To extend its long reign as Section III Class A champions that dates back to 2002, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team will have to prolong the misery of its biggest rival, Fayetteville-Manlius -- whose last title came 16 long years ago.
The Wildcats and Hornets will meet Friday night at 8 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium. WG won both regular-season meetings, a 10-2 romp at Central Square on April 11, and a 9-8 escape in Camillus on May 14.
Reaching the championship game required some heavy lifting for the Wildcats in Wednesday's Class A semifinal against no. 4 seed Liverpool at Bragman Stadium.
The Warriors created a small scare, but WG still took over in the second half and put together a 9-4 victory.
All looked to be in good running order, from winning face-offs to finishing off scoring chances, when WG blazed out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter.
However, in the second period Liverpool fought back, blanking the Wildcats as Tyler Kamide scored twice. By the time they reached the break, WG only had a 4-3 edge.
As usual, whenever it got confronted, the Wildcats would answer. Sparked on both ends by Fazio, who anchored the defense and made a full-field charge to put in his first goal of the season, WG shut out Liverpool in the third period and regained control. Steve Mahle would stop 13 of the 17 shots he faced.
Jim Marks, with three goals and one assist, led a modest attack where Matt McCabe scored twice. John Glesener, Ike Hopper and Conor Regin joined Fazio in the one-goal column as Jordan Rogers and Tyler Brown earned assists.
F-M got this far by gaining revenge for a May 19 defeat to no. 2 seed Corcoran, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit and using six unanswered goals in the third quarter to take charge and beat the Cougars 15-6.
Matt Taylor and Mike Poppleton each had four goals, with Taylor adding four assists. F-M's defense did a tremendous job on Corcoran star James Cathers, holding him to just one goal and one assist.