With surprises taking place everywhere in the Section III playoffs (Solvay upsetting long-time power Marcellus, for example), the Cazenovia girls soccer team had a chance to spring one of its own -- but could not quite pull it off.
The no. 5 seed Lakers took on no. 4 seed and defending champion Westhill in Friday's Class B quarterfinal round, and it proved close all the way to the end before the Warriors eliminated the Lakers 2-1.
Not only did Cazenovia beat Westhill 3-1 on Oct. 19, 11 days prior to their playoff meeting, they weren't even playing a true road game.
Poor field conditions at Westhill, caused by a drenching mid-week rain, forced the game to be moved to the artificial surface of Earl Hadley Stadium at nearby Solvay High School.
Glad to be on a clean and even surface, both teams proved aggressive in the first half. The Lakers' defense put several players on Westhill star Kelly Ristoff to make sure she didn't get free at any time.
The only problem was that it freed up other Warrior players, as Emily Haggerty and Brenna Rainone both came up with goals. Cazenovia countered with Rachel Burbidge's unassisted tally, but still trailed by one at the half.
All through a tense second half, the Lakers bombarded the Warriors' net with a series of attacks as it strove to pull even. None of them worked, though, as Westhill goalie Meredith Rice came up with 15 saves. In defeat, Jamie Enders had 10 saves.
So the Lakers' season under first-year head coach Hans Van Packal ended with a mark of 11-5-1. Just five seniors depart, but that includes stars like Burbidge, Katie Kleine, Whitney Goris and Kristen Romagnoli. Enders, Gabby Jaquith, Colleen Dougherty, Becca Wheeler, Kaitlyn Button, Kristina Kleine, Taylor Malmsheimer and Hillary Bullock make for a solid returning cast in 2010.