At just the right time, the Cazenovia girls soccer team announced, through its play on the field, that it will be tough to get rid of in the Section III Class B playoffs.
The Lakers delivered, arguably, its best all-around performance of the entire season Monday by knocking off OHSL Liberty division leader Westhill 3-1 at the Fenner Street complex.
Not since Cazenovia beat Marcellus way back in the season opener on Sept. 9 had the Lakers delivered a win of this magnitude, and it served as sweet payback, too.
When they first met Westhill on Sept. 17, the Lakers lost, 4-1, victimized by a remarkable hat trick where, in a span of less than three minutes in the first half, Kelly Ristoff had delivered three goals.
Cazenovia remembered that well, and sought to tail Ristoff everywhere she went, also hoping that the Warriors, coming off a hard-fought 2-1 win over Marcellus two nights earlier, would wear down in the late stages.
Even with all the attention placed on her, Ristoff still scored in the first half -- but Cazenovia countered with an all-out attack that paid off with a pair of goals and a 2-1 edge going into the break.
Now with the lead, the Lakers increased its defensive presence, giving help to Whitney Goris, Becca Wheeler, Hillary Bullock and Taylor Malmsheimer as they shut out the Warriors the rest of the way. Freshman goalie Jamie Enders helped, too, stopping nine of the 10 shots she faced.
In a well-balanced offense, Katie Kleine, Colleen Dougherty and Rachel Burbidge each took turns scoring goals, all of them unassisted.
So the Lakers improved to 9-4-1 and begin a busy final week of the regular season that also includes games against Phoenix and Jordan-Elbridge before Sunday's announcement of the Section III Class B playoff brackets.