In a complete and convincing manner, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team seized the first Section III championship in the program's history.
A patient and opportunistic attack, combined with a defensive effort as good as any this season, helped the Lakers conquer defending champion Skaneateles 12-6 Saturday afternoon in the Class C final at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
"We've come a long way, and it's a great feeling for our school," said senior Sean Cannizzaro.
According to head coach Jim Longo, who has led the Lakers' program from the start less than 15 years ago, it's a victory in which many can share the glory.
"It's a credit to the (Cazenovia) community," he said. "To achieve this says it all."
For all that Cazenovia had done in 2011, this, playing in a sectional final, was an entirely new experience. That wasn't the case for Skaneateles, accustomed to yearly championship runs, Yet from the opening face-off, it was the newcomer taking the veterans to school.
Given the reputation both Laker teams had on the offensive side, whoever could establish itself on the defensive side first might gain a permanent edge.
And Cazenovia had it. As with its previous two meetings this season, Cazenovia put senior Doyle Judge on Skaneateles' All-American, Kevin Rice, while junior Clayton Goris followed Paul O'Donnell. They, along with the rest of the back line, forced Skaneateles to rush shots and turn the ball over.
Judge gave credit to his teammates, saying that, "if he (Rice) beat me, I had plenty of guys to help out. It was a team effort."
From the time Sean Cannizzaro scored off a feed from John Greacen 2:43 into the game, Cazenovia led for keeps. Barely three minutes later, Joe Nardella converted off an open feed from Mason Powell to make it 2-0, and Skaneateles, mad at its own defensive effort, called a time-out, hoping to regroup.