Everyone in the Skaneateles girls lacrosse program knows what kind of challenge the 2009 season will provide.
Each of the last four years, the Lakers have reached the state Class C championship game, winning it all in 2005 and 2006, but losing the '07 and '08 finals to Shoreham-Wading River, from Long Island.
To get back to SUNY-Cortland in mid-June this time around, head coach Bridget Marquardt will have to rely on a lot of new faces. Eight starters, including Kelsey Nangle, Jenna Lotkowictz, Shannon Tierney, Emma Hueber, Amy Riehlman, Brittany LaVaute, Margaret Shanley and Laura Trenti, graduated from last year's team.
Goalie Heather Mullen, along with top offensive players Maddy Morrissey, Katherine Pille and Lindsay Angelillo, highlight the returning cast, but they didn't get any chance to ease into a new campaign.
Following weeks of practice on parking lots, the Lakers finally got to step on a turf field last Thursday night -- for a season opener against two-time defending state Class A champion West Genesee.
And in the time it took Skaneateles to adjust to this surrounding, WG took charge and never let the Lakers get close in a 15-5 defeat.
Winning most of the draws, WG had a 4-0 lead in the game's first four minutes, twice producing goals 15 or fewer seconds apart.
It would get to 7-0 before Pille broke up the shutout, scoring nearly 17 minutes into the first half. Despite that, plus a goal by Carly Davis, Skaneateles trailed 9-2 at halftime.
WG made sure in the second half that the Lakers didn't get any closer, despite Angelillo landing a pair of goals and Erin Callahan also scoring.
On the Wildcats' side, Maria DiFato and Karlyn Tupper both finished with four goals, with DiFato and Kellyn Savage earning four assists apiece and Sarah Brown adding three goals.
Skaneateles meets Marcellus on Monday, renewing a rivalry that only built up when the Lakers rallied to beat the Mustangs 12-11 in last year's Section III Class C final.