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Girls lacrosse Wildcats take down Skaneatleles

Reigning state champs dominate first half in 14-5 win

— Do not, for one second, worry about the West Genesee girls lacrosse team.

Sure, many of the key players that helped the Wildcats attain a sixth state Class A championship a season ago are gone, but what remains is a strong system - and players, familiar and new, ready to implement that system to maximum effect.

WG's season debut on Thursday night demonstrated just how well the new and old parts fit together, as it took apart long-time Class C power Skaneateles in a 14-5 victory at Wildcat Stadium.

Not even a minute had passed before WG was in the lead, courtesy of a goal by Grace Osterdale. And more would follow, in large part because the Wildcats' 6-foot senior midifelder, Vicki Graveline, dominated at the draw circle, constantly feeding the ball to her teammates to set up the attack.

Midway through the first half, the Wildcats really took over. In a span of less than 90 seconds, Graveline, Hannah Elmer and Alia Hildebrandt all scored, and though Skaneateles head coach Bridget Marquardt took a time-out, WG was already getting away.

It was 7-0 by halftime, and not just because of the attack. WG's defense, anchored by returning starter Marissa Hudgins and featuring Abby Connor, Courtney Shoults and Dina Cavallaro, followed the Skaneateles forwards everywhere they went, never allowing any free space.

They could do so because, whenever the Lakers did get a rare shot, returning senior goalie Andrea Francisco turned it away, getting most of her seven saves in the first half.

Riley Donahue and Taylor Collins added goals late in the half to extend WG's lead to 7-0, where it stood at halftime. And it was 9-0, thanks to goals by Hildebrandt and Michaela Ciciarelli, before Skaneateles finally got on the board with Emma Ford's tally 5:10 into the second half.

Though Ford and Alana Navaroli both would score twice in the second half, the Wildcats would cruise to the win as Graveline and Hildebrandt led with three goals apiece. Elmer had two goals and two assists, with Osterdale contributing two goals and one assist. Cailyn Negus also had a goal.

WG is back in action on Tuesday, at Cicero-North Syracuse, and returns home next Thursday to meet Liverpool in a rematch of last year's Section III Class A final.

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