Unfamiliar occurrences have marked the West Genesee boys lacrosse team's 2010 odyssey, from two early defeats to a goalie switch to a no. 2 seed when the Section III Class A playoffs got started.
Yet the outcome proved quite familiar - a ninth consecutive sectional championship, achieved through very familiar methods.
The Wildcats' 8-3 victory over Corcoran in Friday night's Class A final at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium included three items common to most of Mike Messere's teams through the years, that doomed the Cougars' quest for a first-ever sectional title.
At the top of that list was defense - a whole lot of defense. In a regular-season split with Corcoran, WG had allowed 21 goals, and knew quite well that containing James Cathers and the rest of the Cougars' attack would not be easy this time, either.
The key to it, said senior captain Joe Fletcher, was that the lessons assistant coach Bob Deegan preached all season, especially when it came to communication with each other, began to register.
"We finally listened," Fletcher said. "We had to play team defense."
They listened well. Fletcher attached himself to Cathers, holding him to a single goal in the first quarter and nothing more, while fellow back-line players Pat Brown and Dylan Lyons closed up the rest of the lanes. Sophomore Scott Sidnam was solid in the net, too, as Corcoran went more than 35 minutes of playing time without scoring, a drought that stretched into the fourth quarter.
"That was a team effort," Messere said. "Joe couldn't do it alone. The rest of the kids had to make their slides so that we could be effective."
Also important to the Wildcats was ball possession. Even when its offense struggled in the first half and shots flew wide, it kept control of the ball - and away from Corcoran. It also won a majority of the ground balls.