A long road trip north, to meet an unfamiliar opponent, awaited the Cazenovia boys soccer team in the Section III Class B quarterfinals.
When the no. 6 seed Lakers met no. 3 seed South Jefferson Friday night at Watertown High School, it proved close and exciting, but Cazenovia’s season would end with 3-2 defeat to the Spartans in a penalty-kick shoot-out.
Cazenovia trailed, 2-1, when in the 63rd minute Alan Baldwin, swooping in after Kevin Porter’s shot clanged off the goal post, put home the rebound to tie it.
Through the rest of regulation and two tense 15-minute overtime periods, neither the Lakers nor Spartans could break the tie, so it came down to penalty kicks, five shots apiece.
South Jefferson went first in each round, and made three of five attempts. Cazenovia got three of the first four shots, with Spartans goalie Nick Hallett saving the other.
It was even, 3-3, when Baldwin returned to try Cazenovia’s fifth shot. A make would advance the Lakers to the semifinal round, but Baldwin lofted his kick just over the crossbar.
So now they went to a sixth round, and Hallett put his attempt past Chris Matteson, who finished with 17 saves. Matt Donovan had a chance to extend the match further, but his shot went wide and South Jefferson had survived.
Getting to this point required some hard work, as the Lakers had to battle past another Frontier League opponent, no. 11 seed General Brown, 1-0 in last Wednesday’s opening round, played at Morrisville State College.
This was a second go-round on the Morrisville turf for Cazenovia, having lost 2-1 to Westhill the week before. And it controlled the flow of play in the first half against the Lions, getting on the board with Luke Dorsey’s goal, fed by Ben Carmeli.
From there, General Brown goalie Adam Vodicka turned everything away and finished with 11 saves. Thus, Cazenovia’s defense had to protect a slim margin – which it did, as it held the Lions to a handful of chances and Chris Matteson stopped all six shots he faced.
The painful defeat against South Jefferson meant that Cazenovia’s season concluded with a 10-7-1 mark. In all, 12 seniors will depart, including Donovan, Dorsey, Baldwin and captain Nick Genzel, but Matteson leads the returning cast for 2012.