Camillus In terms of opening statements, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team could not have made a louder one to kick off its 50th season of varsity play.
Battling through what is sure to be the season's most difficult playing conditions, the Hornets went to Camillus Tuesday afternoon and overcame a sluggish start to record a 6-4 victory over long-time nemesis West Genesee.
Each of the last two years, F-M had strong regular-season efforts, only to get knocked out in the Section III Class A semifinals, both times in one-sided defeats to Liverpool.
Even with those recent struggles against Liverpool, the Hornets' larger, and longer-lasting rivalry, has always been with West Genesee, winners of 17 of the last 18 sectional finals, often at F-M's expense.
In 2013, F-M would play the Wildcats twice, at the beginning of the regular season and once more on May 14, right before the playoffs, so it would get a good idea of where it stood, and what still needed to be worked on.
WG had already played once, a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over Penfield on March 30. But that came at a steep price as starting defender Garrett Waldron tore a meniscus, which will cause him to miss most of the regular season.
What added to the challenge, for both sides, was snow, wind and temperatures in the 20s that had caused most of the day's other games, boys and girls alike, to be postponed.
They played on here, though, and WG took advantage of the Hornets' early jitters, getting goals from Ryan St. Croix, Ted Glesener and Mark Niechcial to take a 3-0 first-quarter lead.
But from that point forward, F-M's defense would shut the Wildcats down. Anchored by Josh Pulver, Jake Pulver and Ben Jeffery, plus new starting goalie Brian Bedell, the Hornets blanked WG through the entire second quarter, giving it time to climb back into it.