Despite a pair of lopsided wins to open the season, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team did not have a full idea of how good it was, at least when compared with the other major Class A contenders.
But then the Hornets got matched up against the biggest name of all -- and ended up quite unhappy.
F-M took its first shot at reigning state Class A champion West Genesee last Saturday at Central Square and missed the target, falling to the Wildcats 10-2.
As the schedule originally had it, the Hornets would confront WG at home last Tuesday, just after the Wildcats had dropped a 7-3 decision at home to Philadelphia-area power LaSalle on April 4.
Yet all the rain and snow that fell early in the month rendered F-M's home field unplayable. And even when they wanted to play last Tuesday at Central Square, it snowed too much, leading to a four-day postponement.
So by the time the Hornets and Wildcats finally took the field, F-M's early-season momentum, built from easy wins over Union-Endicott and Rome Free Academy, had dissipated. Meanwhile, WG had regrouped, bashing Utica Proctor 22-0 on Thursday.
They played through a tight opening period, and the Hornets only trailed 2-1 as time wound down in that period when the Wildcats struck with one of its trademark spurts.
Jim Marks was responsible for all of it, scoring four seconds before the first quarter ended, then converting twice more in the first 32 seconds of the next period. From that flurry, F-M never recovered.
On the offensive side, the Hornets could not get comfortable, hesitating in the face of WG's famous man-to-man defense. And even when they did take shots, F-M rarely found the target, as Wildcat goalie Steve Mahle made 10 saves.
Matt Taylor got a man-up goal late in the first period, but the Hornets did not find the net again until Mike O'Neil converted in the fourth quarter. Stefan Basile, playing most of the game in goal, had 12 saves.
F-M would get a chance to recover Tuesday at Cicero-North Syracuse, another prime test before the Hornets play Saturday at Utica Proctor.