Westhill’s boys lacrosse team had a terrific chance to increase its profile if it could knock off Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.
And while the Warriors couldn’t quite pull it off, the fact that it only took a 9-7 defeat to the defending Section III Class A champion namesakes only proved that Westhill’s ambitions are not far-fetched.
In fact, Westhill gained a 2-0 lead midway early in the first quarter when Ryan Suddaby scored two goals nine seconds apart. Shaking that off, Liverpool would promptly blank Westhill over the next 17-plus minutes and move ahead for good with six straight goals.
Ryan Zimmerman did close the gap to 6-3 by halftime, but that, plus the entire second half, proved a tease for Westhill fans as it threatened Liverpool, but could not consistently solve the visitors’ trademark zone defense.
A key moment came early in the fourth quarter. Luke Longo’s goal, less than a minute into the period, cut Westhill’s deficit to 7-5, but when it did not control the ensuing face-off, it drew a penalty, and Jamie Kuppel scored a man up.
That, along with Kuppel’s feed of Harry Sardella for a goal with 3:02 left, proved to be the winning goals, since Richie Easterly and Zimmerman both frantically got goals in the waning minutes.
In the lead-up to that game, Westhill toyed with Fulton last Wednesday afternoon, pitching a first-half shutout and routing the Red Raiders 15-2.
The Warriors won a majority of the face-offs and patiently worked the ball around, finding open spots and converting with regularity throughout the first two periods on its way to a 7-0 edge.
Though the shutout ended in the third quarter, Westhill kept adding to the margin and closed strong, outscoring Fulton 6-1 in the final period.
Longo, with three goals and two assists, and Ryan Suddaby, with four goals, led the attack. Easterly managed two goals and one assist, while Jack Centore had a goal and three assists.