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West Genesee coach Mike Messere becomes winningest high school lacrosse coach

04/20/2012, 12:00pm EDT
By Mike Waters -

FuZe Note:  For all our players who've run the West Genny drill for years, this is where it came from....

West Genesee lacrosse coach Mike Messere reacted to the Wildcats’ 7-3 win over visiting Oswego on Thursday by immediately looking ahead to the next contest.  “Gotta think about Saturday and Jamesville-DeWitt,’’ said the coaching legend. “Can’t think back.’’

Oh, but this was different.

West Genesee’s win was the 748th of Messere’s illustrious career. He moved past retired Ward Melville/Mt. Sinai coach Joe Cuozzo to become the all-time wins leader in high school lacrosse in both New York state and nationally.  And the win put Messere’s one-game-at-a-time philosophy to the test.

Dozens of Messere’s former players were on hand for Thursday’s game. Current West Genesee captains Tim Barber and Matt Schattner presented Messere with a Native American Great Lakes lacrosse stick to commemorate the achievement.

“It’s great,’’ Barber, whose older brother Ryan now plays at Syracuse University. “I got a text from my brother last night, saying later on down the road you’ll realize how special it is to be part of that team. The alumni are a part of this, too.’’  Fans and family celebrated the occasion with two huge cakes decorated with lacrosse sticks and the number 748.

And Messere seemed content to let the party continue as long as his players; past and present, got the credit.

“Everybody takes a part of it,’’ Messere said. “Everybody feels a part of it. It’s great.’’

Oswego (5-3) almost crashed the Wildcats’ party.

West Genesee (8-0) led just 3-2 at halftime. The Buccaneers stymied West Genesee’s attack with goalie Trent Yule coming up with several saves. West Genesee failed to capitalize on two extra-man opportunities.  Oswego’s Dom Cianfarano tied the game at 3-apiece with his second goal of the game with 9:06 left in the third quarter.

West Genesee scored two straight goals to take a 5-3 lead into the fourth quarter. Barber assisted on both goals and then scored an extra-man goal with 11:14 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 6-3 lead.
Messere said the West Genesee players were well aware of the magnitude of the occasion.

“Oh sure, they knew,’’ Messere said. “It’s a lot of pressure for young kids like that. They handled it well. They finally relaxed.’’

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