By its own all-out efforts, the Westhill boys lacrosse team gained all kinds of confidence going into next week Section III Class C playoffs.
In last Thursday's regular-season finale against Skaneateles, the Warriors used tough defense and timely scoring to knock off the Lakers 7-6.
Westhill, coming off a 7-4 loss to Christian Brothers Academy earlier in the week, caught Skaneateles in the midst of a late-season hot streak and faced the real possibility of back-to-back defeats against possible playoff foes.
Knowing this, the Warriors took great pains establishing a modest tempo in the early going and forcing the Lakers into it. That worked all game long.
In each of the first three periods, the two sides played to a 2-2 draw. Every time the Lakers did break out and score, Westhill would answer.
And in the fourth quarter, when Westhill inched out in front, its defense put up a stout wall and protected that slim margin. D.J. Eckert made 12 saves, twice the number of Skaneateles counterpart Josh Kimm.
Tris Nicola, with three goals, and Willie Fischer, with two goals and one assist, carried the Warriors much of the way. Dylan Tripodi and Dan Eipp each had one goal and one assist, with Neal Pucrcell adding two assists. Sal Valenti and Tim Burgess also got assists.
If the Warriors' 7-4 loss to CBA indicated anything, it was that Westhill was not far away from the elite ranks.
Still, Westhill found itself unable to overcome periodic offensive troubles on this occasion. It managed just two goals against CBA in the first three periods, with long droughts that allowed the visitor to be patient as it gained a 5-2 lead.
Burgess did get two goals, with Neal Purcell and Dan Eipp adding tallies, but that was it. Eckert picked up 15 saves. For the victorious Brothers, Tom Trasolini had three goals and Ben Ashenburg added one goal and two assists.