No one on the West Genesee boys lacrosse team had an illusion about how difficult Tuesday night's game at Auburn would be.
True, the Wildcats had won five in a row, all by lopsided margins, shaking off its 2-2 start. But the Maroons were working on its own six-game win streak and, more importantly, would be playing on its home grass at Holland Stadium, a stark contrast to the fast turf WG is used to.
Combine that with two first-rate defenses and conditions closer to winter than spring, and it made for a low-scoring drama in doubt until the final seconds - where the Wildcats held on for a 6-5 victory.
Even though it controlled the ball for much of the first quarter, WG needed 6:32 before it could get on the board on Matt Schattner's goal, assisted by brother Casey.
In the face of the Maroons' physical defense, the Wildcats stayed patient, and didn't mind that John Glesener drew all the attention.
Corey Herrington, with a bit more room to operate, assisted on each of WG's other three goals in the the first half - two of them by Dylan Donahue, the other by Tim Barber.
Meanwhile, WG's back line of Joe Fletcher, Pat Brown and John Sabert shut off all of Auburn's options, not allowing a goal until Matt Festa hit late in the half.
The Wildcats had every chance to get clear in the third quarter, as Donahue hit his third goal off a Glesener feed to expand the lead to 5-1.
But with goalie Adam Perri making 13 saves, the Maroons stayed within sight, and finally put together a brief spurt as Andrew Chadderdon scored twice in a span of 1:48 to cut WG's margin in half entering the fourth quarter.
Even after Herrington scored with 3:58 left to make it 6-3, the door remained ajar - and Auburn would make one more run as the home crowd came to life in the homestretch.