Manlius Plenty of happiness was seen - and heard - from the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team after it defeated West Genesee 9-7 Tuesday night to complete an undefeated regular season and lock up the top seed in the Section III Class A playoffs.
Yet both sides could leave the game feeling some sense of satisfaction - the Hornets because it again turned back its long-time nemesis and dominated the first half on both ends of the field, the Wildcats because it turned a potential rout into a nail-biter by the final horn.
F-M senior forward Kevin Lux, who had two goals and one assist, said it was his team's goal, at the start of the season, to go 16-0. They started on that quest on April 2 by going to Camillus and beating West Genesee 6-4 amid frigid, wintry conditions.
Exactly six weeks later, the two sides were together again, but the Wildcats were now at full strength, having seen top defender Garrett Waldron and star forward Zach Anderson return from injuries that kept them out most of the season, including the first F-M encounter.
It was Waldron's assignment to cover Lux, and he mostly did a solid job against the Hornets' all-time leading goal scorer. But Lux struck the game's first blow when he beat Waldron one-on-one and scored 2:19 into the first quarter.
Though Sean Niechcial tied it less than a minute later, it would be WG's last goal until early in the second quarter, by which time F-M had seized total command.
The Hornets' defense set a physical tone. Jake Pulver, Josh Pulver, Ben Jeffery and the rest of F-M's back line hit the Wildcats' midfielders and forwards whenever they got near the net, causing frustration and turnovers.
"We like to be aggressive and get on their hands," said Josh Pulver.