May 14, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Everyone on the West Genesee boys lacrosse team was in uniform last Tuesday night when it took on long-time rival Fayetteville-Manlius at Coyne Field.
And that was a big deal.
Ever since Ryan Barber broke his foot in the team’s March 29 season-opening win against Downingtown East, the Wildcats have operated at less than full strength.
Barber went out, as did Mike Fetterly when he contracted mononucleosis. Tim Besio, Ike Hopper and Jordan Rogers all missed time due to various injuries, and WG’s offense suffered as it took losses to Baldwinsville, Saint Albans and Auburn.
Gradually, Besio, Hopper and Rogers returned. Then Fetterly came back May 9 and got three assists in a win over Rome Free Academy.
Finally, Barber, a week ahead of schedule, showed up in uniform at Coyne to face F-M — and whole again, the Wildcats took apart the Hornets in all phases of the game in an 11-5 victory.
“The whole team is feeling better,” said head coach Mike Messere. “It (having Barber back) is a psychological lift.”
Fetterly, Barber and Rogers still are not starting, but the Wildcats used that fact to its advantage to lure F-M into a defensive trap.
As he has done for much of this spring, Luke Cometti carried WG’s offense in the first quarter, the senior midfielder making terrific one-on-one moves to produce a three-goal hat trick as the Wildcats fought its way to a 3-2 lead.
Then Fetterly and Barber went out there. Though it was painful on the hard Coyne Astroturf, Barber played large parts of the second and fourth quarters, and his mere presence seemed to electrify the rest of the team.
Fetterly would make an impact, especially at the tail end of the first half. With the score 6-4, he parked himself on the doorstep and, taking passes from Besio and Cometti, hit on two goals just 15 seconds apart to make it 8-4, and break the game open.
Meanwhile, the vaunted Wildcat defense made up for some initial penetrations and restored the man-to-man pressure and well-timed double teams (especially on Anthony Krizman and Matt Taylor) that led to a remarkable stretch of play.
From the time Ron Caputo scored with 6:23 left in the first half to the game’s meaningless final seconds, F-M did not score — a drought of more than 30 minutes. If Ben Waldron, Joe Fazio and Jack Conboy were not shutting down the lanes or forcing turnovers, goalie Steve Mahle was busy making 14 saves.
During this time, Fetterly added a third goal and John Glesener, who did a superb job on face-offs, supplied his own three-goal hat trick to add more balance to the attack. As a final touch, Barber assisted on Hopper’s goal in the fourth quarter, adding to single tallies already recorded by Waldron and Hopper.
Just as WG was getting healthy, two other contenders the Wildcats would face down the stretch were dealing with devastating personnel losses.
First, Baldwinsville saw league-leading scorer Billy Ward go out for the season with a broken collarbone. Then, Cicero-North Syracuse had senior captain Stephen Ianzito tear his right ACL, ending his season.
Back home Thursday night, WG looks for payback against Ward-less Baldwinsville for its April 14 defeat at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.