Apr 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Some personnel on both sides had changed, the stakes were much lower and the weather a whole lot colder.
But the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team still burned to get another shot at Homer ever since the Trojans, a season ago, upended the Lakers 10-6 in the Section III Class C final and kept it from repeating as sectional and state champions.
So when the rematch took place on a frigid Tuesday at Carl W. Butts Field, the visiting Lakers saved its best work for the second half, where it took over on both ends and, this time, beat Homer by a 13-11 margin to kick off an opening week full of strong performances.
Head coach Jim Longo lost just seven seniors from last year’s 17-2 squad, meaning a vast array of talent returns, including seniors like Connor Cannizzaro, Conor Race and Brad Nardella, all of whom were part of the team’s state title run in 2011.
Homer would prove tough again here, leading through much of the first half and taking a 9-7 edge to the break. Three Trojan seniors – Brandon Maxson, Sean Ferrito and Beau Riley – would each get three goals, with Ferrito adding three assists.
Yet all of them would struggle in the second half as Cazenovia’s young defense, anchored by goalie Trevor Cross (11 saves) and Joe Colligan, turned back Homer scoring opportunities.
This gave the Lakers time to rush into an 11-10 lead in the third quarter, and it would hang on as Cannizzaro accounted for four goals and two assists, while Kyle Brown had three goals and Nardella managed two goals and two assists.
P.J. Brown managed a goal and two assists, with Jake Falge and Conor Race each getting one goal and one assist. Alex Sullivan also found the net.
The Lakers would get another serious test on Thursday, when it met LaFayette in a “road” game that got moved to the Cazenovia College turf.
Here, Cazenovia found itself in real trouble, trailing in the fourth quarter – but led by Cannizzaro, the Lakers would escape and pull out a 9-7 victory over the Lancers.
Things started well, as Cannizzaro got both of his team’s goals in the first quarter to put Cazenovia in front 2-0. LaFayette fought back and tied it, 3-3, late in the first half, only to see Cannizzaro notch his third goal to create a 4-3 Lakers lead at the break.
Again, the Lancers tied it in the third quarter with Eric Liddy’s second goal. Again, Cazenovia responded and went back in front thanks to Cannizzaro, who forced a LaFayette turnover and fed it to P.J. Brown for the go-ahead goal.
Unfazed by any of this, LaFayette appeared to take charge early in the fourth quarter. Brian Phillips’ second goal pulled his side even once more at 5-5, and Nate Beresevoy struck for back-to-back goals that put the Lakers behind 7-5 with less than eight minutes left.
One more time, Cannizzaro sparked a rally. His goal with 5:40 left cut the Lakers’ deficit to one, and 35 seconds later Cannizzaro’s deft pass led to P.J. Brown converting the tying goal that made it 7-7.
More was needed, though, and after Colligan won a crucial face-off, the Lakers tried to move in front, thwarted twice before Kyle Brown, off a feed from Race, beat LaFayette goalie Elliott Lyons with 2:54 to play for the go-ahead tally.
Try as it could, the Lancers could not respond, even with a possession in the final minute, which ended quickly as Cross forced a turnover and Cannizzaro, on a fast break, converted his fifth goal with 14.6 seconds left to clinch it.
This remarkable opening week concluded with a battle Saturday against visiting Baldwinsville that stretched into two overtimes before the Lakers pulled out a 5-4 win over the Bees.
Even with early goals from Cannizzaro and Nardella, the Lakers could not get any distance from the Bees in the first half. In fact, it got blanked in the second quarter as B’ville, with Zach Bulak scoring twice, were tied 2-2 at the break.
With the Lakers’ defense vastly improved from its earlier outings, it blanked B’ville until the fourth quarter, as goals by P.J. Brown and Sullivan pushed Cazenovia in front 4-2.
Still, the Bees battled back, Billy Hamm converting with 9:10 left, and continuing to probe until Bulak struck again, passing it to Steve Petrelli, who beat Cross for the tying goal with 3:40 to play in regulation.
Kyle Brown’s chances late in regulation to end it went wide, setting up a four-minute OT period where both sides had possible winning possessions, only to squander them as Cross and B’ville goalie Parker Ferrigan (who finished with 15 saves) made big stops.
So it went to a second OT. B’ville again claimed the face-off, but was turned back, Cross getting his 15th save on Bertrand’s winning attempt and allowing the Lakers another possession.
Following a time-out, Cannizzaro, quiet for most of the game, charged through B’ville defenders and sent a high shot that eluded Ferrigan, found the net and gave Cazenovia its third straight win.
Cazenovia stays at home this week, taking on Onondaga Tuesday before a Saturday meeting with Bishop Ludden.