Jun 08, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Every game, and every victory, brings the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team another milestone. And now the biggest one of all is a single victory away.
On a sticky Wednesday night at St. John Fisher College in suburban Rochester, the Lakers unleashed its high-octane attack on West Region champion Silver Creek in the first half, and then held on late to beat the Black Knights by a score of 15-13.
With that win, Cazenovia, at 21-1, earned a berth in Saturday’s state championship game at Cicero-North Syacuse’s Bragman Stadium against Bayport-Blue Point, from Long Island, who edged Bronxville 9-8 in the other semifinal. The title game starts at 4 p.m.
New as the Lakers were to this, it was also Silver Creek’s first state semifinal appearance, and it had a dangerous attack. The Black Knights’ duo of Zed Williams and Frank Brown had combined to score more than 150 goals this season, so containing them was crucial.
Right from the start, the pace was fierce. Joe Nardella struck the first blow 59 seconds into the game off a blind pass from Sean Cannizzaro. A series of attacks followed, but at the 4:12 mark Nardella struck again, using a long run down the field to set up a pass to Connor Cannizzaro, who ripped a shot home to make it 2-0.
Silver Creek called an early time-out after Connor’s tally, and it temporarily settled that team down as eighth-grader Sherman Williams cut it to 2-1 midway through the period and Zed Williams converted 26 seconds later to tie it 2-2.
However, Nardella answered six seconds later to put Cazenovia in front, and Mason Powell made it 4-2, scoring off a turnover and a feed from Sean Cannizzaro. When Connor hit on his second goal at the 8:18 mark, it was 5-2, and less than two minutes later Nardella had a three-goal hat trick.
Even when Zack Williams did cut it to 6-3 late in the period, the Cannizzaro brothers teamed up for a goal seconds later, and when Sean Cannizzaro charged in and scored 6.5 seconds before the period ended, the Lakers had an 8-3 margin.
It didn’t stop there, either. Lucas Catania made it 9-3 with a long run to the net early in the second quarter, and Cazenovia followed with a series of rushes before John Greacen hit on back-to-back goals. When Connor Cannizzaro hit again 10.3 seconds before halftime, the Lakers toted a 12-3 lead to the break.
All this happened despite the fact that Sean Cannizzaro went to the sidelines with an injured shoulder. Even without him, the fact that Nardella and Greacen were dominating the face-offs gave the Lakers most of the possession time, never allowing Silver Creek’s defense to rest.
Everything changed in the third quarter, though. Silver Creek got the ball with more regularity as Zed Williams (who finished with five goals) and Jon Jimerson each scored twice to cut the margin to 12-7. Cazenovia had slowed down the tempo and nursed its margin, but suddenly had to change course to avoid a repeat of the Salmon River comeback in the regional final.
Greacen settled things down, getting his third goal on a shot from the point with 2:26 left in the third to make it 13-7 before Jimerson answered a minute later to cut the margin to 13-8, creating some amount of suspense for the fourth quarter.
It took just 12 seconds of that final period for Nardella to win the face-off, head downfield and find Connor Cannizzaro for a goal to expand the lead to 14-8. Nardella, aside from winning all those face-offs, had three goals and three assist.
Zed Williams answered a minute later to make it 14-9, but Connor Cannizzaro picked up his sixth goal with 8:47 left, restoring the margin to six at 15-9. It would be the Lakers’ last goal of the night.
Silver Creek would not get close until, trailing 15-10, it got three goals in the final minute. As this went on, Sean Cannizzaro returned to the field and logged some minutes late, easing the concerns of Cazenovia fans as, at close to full strength, the Lakers pursue the biggest prize of all on Saturday afternoon.