Sound strategy, combined with all-out effort and execution, helped push the Christian Brothers Academy boys lacrosse team to a second consecutive Section III Class C championship.
The prime target of all of its foes this spring, the Brothers still emerged with the crown intact, holding off LaFayette 10-9 in last Wednesday's Class C final at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
Head coach Jon McCoy said he never processed the team's title run in 2006 until it was over, a feeling that was different in '07.
"I've learned to enjoy this experience the second time around," he said. "It's been a good year."
Part of the enjoyment came from the fact that no opponent could beat the Brothers, with one big exception.
Two weeks prior to the sectional final, LaFayette gave CBA its only defeat of the season, a 14-10 game where the Lancers unveiled a zone defense that baffled the Brothers most of the way.
Knowing that it would see the zone again, the Brothers paid close attention to the way Skaneateles handled it in the May 26 Class C semifinals. Possessing the ball most of the time, the Lakers lost by a single goal, 8-7, and gave CBA some ideas.
Sure enough, LaFayette used the zone. And the Brothers countered with a 1-4-1 zone offense, stressing control of the ball as much as shots on goal, a difficult concept to teach to a high-powered attack in a short amount of time.
"Our no. 1 goal was possession," said senior forward Jack Harmatuk.
McCoy agreed. "This really isn't how we play lacrosse," he said. "But we had to do it here in order to win."
That goal was met, to near-perfection, as CBA (aided by the face-offs won by Jovan Miller) controlled the ball for most of the first half, forcing LaFayette's zone to stay at home, in front of the crease, until the Brothers could find a weak spot.