Almost as soon as the West Genesee girls lacrosse team assumed the top spot in the state Class A rankings, it nearly got toppled in its the first round of its own Wildcats Women's Lacrosse Tournament Friday night - then did meet defeat a day later.
Carthage, the defending Section III Class C champions, played a superb first half in Friday's opening round and led for a long while before the Wildcats' depth - and its defense - turned things around and produced a 12-10 victory over the Comets.
Having played WG the year before, Carthage knew what to expect and, in University of Connecticut-bound senior Katie Ferris, had, arguably, the best player in Central New York on its roster.
So it was far from surprising that the Wildcats, after scoring first on Bre Hudgins' free-position shot 1:57 into the game, would see that lead vanish quickly. Two goals by Ferris followed a Kailah Kempney tally, and Carthage led 3-1.
Even when the Wildcats rallied to pull in front 5-4, the Comets tied it in less than a minute. Then, as the first half wound down, Katherine DeRonda and Kempney landed goals, the latter coming 4.8 seconds before the break. With goalie Elllyse Richardson contributing eight saves, Carthage had a 7-5 halftime lead.
It was still 8-6 early in the second half when Ferris went to the sidelines for several minutes. That gave WG a chance to regroup on both ends.
From a defensive standpoint, Kara Datellas, Dana Anderson, Liz Powell and Brittany Didio stepped up their play, blocking shots and forcing turnovers. Goalie Rachel Watkins, who played the second half after replacing Sarah Elmer, made several clutch stops.
In all, the Wildcats kept the Comets off the board for more than 19 minutes, which proved more than enough time for WG to move out in front.