Well into April, the Baldwinsville boys lacrosse team still had not taken the field in a game that counted, and was itching to start.
So it made sense that, when the Bees debuted last Saturday against Essex Junction, a visiting team from Vermont, it started fast, the difference in a 17-11 victory.
A season ago, B'ville went 12-8, yet did make it to the Section III Class A semifinals before falling to Auburn. The Bees have just one sectional title in the program's history, earned in 1992.
Looking to end that 17-year title drought, B'ville would lean heavily on Billy Ward, the high-scoring junior forward whose injuries had much to do with the team's struggles for large portions of the 2008 campaign.
Ward like the other Bees, had to wait as foul weather postponed both the April 5 home opener against Cicero-North Syracuse and a match at Liverpool three days later.
When it finally cleared out, B'ville lit into Essex (who had lost 17-4 to Liverpool the day before) with six unanswered goals in the first period, taking a lead it would not relinquish, despite some struggles on defense in the game's middle stages.
Keeping up a blistering pace, Ward didn't stop until he had seven goals and four assists, a hint of what might lie ahead. Evan States also had a big showing, with five goals and one assist.
Behind them, Tim Hayden and Colin Kaval each got two goals and one assist, with Cookie Caloia also scoring. Kyle Styler had two assists and Niko Manning added a single assist.
B'ville will be heavily favored Tuesday, against Utica Proctor, before going to Camillus Saturday to face defending state Class A champion West Genesee at 1 p.m.