Back on April 29, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team dealt with something new -- a defeat to Auburn, something it had not experienced in 32 years and 48 previous meetings.
Remembering how bad that felt, and witnessing the Maroons celebrate on the Wildcats' home turf in Camillus, was all the motivation required Thursday night at Coyne Field -- and it didn't hurt that the Section III Class A championship was on the line.
True to form, WG turned supreme motivation into superior performance, relying on its full complement of stars to cast the Maroons aside in a 15-3 romp that produced the team's seventh consecutive sectional crown.
"The loss (to Auburn) put us in the dumps," said attacker Jordan Rogers. "But we got back at them, and it's awesome."
When the Maroons pulled off that 5-4 shocker, the entire first attack line -- Rogers, Ryan Barber and Mike Fetterly -- sat out due to injury or illness, stripping the team of its most potent scoring threats.
Gradually, all of them -- first Rogers, then Fetterly, and finally Barber -- returned to the field in May. This restored WG to its previous top form and took the pressure off players like Luke Cometti and Tim Besio, who had carried the Wildcats through their rough early patches.
All these factors, said senior defender Ben Waldron, made his team hungry again.
"We had a chip on our shoulders," said Waldron. "We knew that, once we got our players back, our offense would start clicking."
And so it did, through the end of the regular season and the playoffs, and again in the title game against Auburn, where the missing players from April showed up and ruined Auburn's championship dreams. Combined, Rogers, Fetterly and Barber would account for eight goals and six assists.