Caz girls lacrosse makes playoff history

Prior to last week's magical ride, the Cazenovia girls lacrosse team had never won a Section III playoff game in any round.

But the Lakers took care of that deficiency in a big way, advancing deep into the Class C tournament -- and coming within an eyelash of playing for a championship.

At the end of this run was Thursday night's Class C semifinal against Christian Brothers Academy at Henninger High School's Sunnycrest Field, which had turned into the most important game in the program's history

It turned out to be one of the most exciting, too.

With a trip to meet Skaneateles in Wednesday's final at SUNY-Cortland on the line, the Lakers nearly rallied from six goals down in the second half before falling at the end, 14-13, to the Brothers.

Not nervous at all in this pressure-filled setting, Cazenovia seized a 2-0 lead in the game's opening minutes, as Sarah Wright and Kara Cannizzaro found the net.

CBA quickly answered with four straight goals, only to have the Lakers tie it again. They continued to go back and forth until the Brothers nudged into a 6-5 lead on Katie Webster's third goal less than two minutes before halftime.

It appeared that the Brothers' big-game experience would be the decisive factor. It built a 12-6 lead by the middle point of the second half, wearing out Cazenovia's defense in the process.

Before it could all get away, though, Cannizzaro scored again with 10:15 left to begin the rally. The margin was sliced in half, to 13-10, but due to accumulated yellow cards, Cazenovia had to play three minutes while one man down, and when Rachael Ponge scored with 3:10 left to put CBA back up 14-10, the chase looked to be over.

Yet Cazenovia kept on fighting. Cannizzaro found the net with 2:26 to play, her fifth goal of the night to go with two assists. Erin Tatum converted a free possession with 1:11 left. After picking up the draw, Wright returned and, with 50.1 seconds left, got her fifth goal, and the margin was down to one.

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