May 17, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Keen awareness of the situation helped the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team along as it earned, arguably, its important win of the 2012 regular season right at the end.
The Lakers’ 11-9 victory at Homer Wednesday night served all kinds of purposes, from locking down the Division II regular-season championship to securing the top seed for the Section III Class C playoffs.
More importantly, it showed that Cazenovia could bounce back from a defeat in quick order – something it never had to worry about when winning 33 games in a row prior to last Monday’s 15-10 defeat to Baldwinsville.
Homer provided a full challenge. It had lost to the Lakers 14-6 on April 3 at the Sean Googin Sports Complex, but since then the Trojans had gone 12-1, and entered this contest with a nine-game win streak and a no. 8 state Class C ranking.
As in the first meeting, Homer started well, but this time instead of a quick flash that Cazenovia answered, the Trojans were steady and relentless, claiming a 2-1 first-quarter edge on a pair of goals from Conner Johnston.
Twice in the second period, Cazenovia would tie it at 2-2 and 4-4, the latter with help from a rare goal by defender Doyle Judge. Both times, Homer went back in front, including a hot stretch at the end of the half that culminated with Casey Cleary’s goal four seconds before the horn to make it 6-4 at the break.
It got to 7-4 with Conner Johnston’s goal 19 seconds into the third period. But the prospect of back-to-back defeats after nearly two full seasons of unbroken success proved too much to stomach.
Oliver Gates’ goal started a comeback, with Brad Nardella twice converting to tie it, 7-7, and Ryan Cook’s tally in the last minute of the period gave the Lakers its first lead at 8-7.
After Homer tied it again at 8-8, the Lakers made its decisive move. Nardella put Cazenovia ahead to stay, hitting his third goal with 9:32 left, and in the next 2:10 Cook and Henry Mann both put in valuable gaols.
Judge, Barclay Talbot, Clay Goris and the rest of Cazenovia’s defense stepped up in the homestretch, too, holding the Trojans to a single goal. Trevor Cross made most of his 12 saves in the latter stages.
Connor Cannizzaro, with three goals and two assists, again led the point column, aided by Nardella’s second-half hat trick. Cook got two goals and two assists. In defeat, Johnston paced Homer with four goals.
A day later, Cazenovia drew the top seed for the Class C tournament. Amid a 15-team field, the Lakers were the only side with a first-round bye.
Cazenovia will get no. 8 seed Westhill in Thursday’s quarterfinal at 4:30 at the Sean Googin Sports Complex after the Warriors eliminated Corcoran 15-9 in the opening round. A win puts the Lakers into Saturday’s semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium against LaFayette or Watertown IHC.