In going 9-10 a season ago and making it to the post-season, the Jordan-Elbridge boys lacrosse team showed plenty of hints that it was ready to challenge the established Section III Class C powers like Skaneateles, CBA and LaFayette.
But a first-round playoff exit at South Jefferson also left the Eagles hungry to do better -- and so far in 2008, that improvement has been quite visible.
As part of a successful opening week, the Eagles went to Marcellus Wednesday night and showed plenty of poise and confidence in beating the Mustangs 13-10.
Fortified by a 14-3, season-opening victory over Whitney Point two nights earlier, J-E took charge in the first half at Marcellus.
After going ahead 4-2, J-E's defense took over, blanking the Mustangs in the second quarter as back-line seniors Dustin Duger and Cameron Hemler anchored a resistance that remained strong even after Tom Guadagnolo moved on to join his brother, Kyle, at Syracuse University.
At the half, the Eagles led 7-2, only to see Marcellus make a serious charge in the third period to close within two, 9-7. Absobring that blow, J-E struck back in a fast-paced fourth quarter and stayed out in front.
Joey Poppe, back for his senior season after a successful winter in goal for the Solvay ice hockey team, led the way with five goals and two assists.
Behind him, Brian Murray, Josh Livingston and Kory Smart each scored twice. Livingston added two assists. Brian Belcher and Abe Patrick earned single tallies as Jeff Guadagnolo earned two assists.
Ken Bush, who gives J-E a proven presence in goal, finished with 12 saves. Marcellus, in defeat, had Sean Connors get four goals and one assist, while D.J. Merriman gained three goals and two assists.
Prior to this, J-E had opened in fine style at Whitney Point, racing out to an 11-0 halftime lead before head coach Rick Young gave the reserves a chance to play in the last two periods.
Smart had four goals and three assists before going to the sidelines, as Poppe and Livingston each got three goals and Poppe added two assists. Murray had two goals, with Belcher contributing one goal and four assists and Guadagnolo putting up one goal and one assist.