Marcellus Twice in a span of six days, the Cazenovia girls lacrosse team would prove better than Marcellus.
It was the second of those wins that counted the most, as the no. 9 seed Lakers led most of the way and held on to eliminate the no. 8 seed Mustangs 14-13 in Saturday's opening round of the Section III Class C playoffs.
With that victory, Cazenovia advanced to face top seed and defending state champion Christian Brothers Academy in Tuesday's quarterfinal at Alilbrandi Stadium, with the winner to play Tully or South Jefferson in Thursday's semifinal at Henninger's Sunnycrest Field.
The familiarity with Marcellus normally gained from two regular-season meetings was made more intimate by the fact that they had played earlier in the week, Cazenovia building a big early lead and cruising to an 11-7 victory at home.
Now, on the Mustangs' turf, it was nearly a carbon copy. The Lakers bolted in front early and doubled Marcellus' production on its way to an 8-4 halftime advantage. Caroline Franz paced the attack, getting most of her five goals in the early stages.
Cazenovia's defense, led by Courtney Maxwell, Maggie Namy and Kaitlyn Gerber, contained the Mustangs whenever they were challenged, and Lauren Devine was steady in the net, finishing the day with 12 saves.
The second half amounted to a long chase. Every time Marcellus inched closer, as it did when it got to 11-9 with plenty of time remaining, the Lakers would put together its own spurt, as with timely goals from Colleen Dougherty and Becca Wheeler.
With 1:29 left, Grace Nolan put in her fourth goal and cut the Mustangs' deficit to 13-11, but the Lakers won the ensuing draw and Kayla Dorrance put a shot past Renee Poullott with 40.7 seconds left. That proved the game-winner as Marcellus scored twice in the waning seconds, but ran out of time.