A strong regular-season effort left the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team with a no. 3 seed for the Section III Class C playoffs and a chance to play twice on its home field at the Fenner Street complex -- which it would do, and win on both occasions.
First, the Lakers met no. 14 seed Bishop Ludden in last Thursday's opening round, and it didn't prove easy at all. Still, Cazenovia did enough to eliminate the Gaelic Knights 10-7.
A fast proved quite important in the long run. The Lakers bolted out to a 4-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, and though Ludden would settle down and play on even terms the rest of the way, Cazenovia would not let the Gaelic Knights get closer.
Seth Goldacker led with three goals and one assist, while Sean Cannizzaro and Chad Dorrance each found the net twice. Justin Hoffman had a goal and two assists as Brett Axelson and Joe Nardella also scored. Ludden lost despite Brad Kirch's three goals and two assists.
In Saturday's quarterfinal at Fenner, Cazenovia faced no. 6 seed Homer, who dispatched of Lowville 18-5 in the opening round.
Here, the Lakers took a different approach, going through an uneven first half, but finishing quite strong to eliminate the Trojans 9-5.
Cazenovia had a 3-1 edge before going cold in the second period. Homer controlled the face-offs, played solid defense and converted three consecutive times, leaving the Lakers with a 4-3 deficit as the two sides went to halftime.
The Lakers' back line ruled in the third quarter, keeping the Trojans off the board as it inched back in front, 5-4. Still, Cazenovia needed its attack to strike again -- which it did as it outscored Homer 4-1 in the final period to get clear.
Both Cannizzaro and Axelson finished with three goals and one assist, as Hoffman, Goldacker and Nardella notched single goals. Mike McGinnis added an assist. Not only did Alex Cross make 11 saves, the defense kept Homer stars Carl Zimmerman (one goal, one assist) and Paul Armideo (one goal) from getting much at all.
On Tuesday, Cazenovia will meet no. 2 seed Skaneateles in the Class C semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium. The winner gets LaFayette or Westhill in Friday's 3:30 title game, also at CNS.