Cazenovia The last time the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team was together on June 10, 2011, it was celebrating the program's first-ever state Class C championship, which followed a first-ever sectional title.
From there, all that head coach Jim Longo's Lakers can do in 2012 is match those feats - a tall order, but the initial results are encouraging.
In Saturday's season opener, played on the new artificial turf field at Cazenovia College, the Lakers toyed with perennial Class A contender Baldwinsville, dominating on both ends of the field to take out the Bees by a 14-4 margin.
Going into the season, the Lakers faced the task of replacing a stellar senior class that included Sean Cannizzaro, Sam Lewis, Joe Nardella, Ben Romagnoli, Lucas Catania and Noah Shephard, not to mention Mason Powell, who is now at Hill Academy.
Yet the starters that return, from Connor Cannizzaro on the front line to defender Doyle Judge, gives the Lakers a solid foundation at each position. Clayton Goris, who started on the back line a season ago, has moved to long-stick midfield.
Together, they keep the Lakers among the short list of state title contenders. And the new starters had an impressive first showing against Baldwinsville.
With a consistent, relentless attack, Cazenovia worked its way to a 9-3 halftime lead. From there, the defense got better as Judge, joined by Barclay Talbot, Joe Colligan and Mike Nourse, offered ample protection to Trevor Cross, who replaces Romagnoli in goal and stopped nine of 13 shots he faced against the Bees.
On the offensive end, Cannizzaro piled up five goals, plus an assist. But it was teammate Ryan Cook that led on the points side with four goals and three assists, while Brad Nardella also found the net four times.
Henry Mann added one goal and one assist as Alex Sullivan managed two assists. Matt Donovan earned an assist, too.
Cazenovia heads back across town to the Sean Googin Sports Complex Tuesday afternoon, going for two in a row against Homer before visiting Marcellus Thursday night. Meanwhile, the girls lacrosse Lakers also face Marcellus and Homer in back-to-back road tests to open its season.