Now the West Genesee and Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse teams stand on even terms in 2014, both of them knowing that it can’t stay that way and one of them – perhaps – will end up on top of the Section III Class A ranks.
That was the Wildcats’ takeaway from last Monday night’s 9-6 defeat to the Hornets, a team it beat 10-6 back on April 3, but which had improved on all fronts in the six weeks since that initial encounter.
Both teams entered the game at close to full strength, with WG’s Nick Mellen making his first start in weeks on the defensive side, honed in on containing F-M’s leading offensive threat, Jack Wilson.
All of the aspects of F-M's growth were on display in this game, and it started at the center X, where in that first meeting the Wildcats largely controlled the face-offs and kept the Hornets from possession time.
Back then, the Hornets’ face-off man, Pat Quinlan, was just returning to the lacrosse field after a successful wrestling campaign in the winter that included state and national tournament appearances. Now, though, Quinlan had honed his face-off skills and was turning into a critical weapon for F-M.
Quinlan got the ball enough times to help the Hornets stay on even terms with WG, even when the shots weren't finding the net. In fact, neither side gained any lead larger than one goal during the first three quarters.
Twice in the opening period, Ryan McDonald scored for the Wildcats, but each time John Cote answered, keeping the game at 2-2. Both teams went in front in the second quarter, but soon surrendered those advantages, and it was 4-4 at halftime, Luke Krizman and Colton Oliver scoring for F-M to answer tallies from David Procopio and Tyler Brown.