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.