Camillus All of the tough contests the West Genesee girls lacrosse team has gone through - and won - has certainly steeled them for what will come at the end of this spring.
At the very least, the Wildcats put the lessons from those games to good use Friday night in its lone regular-season encounter with Baldwinsville, relying on Hannah Elmer's passing and more stellar defense to beat the Bees 8-4.
So much of the Wildcats' run of six state Class A championships has come at the expense of B'ville, who has not won a sectional title since its run to the state crown in 2000.
As usual, the Bees arrived at this game determined to give WG battle, having won five in a row since a season-opening defeat to Farmingdale on April 2.
To counter B'ville's aggressive style, the Wildcats made sure it kept the ball in the opponent's end throughout the first half, a task made easier by seizing a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes on goals by Elmer and Jamie Martin.
Vicki Graveline won a majority of the draws, leading to long possessions, and WG's defense, led by Marissa Hudgins, Abby Connor, Courtney Shoults and Dina Cavallaro, quickly forced turnovers any time the Bees got close to the net.
Thus, the Wildcats could go more than 12 minutes without a goal and not suffer one bit. Elmer fed Cailyn Negus and Taylor Collins for goals late in the half, doubling the margin to 4-0, and WG nearly got a first-half shutout.
But B'ville didn't surrender. Marjorie Dehm scored on a fast break four seconds before halftime, cutting WG's lead to 4-1, and after Collins found the net early in the second half, Sarah Klaben and Kennedy Frink put in goals that made it 5-3 with more than 18 minutes to play.