At 14-2, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team has enjoyed the best regular season in the program's decade-long history at the varsity level.
Now the Lakers get to see what that translates into during the Section III Class C playoffs, as it drew the no. 2 seed, behind only Skaneateles, who gave Cazenovia both of its losses this spring.
To kick off the last week of the regular season, Cazenovia hosted Marcellus Tuesday and, for the second time this season, beat up on the Mustangs, winning by a score of 18-8.
The Lakers' big move came in the second quarter. Already ahead 5-2, Cazenovia won face-offs, forced turnovers and unleashed an offensive blitz that didn't let up until halftime, when the edge had grown to 12-3.
Just as important was the fact that supporting players took larger roles in the attack. John Greacen and Joe Nardella each finished with four goals, with Greacen adding an assist, as Justin Hoffmann scored twice.
Not that the front line was quiet, though. Brett Axelson still had three goals, with Sean Cannizzaro getting two goals and Connor Cannizzaro a single goal. Each of them put up two assists as Sam Lewis and Lucas Catania also converted. Matt Donovan added an assist.
By stark contrast, the Lakers needed all 48 minutes on Thursday afternoon to fend off Westhill in an 8-7 thriller at the Fenner Street complex.
Cazenovia tried to establish its own tempo in the first half, yet could not get away, Westhill doing enough on the offensive side to stay within two, 6-4, going into the break.
Once the second half started, the Warriors slowed the game down, limiting the Lakers' possessions and keeping both Cannizzaro brothers out of the scoring column for the entire game (just three assists between them).
By the fourth quarter, the game was still in doubt, and Axelson, who already had two goals, converted a third time with 7:26 to play, the only goal in that last period for the Lakers -- and it proved to be the game-winner.
In support of Axelson, Greacen, Hoffmann, Lewis, Nardella and Donovan earned single goals. And the Lakers' defense, led by Brett Gifford, Chad Dorrance and Tom Colligan, protected the lead all game long, Alec Cross supplying 10 saves.
As it turns out, the Lakers might play Westhill again in Thursday's Class C quarterfinals at Fenner, at least if the no. 7 seed Warriors knock off no. 10 seed Onondaga in Tuesday's opening round.