Fresh from a trio of humbling defeats, the Cazenovia girls lacrosse team reclaimed its winning form -- and needed to, with the post-season looming.
In fact, the Lakers secured a huge momentum-boosting victory Wednesday night, when it went to Cortland and took out the Purple Tigers in a 12-11 decision.
Cortland, who could be the top seed in the Section III Class B playoffs, carried a 13-1 record into this game, its only defeat coming to Westhill on April 17.
Sporting a strong defense, the Purple Tigers tried to slow Cazenovia down in the first half. And even though it succeeded, to some degree, the Lakers still sneaked into a 5-4 lead by the time they hit the break.
All through the second half, Cazenovia star Kara Cannizzaro would burn Cortland's defense, only to have the Purple Tigers respond with big goals of its own, leading to an 11-11 tie as regulation began to wind down.
Cannizzaro scored for the seventh time with 2:53 left in regulation, breaking the tie, and the Lakers made that lead stick at the end.
Aside from Cannizzaro, Sarah Wright and Gabby Jaquith came up with two goals apiece, with Jaquith adding an assist. Kassie Kleine also scored, as Julie Gregg earned an assist.
Brodie Shepard had one of her best games in the net, recording 10 saves, all of them important. Janelle Stegeland (four goals), Katherine Hunsberger and Caitlin Stevens (three goals each) accounted for most of Cortland's offense.
Two nights earlier, the Lakers' skid ended at Tully, where it was steady and reliable in a 14-8 victory over the Black Knights.
Taking what it had learned in losses to Westhill, Skaneateles and Carthage, Cazenovia doubled up Tully in the first half, led 8-4 at the break, and answered all of the Black Knights' comeback attempts in the late going.
Cannizzaro continued to tear through defenders, with five goals and four assists. Gregg found the net three times, while Jaquith and Kendra Volz each had two goals and Wright earned a goal and four assists. Kleine earned a goal, too.
Following the Cortland win, Cazenovia makes its third road trip in five nights Friday, to Bishop Ludden.