West Genesee boys lacrosse captains Matt Schattner (8) and Tim Barber (20) present head coach Mike Messere with a traditional Native American lacrosse stick in honor of Messere breaking the all-time national record for wins by a high school lacrosse coach. The Wildcats' 8-5 victory over Oswego gave Messere 748 career wins, a number noted on the scoreboard at Wildcat Stadium.
continued “It’s fantastic,” he said. “They were all really pulling for us. They’re excited about the whole thing. Again, everybody has always felt a big part of whatever other teams do and so forth. It’s not just these guys. It’s not just me. It’s all the guys.”
Early on, it appeared that the postgame celebration might not take place at all. WG was uncharacteristically sloppy in the first half.
True, the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead halfway through the first quarter, but Oswego clawed its way back with some help from the hosts.
On an extra man opportunity, the Wildcats ripped four shots at the cage. One was deflected high, another missed the cage wide and the other two were stuffed by Buccaneers goalie Trent Yule. Then, just before the end of the quarter, Jon Kaplewicz scored from 15 yards out to knot the game at 2-2.
WG's defense blanked Oswego in the second period, but the magnitude of the game seemed to get to the Wildcats attack, according to Messere.
“It’s a lot of pressure for young kids like that,” he said. “You guys come in here with all these cameras and this stuff expecting it to happen, like it’s got to happen.”
The stoic Messere, however, never seemed worried on the sidelines. Even when Oswego senior Dom Cianfarano tied the game at 3-3 with early in the third quarter, he simply looked on with his arms folded at his chest as he had for most of the game. He said he knew there was a lot of time left and told his team to step it up.
The Wildcats did just that, once more adhering to the advice of their record-setting mentor.
“To ease up the zone, we had to get some shots from the outside,” Schattner said. “Coach Messere’s the one that directed that.”