Apr 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Once again, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team’s concerns about its offense are well-founded, as it took rare back-to-back defeats to the area’s other primary Class A contenders.
Though it managed to rally past Penfield in its March 30 opener, the Wildcats were less fortunate in last Tuesday’s game against visiting Fayetteville-Manlius, taking a 6-4 loss to the Hornets.
That Penfield win was a costly one, as top defender and senior captain Garrett Waldron tore a meniscus, which will cause him to miss most of the regular season. Another senior, Nick Saeger, replaced him in the starting lineup.
What added to the challenge, for both sides, was snow, wind and temperatures in the 20s that had caused most of the day’s other games, boys and girls alike, to be postponed.
They played on here, though, and WG took advantage of the Hornets’ early jitters, getting goals from Ryan St. Croix, Ted Glesener and Mark Niechcial to take a 3-0 first-quarter lead.
But from that point forward, F-M’s defense would shut the Wildcats down. Anchored by Josh Pulver, Jake Pulver and Ben Jeffery, plus new starting goalie Brian Bedell, the Hornets blanked WG through the entire second quarter, giving it time to climb back into it.
Just as important was the way that F-M midfielder Dan Cahill dominated in the face-off circle. He won all but one of the draws in the first half, and that started to produce results when Jack Wilson and Kevin Lux scored goals less than 90 seconds apart. Clay Arnold’s goal late in the half tied it, 3-3, where they stood at the break.
In the third quarter, Cahill continued to claim the face-offs, no matter which WG player opposed him. In a 55-second span, Clay Arnold took a pass from Kroy Arnold and scored the go-ahead goal, followed by Cahill finding the net that extended F-M’s lead to 5-3.
Though St. Croix cut the lead to 5-4, Cahill, continuing his big day, fed Luke Krizman for an insurance goal 1:04 into the fourth quarter, and from there the Hornets turned back all of the Wildcats’ attempts to get closer again. Bedell finished with nine saves.
In much nicer conditions on Thursday, WG would visit Liverpool, their first encounter since the Warriors ended the Wildcats’ 10-year reign as Section III Class A champions in last year’s overtime title game.
Yet this game would end just like that one did, only without the need to go to overtime, as Liverpool would prevail 7-4 over the Wildcats.
Liverpool’s formula, in this game, was the same one that had bothered the Wildcats so much in the 2011 and 2012 sectional finals – playing a zone defense that forced WG to take outside shots of the low-percentage variety.
As a result, though the Warriors’ attack did not capitalize too much, it still led 3-1 at halftime, and continued to build the margin in the third quarter, making it 5-2.
WG could not catch up, as those outside attempts got turned away by Liverpool’s senior goalie, Dominick Madonna, who stopped 17 of the 21 shots he faced.
Only Glesener, with two goals and one assist, consistently solved the riddle as Brady Hoose and Dan Ginestro had the other goals. Peter Flood paced the Warriors’ attack, earning a three-goal hat trick and adding a pair of assists. Jamie Kuppel offered the support, scoring twice and gaining an assist.
These losses gave a bit of urgency to WG’s encounter Saturday with Loyola, a school visiting from the Chicago area. And it was here, especially in the latter stages, that the attack loosened up and the Wildcats prevailed 12-5.
Still based on defensive work, WG went up 4-2 on Loyola in the first half, but it started to find the net with more regularity during a third-quarter shutout as the margin crept up to 7-2, and it nearly doubled that goal total in the final period.
St. Croix and Glesener both finished with three goals, with St. Croix adding an assist. Tyler Brown got two goals and one assist, while Ginestro and Tom Pritchard each had a goal and two assists. Hoose managed one goal and one assist and John Belko added a goal.
Three more games follow for the Wildcats this week as it would play both of the city teams, Syracuse East and Corcoran, before taking on Section V power Fairport Saturday night.