Wind-propelled ice pellets bounced off Brenna Connolly's bloodied left hand as she held it up for inspection.
This is what the cold will do to lacrosse players -- blue legs under white Wantagh skirts, cloudy, labored breaths, and bloody knuckles with every misplaced thwack.
But this is also what a scorching hot start will do to lacrosse players -- a big smile, a satisfied trip home. Who cares about a little blood, anyway?
"We played great as a team," Connolly said after the host Warriors' 16-9 non-league win over West Babylon Monday. "We have a bunch of things to work on, but it's early in the season and I think we look great for the upcoming games."
West Babylon went ahead 1-0 on Samantha Geiersbach's crease roll a minute into the game, but Wantagh notched the next five goals, capped by Colleen Lovett's muscled-in tally from the front of the cage, her third attempt after back-to-back errant shots.
Jessica Geiersbach's score with 15:46 left in the half drew West Babylon within 5-2. Although the Warriors dominated possession in the final nine minutes, Wantagh was kept off the board until Ali Hooker's goal, assisted by Stefani Wenz, with 1:07 left in the half.
"I think a lot of that scoreless streak had to do with our shots just not being accurate," Lovett said. "In the second half we calmed down. There were also a pretty equal number of goals across the board. It wasn't selfish. Everyone passed to each other."
Lovett, who had one assist, was one of four to get the hat trick for Wantagh, along with Catie Ingrilli, Connolly and Erin Pugh. Connolly and Pugh each had an assist.
"We just have to fine-tune things, but it was nice because we were able to get everyone in the game," Wantagh coach Bobbi Colavita said. "When they think about the game we play and we focus, everything goes the way we want it to go."
Wantagh led by 10 goals with 7:05 to play -- a lead partially whittled away by a flurry of Samantha Geiersbach scores, at 4:26, 0:54, and 0:36. She finished with four and Samantha Apuzzo added three.
But much like the freezing temperatures and the temporary hurts, those last-second scores were hardly going to get Wantagh down. Even the frustrations of the first half wouldn't damper the day.
"A lot of that was early-season jitters," Lovett said. "It's our first game and it's snowing. The hands. The hands get really cold. It's a lot harder when it gets cold out, but you play through it."
And reap the hard-fought rewards.