pull WG in front, and after Kuonen's second tally, the Wildcats had a 5-2 lead than lingered into halftime.

Proving its own toughness and heart, Skaneateles never let WG get too far away in the second half, but it never got closer than two goals (5-3, early in the second half) thanks to a tough, physical Wildcat defense.

Mainly, WG focused on Laker senior Stephanie Rice, an explosive scorer. Every time she had the ball, a defender would blanket her, offering the occasional push to keep Rice from running free. All told, Rice was held to one goal, more than making up for the fact that Johnson found the net four times.

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