For more than a month, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team had eagerly waited a second shot at Skaneateles, the only team it lost to in 2011. That eagerness only grew when that other group of Lakers assumed the no. 1 state ranking and kept it throughout the spring.
That's about to change now.
A combination of face-off domination, inspired work in goal by Ben Romagnoli and timely scoring bursts, especially in the second half, allowed Cazenovia, no. 3 in this week's state Class C poll, to conquer Skaneateles 17-8 Tuesday on Senior Day at the Sean Goggin Sports Complex.
That first meeting on April 8 in Skaneateles had seen Cazenovia take more shots, yet still lose 10-8. But it left that game knowing that it was more than capable of winning any future encounter, and a month of nine consecutive victories had only reinforced that thought.
Still, the nerves were quite evident early in the rematch as Cazenovia hurt itself with penalties and turnovers and fell behind 2-0. Only Romagnoli's fine work in the net kept it from getting worse.
Yet once Sean Cannizzaro and Mason Powell converted late in the period to tie it 2-2, everything started to go right, especially in the face-off circle. From start to finish, John Greacen and Joe Nardella mastered the center X, earning Cazenovia more possession time and keeping it away from the potent Skaneateles attack.
Cazenovia took the lead for good early in the second quarter on the first two of Greacen's five goals. Then Matt Donovan took over as, in a span of less than two minutes, he used a series of nifty moves and fakes to score three times, expanding the host Lakers' lead to 7-3.
Skaneateles appeared to grab momentum when it scored twice late in the half, including Kevin Rice's tally at the horn that made it 7-5 at the break and caused a frustrated Romagnoli to break his stick in half, leading to a penalty to start the third quarter.