With a whole lot of new faces on the field, the Marcellus girls lacrosse team plunged right into tough opposition as the 2010 season began.
The Mustangs hosted defending Class B champion Watertown last Tuesday night and were close for a half, only to see it get away during a 10-6 loss to the Cyclones.
In all, six starters left from last year's team, including Kelsey Madden, Kate Gosson, Denise Johns, Erin Rohe and Stephanie O'Rourke. But a potent attack, led by Leea Sinay, Nora Barry, Meghan Connors, Erin Walterand Kelly Welch, is back, giving Marcellus a reason to think it can challenge for top Class C honors again.
The Mustangs and Watertown played on even terms in the early going, the Cyclones only having a 5-4 lead at halftime. After the break, though, the Cyclones increased its margin, with Taylor Hughes (four goals), Maureen Keggins (two goals, two assists) and Sophia Capone (two goals, one assist) leading the charge.
Meanwhile, Marcellus saw Welch score three times and Barry find the net twice, with Ellen Brooks earning the other goal. Connors, Walter and Catherine Nolan earned assists, but quite often the Mustangs met frustration as Watertown goalie Maggie McAuliffe stopped 13 of the 19 shots she faced.
It didn't get any easier against defending Class C champion Carthage on Thursday night. Though the Mustangs started well, it still could not prevent a Comet comeback, which led to a 13-9 defeat.
By far, the biggest concern for Marcellus was trying to contain Carthage attacker Katie Ferris, a senior headed to Syracuse University next year.
It worked for a while, as the Mustangs won a majority of the draws, then turned them into goals as Sinay and Barry helped produce a 7-4 halftime lead.
But after the break, Ferris took over, constantly charging through the Mustangs' defense and firing shots past Renee Poullott. All told, Ferris would earn nine goals, matching what Marcellus produced the entire night as Sinay (five goals) and Barry (four goals) did all the offensive work.
Trying to shake off this 0-2 start, the Mustangs would visit Jordan-Elbridge Wednesday before hosting Cazenovia on Saturday.