Jun 11, 2011 Kris Russell Uncategorized
Cazenovia’s boys lacrosse team put the perfect cap on its best season, roaring to the NYSPHSAA Class C championship with a thorough 14-6 beating of Long Island outfit Bayport-Blue Point late Saturday afternoon at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
The Lakers, winners of their first Section III crown two weeks earlier, completed a 22-1 campaign and became the third Cazenovia team to win a state championship in 2011-12. And this one had strong ties to the other two.
Back in the fall, when Cazenovia’s field hockey team earned the state title, it did so on the same CNS turf as the lacrosse Lakers would use to finish off its masterpiece. And, of course, many of these same lacrosse players also starred on the undefeated state Division II ice hockey championship team that rolled through the winter.
This day brought to a climax the 15-year work of head coach Jim Longo to turn a fledgling program into a powerhouse.
“We brought our ‘A’ game,” Longo said. “The kids were really focused for today. We’ve been telling them since day one back in March (playing for a state championship) is where we want to be. They did it.”
Longo could afford to sit back and enjoy the stroll, such was his team’s dominance. The Lakers never trailed, holding leads of 4-1 after one quarter, 9-2 at halftime and 11-4 after three quarters.
“We told them from the opening whistle to bring it (and) be intense. Don’t ease into it. As soon as that gate opens, man, we’re going,'” Longo said. “That’s what they did.”
Cazenovia senior All America selection Sean Cannizzaro made the quickest start of anyone. The senior scored the Lakers’ first two goals, three of their first four, and showed little sign of suffering from a separated shoulder he received in the state semifinal against Silver Creek three nights earlier.
“He was hurting,” Longo said. “But he’s a hockey player, too, so he can play tough.”
Cannizzaro finished with four goals and three assists. He was named the tournament’s outstanding offensive performer.
All but wrapped in cotton the last few days, Cannizzaro strapped on his shoulder pads full of purpose Saturday. He wasn’t about to miss his last game in a Cazenovia uniform.
“I wanted to come out here and finish the season,” Cannizzaro said. “(The shoulder) felt pretty good the first quarter. It got a little sore midway through the game.”
Canizzaro had plenty of help. His younger brother Connor, just a sophomore, scored three times and assisted on two other goals to complete his own strong post-season run.
“We got ahead, put our foot on the gas pedal and rode it all the way to the end,” Connor Canizzaro said.
Mason Powell connected on three goals, and was involved in several key offensive thrusts. John Greacen scored twice, both coming from his trademark rocket launcher shots. Joe Nardella scored Cazenovia’s other goal while Matt Donovan provided three assists.
Cazenovia goalie Ben Romagnoli made six saves, anchoring a defense where, with the likes of Doyle Judge and Clayton Goris, never let Bayport-Blue Point into the argument. B-BP coach Michael Luce came away impressed with his opponents.
“(Cazenovia) came out firing,” Luce said. “They had had a reputation of letting teams back in games, (but) not today.”
Luce believes the Lakers would fare well against some of Long Island’s best Class B schools, let alone Class C.
“I put them up with the top teams we played this year,” Luce said. “Their ball movement is superb.”
So was everything else as, for the third time in as many seasons, Cazenovia had a state championship to celebrate.