May 19, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As it slowly returned to full strength, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team slowly shook out of its late-season funk and earned crucial victories at the end of a busy stretch that meant playing four times in six days.
Right at the end of this gauntlet, the Lakers gave itself a gigantic boost when it went to Homer Saturday afternoon and rallied past the Trojans 8-7.
Going in, Homer was 15-1, and perhaps lined up to gain the top seed for the Section III Class C playoffs. Cazenovia’s effort might have disrupted those plans.
All through the first half, the Lakers and Trojans traded off occasional goals, but mostly played exceptional defense, leaving the two sides tied 3-3 going into the break.
Cazenovia did not go in front until the third quarter, a slight edge maintained down the stretch when Coleman Koesterer, assuming his role as the Lakers’ most vital player, scored twice in the final period, which proved to be enough.
Overall, Koesterer put up four goals, half his team’s total. Tom Owens scored twice, while Chris Nourse gained one goal and one assist, and Brett Axelson also scored. Ben Dewan added an assist.
Each side had great efforts in the net, but Cazenovia’s Pat Cooney fared a bit better, his 16 saves two more than Homer counterpart Paul Zimmerman. With four goals of his own, Carl Zimmerman accounted for much of Homer’s production.
This whole process did not start out well. Up against Skaneateles last Monday afternoon, the eastern Lakers, meeting the western Lakers for the second time in less than a week, again lost, this one an 8-6 decision at the Sean Goggin Sports Complex on Fenner Street.
When they had first met at Skaneateles on May 8, Cazenovia had absorbed an 8-6 defeat. The rematch would offer a new plot — but the same negative result.
Unlike the first game, the eastern Lakers fell behind early, unable to produce much against a stingy western Lakers defense. Cazenovia got shut out in the first quarter and, at halftime, trailed 5-1, desperate to find a spark.
That spark never materialized. The eastern Lakers did have more offensive success in the second half, but it was too infrequent to make the western Lakers sweat.
Axelson had a part in nearly all of Cazenovia’s scoring plays, with three goals and one assist. This could not make up for the struggles Koesterer (one assist), Seth Goldacker (one goal, one assist) and Dewan (one goal, one assist) went through.
Ben Bowers, playing in the net, recorded 12 saves, a solid figure. Six different players scored for Skaneateles, with only Eric Richards and Kelly Donigan finding the net twice.
Cazenovia returned to Fenner a day later to face Westhill — and had even more trouble, this time falling to the Warriors 13-10.
For much of the first half, the Lakers and Warriors traded goals, but Westhill did a bit more and inched in front 8-6 by the time the teams reached the break.
Newly confident, Westhill doubled that margin in the third quarter, putting Cazenovia in a 12-8 deficit, so it could afford to slow things down in the final period and possess the ball, preventing any possible Cazenovia rally.
Axelson and Owens each posted three-goal hat tricks, with Koesterer supplying four assists to go with his single goal. Goldacker had a goal and two assists as Chad Dorrance and Nourse also supplied goals.
By far, Matt Kise hurt the Lakers the most, as the Westhill attacker set a career mark with five goals, with Willie Fischer (three goals, one assist) offering the help.
These defeats made it four losses in five games, and brought some urgency to the Lakers’ Thursday-night visit to Marcellus. With most of its lineup back, Cazenovia came through, beating the Mustangs 9-5.
Starting on a strong note, the Lakers grabbed a 3-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The defense finally yielded some goals, but Cazenovia did not let up until its margin had grown to 8-3 in the third quarter.
Koesterer once again asserted himself as the primary driving force of the offense, scoring three times and adding three assists. Tim Regan earned two goals, while Dewan had a goal and two assists. Dorrance, Nourse and Goldacker also contributed goals. Cooney played in the net and earned eight saves, only hinting at what he would do against Homer two days later.
After going to Onondaga Tuesday night, the Lakers (11-6) will find out Friday where it is going for the Section III Class C playoffs.