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Caz boys lacrosse tops state rankings

Milestones in sports are typically spread out enough to allow those involved in it to enjoy those rare moments of fame and glory.

Except that, with the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team, big moments keep happening, and may not stop until the first championships in the program's history are secure.

First, there was the late comeback to win the drawn-out overtime game over LaFayette May 4. Six days later, the Lakers upended state no. 1-ranked Skaneateles 17-8, the clearest sign yet that a title run is about to take place.

Then, when the next batch of state rankings came out, it was Cazenovia on top - yet another first for the program. But it was far from content.

In Tuesday's regular-season finale at Marcellus, the Lakers, determined to go into the playoffs with maximum momentum, enjoyed one of its best defensive efforts of the season and steadily put away the Mustangs 14-3.

That clinched, for Cazenovia (15-1), the top seed for the Class C playoffs and a first-round bye, the only one in the 15-team bracket. Next Tuesday, the Lakers will face either no. 8 seed Tully or no. 9 seed General Brown in the quarterfinals at the Sean Goggin Sports Complex.

Given all the attention on Cazenovia's high-octane offense, the back line can get forgotten. Yet throughout the season, Doyle Judge, Noah Shephard, Clayton Goris and the rest of the defense have proven steady complements to the work of goalie Ben Romagnoli.

That certainly proved the case against Marcellus. The Lakers kept the Mustangs from scoring a goal in the entire second and third periods, during which time Cazenovia steadily built a 12-1 edge. Romagnoli stopped 14 of the 17 shots he faced.

There was nice balance in the attack, too. Only Connor Cannizzaro had a three-goal hat trick, but Sean Cannizzaro, Mason Powell, Joe Nardella and Brad Nardella each found the net twice, with Sean adding a pair of assists. John Greacen and Matt Donovan supplied the passes, each getting three assists to go with single goals, with Chris Giardina also converting.

All told, it's been a successful spring for head coach Jim Longo, going beyond his own team's rise to the elite level. Longo's son, Jason, the head coach at Morrisville State, was named North Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for leading the Mustangs to a 14-6 record, the regular-season league championship and a berth in the ECAC Division III Tournament.

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