West Genesee attacker Will Northrop (30) goes near the turf to protect the ball from Rome Free Academy defender Brian Stapleton in Thursday night's game. Northrop scored three times in the Wildcats’ 16-3 victory over the Black Knights.
An ordinary season for the West Genesee boys lacrosse team involves dispatching most, if not all, of its opposition in an efficient manner, claiming a Section III Class A championship and, in most cases, threatening for state honors.
All of those titles might still be earned by the 2014 edition of the Wildcats, but as the regular season enters its homestretch, WG hardly resembles its usual juggernaut.
Early defeats to Penfield (close) and Fairport (not close) hurt, but so did an April 26 loss to Loyola, from Chicago, where it led 5-4 with less than two minutes left, only to squander that lead and take a 6-5 defeat, an unusual thing for any Mike Messere-coached team to do.
Injuries and illness have added to the uncertainty. David Procopio missed the loss at Fairport. Nick Mellen, arguably WG’s top defender, sat out most of the Loyola game, while Matt Milne, Jake McCarthy and Brad Howes have also missed game time.
This weighed on the Wildcats as it ventured to Central Square last Tuesday night. Normally an opponent WG would dismiss with ease, the Red Hawks proved quite pesky on his occasion, forcing the visitors to go all 48 minutes to survive and gain an 8-6 victory.
WG maintained control throughout the first half and steadily built a 6-2 lead. Instead of putting the game away, though, the Wildcats watched as Central Square cut the deficit to 7-5 before the fourth quarter and had chances to get even closer.
Procopio and Will Northrop each scored twice, leading a modest WG attack. Ryan McDonald, Derek Farrell, Tyler Brown and Nick Cunningham had the other goals, with Mike Geremia adding two assists and Mike Fletcher one assist. Matt Koziol finished with eight saves as Kyle Bird and Nick Meyers led Central Square with two goals apiece.