Cazenovia If ever any team needed a week to rest and recuperate, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse Lakers did so.
The end of the Lakers’ regular season had been a tough one, with hard-fought wins over CBA, Skaneateles (in overtime) and Homer, and a loss to Baldwinsville that ended Cazenovia’s two-year, 33-game win streak.
Still, the Lakers’ 15-1 regular-season mark meant a first-round bye for the Section III Class C playoffs, the only bye in a 15-team field. Everyone else had to go through a first-round game on May 19 to get to where Cazenovia already stood.
So the rested, refreshed Lakers appeared again Thursday in the Class C quarterfinal against no. 8 seed Westhill at the Sean Googin Sports Complex. And though it took a while for the full gear to kick in, when it did the Lakers were unstoppable, easily beating the Warriors 16-5.
Cazenovia had beaten Westhill 12-5 back on May 4, and the playoff rematch started on the same path as the Lakers steadily gained a 4-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.
However, the second period turned into a clinic authored by the defending state champions, who torched the Warriors for nine goals in those 12 minutes, enough to gain a 13-3 edge going into halftime.
Matt Donovan, back from missing the last two regular-season games due to injury, showed his importance to the Lakers by pouring in five goals. Connor Cannizzaro also scored five times, adding a pair of assists.
Not far behind them, Brad Nardella put home four goals, with Ryan Cook contributing two goals and three assists. Clayton Goris added an assist as he, along with defenders Doyle Judge, Barclay Talbot and Mike Nourse, never let Westhill put together any kind of scoring run. Trevor Cross recorded six saves before Jay Hahn replaced him in the late going.
In Saturday’s Class C semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium, Cazenovia will face no. 4 seed LaFayette, who blew out both New Hartford (17-4) and Watertown IHC (19-2) in the early rounds.
The winner here will return to C-NS Wednesday to face Homer or Marcellus in the sectional finals.