So much of the history of area high school lacrosse, on both the boys and girls sides, has involved West Genesee and Fayetteville-Manlius, both with their own accomplishments and the battles they have waged against each other.
The great rivalry renewed itself again last Thursday night, in two locations, and in each case the Wildcats got the worst of it, the boys falling in a 6-5 decision at Mike Messere Field as the girls lost 13-9 on the Hornets’ home turf.
Having lost in overtime to Jamesville-DeWitt on April 6, WG’s boys knew that it could square things in a hurry by topping F-M, just as it did when it beat them in the 2018 Section III Class A finals.
Right from the outset, though, the Wildcats found itself playing lots of defense. Back-line players Brad James, Max Hahn and Chris Schahczenski were pressed into hard work containing F-M’s patient attack.
For a long while, that worked, especially in a second quarter where, up 2-1 thanks to goals by Anthony Dattellas and Ryan Sheehan, WG shut out the Hornets, maintaining that slim margin going into halftime.
Things began to change, though, when F-M sophomore Logan Wilkinson went into the face-off circle at the start of the third quarter. For the rest of the game, Wilkinson dominated the draws, allowing the Hornets even more time to probe and push.
Goals by Josh Michel and Mike Howe 44 seconds apart put F-M in the lead, and set up a chase where, three different times, WG would tie it, only to have the Hornets answer.
In the last of these instances, Dattellas found the net with 4:18 left, but less than a minute later, Max Cramer put F-M ahead to stay as Wilkinson won another face-off and the Hornets managed to burn off the last three minutes of the clock.
Meanwhile, at F-M, the West Genesee girls were seeking its third consecutive high-profile road victory to go with the ones it earned over CBA and Jamesville-DeWitt the week before.
What’s more, the Wildcats were well-rested, while F-M had endured a tough game against Baldwinsville two nights earlier and lost, 11-10, but as it turned out that defeat gave the Hornets a lot of motivation to not let that happen again.
F-M jumped out 4-1, only to have WG pull within one on goals from Halen Saroney and Matisyn Schult, but that set up the game’s frustrating pattern – every time the Wildcats inched closer, the Hornets would answer.
In particular, this hurt late in the first half when, trailing 5-4, WG saw F-M go on a 4-1 run, eventually spreading the margin to 10-6 by the time they reached halftime.
Early in the second half, the Wildcats almost caught up again. Emily Stratton scored, and back-to-back goals by Elise Mancabelli made it 10-9 with more than 18 minutes to play.
However, F-M called a time-out and, from that point forward, didn’t let WG score again, getting three goals in the next four minutes as Katie Shanley (five goals), Annie Steigerwald (four goals) and Kiera Shanley (three goals) led them most of the night.
Mancabelli and Stratton finished with three goals apiece, with Saroney and Schaut the only other goal-scorers. Between them, Abby Bednarski and Lily Goodsell made eight saves.
WG looked to bounce back Saturday when, after four road games, it finally played at home against Victor (Section V), the game turning into a shootout, but the Wildcats able to earn an 18-12 victory over the Blue Devils.
Most of the margin was built in the first half, WG going up 4-0 early and withstanding plenty of Victor charges, matching goals until it led 10-6 at intermission.
The Blue Devils again pushed in the second half, closing within 12-10 and 13-11, but WG closed strong as Stratton finished with five goals and two assists, Mancabelli adding four goals and one assist.
Schaut and Tara Osterdale both had two goals and two assists, with Mackenzie Winn and Courtney Reynolds also scoring twice and Saroney adding a goal.
Many more games loomed this week, the WG girls playing three times as it goes to Cicero-North Syracuse and finally has a home date Thursday with Rush-Henrietta before going to Canandaigua Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the boys Wildcats would try, on Tuesday, to halt C-NS’s three-game win streak before hosting Syracuse on Thursday and going to Hilton on Saturday.