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Girls Wildcats open, bash Skaneateles

Yes, it's a new season, with a lot of new faces in the starting lineup and a new sense of hunger to maintain what has been built over the past two years.

But at least upon initial inspection, it's the same old West Genesee girls lacrosse team, piling up goals and victories and daring anyone to catch them.

The Wildcats unleashed its latest edition on Skaneateles last Thursday night, ignoring the chilly, wet conditions in Camillus to easily beat the Lakers 15-5 and run its win streak to 49 games.

Of course, 48 of those wins came over the course of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when WG blasted most everyone in its path on its way to back-to-back state Class A championships.

Going into 2009, head coach Bob Elmer faced an enormous challenge -- at least on the surface -- to keep the dynasty going.

No less than 13 seniors had graduated. And players like Kelly Fucillo, Lauren Welch, Ariel Kramer, Stephanie Datellas, Nicole Perkins, Kiersten Tupper, Amanda Corso and Lauren Corso were vital parts to that two-year string of perfection.

Still, three starters from the '08 final -- midfielders Maria DiFato and Kellyn Savage, plus defender Laura Luchessi -- are back, with stars like Bre Hudgins, Morgan Corso and Karlyn Tupper ready to step in and Nikki Greco taking over in goal.

As an added bonus, two soccer standouts -- Chelsea Kuss and Jessica Shanley -- returned to the sport after an absence of some years, bringing extra speed and athleticism to a lineup that already had plenty of both. Kuss and Shanley both start on defense.

WG would gets its opening test against Skaneateles, the reigning Section III Class C champs who reached last year's state finals before falling to Shoreham-Wading River.

Like the Wildcats, the Lakers had many new starters in its lineup. More importantly, Skaneateles had been unable to practice on the kind of all-weather turf WG works on each day. It would take time for the Lakers to adjust -- and the Wildcats pounced.

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