At least for the time being, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team still enjoys full command of its long-time rivalry with Fayetteville-Manlius.
After a few scheduling shifts, the Wildcats finally got together with the Hornets last Saturday at Central Square's turf. And by relying on a tried-and-true winning formula, WG handled it with ease, prevailing by a score of 10-2.
A full week had passed since the Wildcats had lost 7-3 at home to Philadelphia-area power LaSalle. In the interim, WG had undergone plenty of hard practice to shore up what had gone wrong against the Explorers, plus gone east on Thursday to whip Utica Proctor 22-0.
F-M came into this game 2-0, but had hardly been tested by Union-Endicott or Rome Free Acacdemy. It didn't help, either, that the Hornets had to move the game from its muddy home field to a neutral site far to the north.
So, four days after it should have taken place, the Wildcats and the Hornets got together. And while WG's offense remained shaky at times, the defense remained fierce and dominant.
Led by Jack Conboy, Joe Fazio and Joe Fletcher, the Wildcats' back line used man-to-man pressure to harass F-M into early turnovers. What's more, it forced the Hornets to back off a bit, a big mistake against a team of WG's caliber.
On the offensive side, a 2-1 game broke open when, in a span of just 36 seconds, the Wildcats nailed down three goals, all from Jim Marks.
Lighting the spark, Marks converted just four seconds before the first quarter ended. Feeding off that, WG won the two ensuing faceoffs at the start of the second period, and Marks took fine passes and scored on both those possessions.
Though the Wildcats would cool off and score just once until the fourth quarter, the defense shut out F-M during this same time frame, with Steve Mahle working his way to 10 saves on the afternoon.
With a late surge, John Glesener matched Marks with three goals, as Ike Hopper helped them out with three assists to go with his pair of tallies. Ryan McConnell had the other two goals as Dylan Donahue joined McConnell in the assist column.
WG and F-M will meet again May 14 in Camillus. In the meantime, the Wildcats test itself this week in games at Liverpool on Tuesday and against Baldwinsville on Saturday.