Westhill's boys lacrosse team enters 2011 still gloating over its nice post-season run of a year ago, with the intention to do more.
After going 9-7 in the 2010 regular season, the Warriors, as a no. 7 seed in the Class C playoffs, bashed Onondaga in the first round, then shocked no. 2 seed Cazenovia 9-6 in the quarterfinals before falling to LaFayette in the semifinals.
Seven seniors are gone from that squad, including the likes of Tris Nicola, Alex Lesins, Dylan Tripodi and John Dillon. But goalie Mark McAnaney is back, as are John Zimmerman, Owen Nicola, Connor Byrne and Austin Webb, so there's reason to think Westhill could get better.
At least the opening act proved a success, as the Warriors went to Fulton Wednesday and took charge in the middle stages of an 18-6 romp of the Red Raiders.
Already up 3-1, Westhill used a seven-goal spurt in the second period to put Fulton away. A strong second half followed, too, as Zimmerman, with four goals and three assists, led a potent attack.
Webb and Nicola both had three-goal hat tricks of their own. Byrne and Richie Easterly produced two goals apiece, while Jack Centore, Justin Selbach, Ryan Suddaby and Luke Longo also took turns landing goals. McAnaney got an assist as Chris Lawton, with four saves, saw more time in the net.
At the same time, Marcellus, who plays Westhill next week, had its opener against Clinton - and also prevailed, overcoming a rough start to beat that other group of Warriors 14-5.
This was the debut for new Mustangs head coach Leo McInerney, who took over after previous coach Jim Morrissey left to take a position in Connecticut.
Having gone 8-9 a season ago, Macellus may have felt some concern as Clinton took an early 3-2 lead. But just like Westhill, the Mustangs scored seven times in the second period to take charge.
R.J. Linder found the net five times as Tyler Tomeny added a three-goal hat trick. Both were fed by Luke and Tom McNaney, who both finished with four assists to go with single tallies. Connor Wheeler added two goals and one assist, with Carey Mielnicki and Kevin Hutchings also converting.