May 31, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
An entire year of practice, preparation and persistence came down to a few frantic days of action as the Cazenovia girls lacrosse team pursued the Section III Class C championship.
Yet for the third consecutive year, the Lakers saw its title dream end in the semifinals, despite nearly pulling off one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the sectional playoffs.
Cazenovia’s 16-14 loss to top seed Carthage in the Class C semifinals Saturday at West Genesee High School really served as two games in one — the first part where the Lakers got run over by a first-rate Carthage attack, then the second part where it almost pulled off a miracle.
Other than Katie Kleine scoring 30 seconds into the game, little went right for the Lakers in the early going, especially on the defensive side.
Mixing a terrific passing game with speed and an innate ability to finish off plays, Carthage scored five goals in less than three minutes to take charge, and didn’t let up until it had a 9-2 lead less than 11 minutes into the game.
Allison Loretz replaced Brodie Shepard in goal, and Kara Cannizzaro hit a pair of goals to get the Lakers moving. But Kaylah Kempney (who had four goals and two assists in the first half alone) scored just as the halftime horn sounded, making it 11-4.
With less than 18 minutes left, the margin had grown to 15-6, Carthage hardly resembling the team Cazenovia had beaten 18-15 a month ago at the Fenner Street complex.
Yet the Lakers refused to quit, even when Cannizzaro got whistled for a yellow card midway through the half. Goals by Gabby Jaquith and Kaitlyn Button helped cut the margin to 15-9, but the real fun was just beginning.
With 7:58 left, and her team still down by six, Cannizzaro scored, launching a run where Jaquith and Kendra Volz (who had three goals on the day) both converted in the next 1:10, making it 15-12, with a lot of time to make up the rest of the deficit.
Even when Carthage’s Megan Serota hit on a goal to make it 16-12, the Lakers kept charging. Cannizzaro hit on her fourth and fifth goals, the latter coming with 3:08 to play, to slash the margin to two. Everyone on the Lakers’ side believed it could win now.
But with 1:45 to play, Jaquith, with a point-blank look on a free-position shot, got stopped as Carthage goalie Ellyse Richardson made the biggest save of the night. The Lakers would not get so close again.
Jaquith and Katie Kleine, with two goals apiece, offered the support to Cannizzaro and Volz. Button and Kassie Kleine had single goals, with Julie Gregg adding two assists. Carthage (who would play Skaneateles in Tuesday’s Class C final) saw Katie Ferris earn five goals and Kempney finish with four goals and three assists, while Gabrielle Kamide earned seven assists.
Starting as the no. 4 seed, the Lakers dealt with no. 13 seed LaFayette in last Wednesday’s opening round at the Fenner Street complex, breezing to a 16-8 victory over the Lancers.
Going at full speed in the first half, Cazenovia powered its way to a 9-3 advantage, and spent the rest of the game building on that comfortable margin.
Cannizzaro pushed across five goals and four assists, with Jaquith also earning four assists, to go with her three goals. Volz had her own three-goal hat trick, adding an assist, as Kassie Kleine and Gregg got two goals apiece. Lauren Machoose scored, too, as Lindsey Nourse, Colleen Dougherty and Clare Dorsey earned assists.
With no time to think about it, Cazenovia went right to Thursday’s quarterfinal against no. 5 seed Jamesville-DeWitt, who beat South Jefferson in the first round.
Despite an 18-1 mark, J-D had not faced as rugged a schedule as Cazenovia — and it would show here, as Cazenovia eliminated the Red Rams 11-8.
Both teams battled through windy conditions, but Cazenovia made the most of its initial break, squeezing out to a 6-4 lead by halftime.
Throughout the second half, the Lakers would continue to answer J-D’s charges, helped in no small part by a rugged defense and the work of Shepard, who posted seven saves.
Meanwhile, Cannizzaro was piling up four goals and three assists. Jaquith scored twice, adding two assists, with Volz also getting two goals. Nourse, Gregg and Katie Kleine earned one goal apiece.
And so it led to Carthage, and the end of a memorable 15-6 campaign. Now Cannizzaro, the team’s all-time leading scorer, heads off to North Carolina (who reached the NCAA title game this year), with Gregg, Dorsey, Loretz and Kassie Kleine also departing.
However, the likes of Jaquith, Volz, Nourse, Shepard, Dougherty and Katie Kleine, plus defenders Taylor Matt and Kristen Romagnoli, come back in 2010, hoping Cazenovia can, at long last, break through and reach the top.