Apr 01, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
May 24, 2013 remains a vivid memory for the West Genesee girls lacrosse team, and because of what took place that day, anything short of a championship this season will prove a major disappointment.
Back on that unusually cold, windy late spring afternoon at Christian Brothers Academy’s Alibrandi Stadium 10 months ago, the Wildcats’ six-year reign as Section III Class A champions was abruptly halted in a 7-6 defeat to Cicero-North Syracuse.
Ever since, the 20 returning players, including 17 seniors, have waited for a new season and a chance to, in their own minds, restore normalcy in Camillus – which means going after sectional and state titles.
WG won each of its four scrimmages played last weekend in Wilton, Conn., against opponents from across the region, including reigning state Class A champion Farmingdale.
Then the Wildcats returned home and opened its season against Baldwinsville, the team that beat C-NS for the sectional title a year ago, and put together an emphatic performance, rolling past the Bees 16-3.
Unlike WG, B’ville had to replace a host of top players from 2013. Worse yet, injuries kept two of its returning stars, Kennedy Frink and Taylor Gebhardt, out of the lineup.
But even if Frink and Gebhardt were out there, it may not have kept WG from controlling matters, starting in the draw circle, where Riley Donahue grabbed eight of the first 10 draws, which allowed her side to control possession through most of the first half.
Before the game was six minutes old, the Wildcats had a 6-1 lead. Jackie Pardee scored in the opening minute and, after B’ville’s Stephanie Roberts answered, WG rattled off five straight goals, three of them less than a minute apart as Donahue, Marissa Hudgins, Hannah Elmer and Grace Osterdale each took turns finding the net.
To its credit, B’ville slowed things down and blanked WG for more than 13 minutes, yet only closed the gap to 6-2. And when Hudgins scored twice in the last 22 seconds of the half, including one off a great feed from Donahue that was converted right at the horn, the Wildcats led 9-2.
Little that the Bees tried would work in the face of WG’s relentless all-around effort. Cailyn Negus, Taylor Collins, Sinead Guy and Mackenzie Baker each got second-half goals, while the defense, anchored by Liz Bova, Mia DiBello, Madison Pritchard and Courtney Shoults, shut down most of B’ville’s charges.
Elmer, with three goals and three assists, paced the attack as Hudgins also had a three-goal hat trick. Baker, Donahue and Osterdale each had two goals. Goalies Katherine Widrick and Jazmin Bello combined for six saves.
Another key rivalry was renewed Thursday night when WG visited Fayetteville-Manlius, but the result was the same as the Wildcats eased past the Hornets 15-6.
Pressure on both ends helped create a string of scoring opportunities, and WG took advantage of most of them, steadily gaining an 8-2 lead by halftime. From there, the game was on more even terms, yet the Wildcats added to its margin.
Donahue, with four goals, paced the attack. Madisyn Kittel stepped up with her first varsity three-goal hat trick, adding an assist, while Elmer, Baker and Jackie Pardee had two goals apiece. Collins and Rachel Delany had the other goals as Hudgins and Negus picked up assists.
WG went to the Rochester suburbs and played at Pittsford on Saturday night, making it three wins in a row – though it was, by far, the toughest test of the Wildcats’ season as it had to work all 50 minutes to beat the Panthers 8-6.
Unlike the quick starts with B’ville and F-M, WG had to be patient in a low-scoring first half. In fact, it was tied, 1-1, before Elmer nabbed consecutive goals in the last minutes of the half, with Donahue adding a goal before Pittsford struck seconds before halftime to make it 4-2.
All through the second half, the Wildcats kept the Panthers at bay, partly due to a pair of goals from Negus, plus tallies from Donahue and Negus, but also by seeing goalie Katherine Widrick make some clutch stops as she finished with six saves and helped WG improve to 3-0.