In the eight years it has been playing at the varsity level, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team might not have enjoyed a more glorious occasion than what took place last Thursday afternoon at the Sean Goggin Sports Complex on Fenner Street.
Given little chance to knock off undefeated, state Class C no. 2-ranked LaFayette, the Lakers turned to its senior leadership and made a remarkable comeback to upset the Lancers, 9-8.
Prior to this, Cazenovia had never beaten LaFayette, something that had become a personal quest for Lakers head coach Jim Longo since he was a LaFayette graduate, having played midfield for the Lancers in 1970 when it won the first sanctioned Section III championship.
The first encouraging sign came when the Lakers played LaFayette to a 0-0 first-quarter draw, an indicator that, if it could get possession and dictate tempo, something big might happen.
That notion subsided in the second period, though, when the Lancers owned the face-offs and turned opportunities into goals. Paced by Brad Romancik (three goals, one assist) and Zach Guy (two goals, two assists), LaFayette grabbed a 5-1 advantage and took it to the halftime break.
Here, the experience took over. Coleman Koesterer adjusted his face-off technique and started winning them with regularity. Of the eight draws taken in the second half, Koesterer won six of them.
Koesterer's senior teammate, Chris Nourse, would hit on back-to-back goals, helping Cazenovia to strip away most of LaFayette's lead in the third quarter, closing within one, 6-5, and forcing all the pressure to shift to the visiting side.
Cazenovia kept coming, and forged an 8-8 tie by the late stages of the final period, as both Nourse and Seth Goldacker earned three-goal hat tricks in the course of this charge and Ben Dewan scored twice.
Then, with 2:26 left in regulation, Chad Dorrance swung a perfect pass to Dewan, whose shot got past LaFayette goalie Tony Pizzuto for what proved to be the game-winner.