All the good work the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team has done so far in 2010 has brought outside recognition -- along with a larger target.
The Lakers' 4-1 start translated into a no. 12 spot in the state Class C rankings. That higher profile would mean more effort from the opposition -- as Cazenovia learned soon enough.
Going to Westhill last Tuesday afternoon, the Lakers were in some early trouble, but slowly played out of it, then took charge in the third quarter on its way to beating the Warriors 13-11 for its fifth consecutive win.
A 2-3 start against a brutal early schedule had made Westhill tougher, and it quickly displayed its gifts at home, sprinting to a 5-2 lead by the time the first quarter was done.
As the pace stayed quick in the second period, Cazenovia inched closer, to 9-6, but did even better after the break. Winning the face-offs and tearing through Westhill's defenses, it went on a 6-2 tear to take the lead, then held on down the stretch.
For the second game in a row, freshman Connor Cannizzaro notched five goals -- this just two days after older sister Kara scored twice as her North Carolina Tar Heels ended Northwestern's 41-game win streak and ascended to no. 1 in the national rankings.
Sean Cannizzaro backed up his pair of goals with two assists, as Matt Donovan and Joe Nardella each found the net twice. Brett Axelson, John Greacen and Alec Cross had single goals. Dylan Tripodi led Westhill's effort with five goals and two assists.
The Lakers again went on the road Saturday to the same neighborhood -- and had an easier time of it, ripping Bishop Ludden 23-0. It got 10 goals in the first quarter alone, was up 16-0 by halftime and played everyone on the roster by the time it was done.
Axelson, along with both Cannizzaro brothers, finished with four goals, as Sean added three assists. Mason Powell produced two goals and two assists as Cross and Sam Schreibman matched that two-goal output.
Justin Hoffmann had a goal and two assists, with Sam Lewis and Alan Baldwin each finishing with one goal and one assist. Ben Dussalt and Brett Gifford got goals, too, as Matt Donovan picked up three assists and Greacen two assists.
Now the 6-1 Lakers get to be at home for the rest of April, meeting Manlius-Pebble Hill and Tully this week.