Camillus As reigning state Class A champions and atop the state rankings, the West Genesee girls lacrosse team is guaranteed to get every opponent's best shot.
And when state no. 10-ranked Pittsford showed up in Camillus Wednesday night, it was no different, the Wildcats trailing for much of the night before a second-half surge led to an 8-7 victory over the Panthers.
This was WG's second close call against a Section V opponent in less than a week, having fought past Canandaigua 10-8 just four days earlier, with an 11-4 road victory at Liverpool in between.
Right from the start, it was apparent that Pittsford possessed the speed and passing skills to make the Wildcats work hard in all facets of the game to keep up with them.
WG fell behind 2-0 thanks to goals by Panthers teammates Tori Wehner and Kelsie Schindler, as Schindler would go on to score three times.
Alia Hildebrandt finallly got the Wildcats on the board midway through the first half. Abi Cullinan answered for Pittsford a minute later, but after that, the Panthers did not score again for more than 21 minutes.
With the offense struggling, WG's defense had to take over. Marissa Hudgins anchored the back line, and with help from Abby Connor, Courtney Shoults and Dina Cavallaro, they anticipated all of Pittsford's attack tendencies and forced turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled with getting shots past Panthers goalie Hayley Peets. Then, after Pittsford took a 4-3 lead on Wehrer's second goal, Hannah Elmer answered seconds later, and Alia Hildebrandt's goal with 14:22 left gave WG its first lead of the night.
Staying patient and winning most of the draws, the Wildcats appeared to clinch matters when Taylor Collins scored with 6:44 to play, followed by goals from Vicki Graveline and Grace Osterdale that made it 8-4 with less than two minutes left.